A new exhibit called “Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness” will be on display at UNM’s Domenici Center for Health Sciences Education beginning Wednesday, April 22. Public viewing will be available through Sunday, Oct. 18 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Domenici Center auditorium lobby.
The National Library of Medicine’s (NLM’s) traveling exhibit explores the connections among wellness, illness and cultural life for contemporary American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians.
Honoring the Native tradition of oral history, NLM gathered a multitude of healing voices from across the country to record people’s stories in their own words. Healers, elders and other key figures describe how epidemics, loss of land, loss of lives and the inhibition of culture in the 19th and 20th centuries affect the health of Native individuals and communities today. “Native Voices” presents an inspiring story of endurance, resilience and self-determination.
An opening reception will be held on Thursday, April 23 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Domenici Center auditorium. Dr. Gayle Diné Chacon, medical director for the Pueblo of Sandia, will deliver the keynote address. Chacon is a former professor in the UNM Family Medicine department and is the founder of the UNM Center for Native American Health.
“I hope the exhibit brings light to the many adversities we face in Indian health care,” Chacon said. “Not to say we should dwell on the adversities — we know the challenges — but it’s important to explore the models we have in Indian communities in the treatment of chronic and complex diseases where adequate resources may be scarce. We need to ask, ‘How could these models be applicable to other Native communities, urban settings and the nation as a whole?’”
Gov. Susana Martinez recognized Chacon as one of 2013’s New Mexico Women of Influence. In 2011, Chacon was appointed Surgeon General of the Navajo Nation through an agreement with the UNM Health Sciences Center, helping to create and develop the Navajo Nation Department of Health.
“As a Native physician, it is important to have passion and commitment to improving the health status of our people,” Chacon said.
Visitors to the exhibit may park in UNM’s “M” lot at Tucker and Yale and use metered parking. Visit map and driving directions for details.