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Indigenous Health Information in New Mexico

Serving the Health Needs of Indigenous Nations in New Mexico

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10% of New Mexico's population is Indigenous, the highest percentage in the lower 48 states. New Mexico is home to 19 Pueblo communities, in addition to the Jicarilla and Mescalero Apache and the eastern portion of the Diné (Navajo) nation. Most members still speak their languages and continue to practice their religious and cultural traditions. Providing health care services for New Mexico's Indigenous communities requires a holistic, collaborative, and integrative approach.

Above all, providers within and outside these communities should exercise cultural humility. "Cultural humility involves the ability to maintain an interpersonal stance that is other oriented in relation to aspects of cultural identity that are most important to the other person, the ability to recognize the context in which interactions occur, and a commitment to redress power imbalances and other structural issues to benefit all parties" (Hurley, D. A., Kostelecky, S. R., & Townsend, L., 2019).

Statement of Purpose

This resource guide serves two primary audiences:

  1. Non-Indigenous researchers, students, faculty, and health providers engaged in direct research, community interaction, and clinical services
  2. The Indigenous health care workforce and individual community members.

From three perspectives:

  1. Health care professionals and caregivers
  2. Researchers and educators
  3. Communities and patients

Challenging Our Terminology

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Terminology changes over time, and some disciplines reflect these changes more than others. When researching topics related to Indigenous studies you may need to use search terms that are outdated and offensive, particularly if it is an historical topic. An example of this is that in PubMed the MeSH term for Indigenous Peoples was just introduced in 2020. Before that the closest to an appropriate MeSH term in this grouping was "Ethnic Groups," introduced in 1968. There is also "American Native Continental Ancestry Group," introduced in 2004, which again isn't the terminology that is necessarily appropriate. If you have questions on how to structure a search with various terms please see "Creating an Effective Search" and/or reach out to a librarian.

  • Terms like "Federally-recognized" and "state-recognized" are applied to Native American/Indigenous communities through formal legislative acts and actions. However, we must recognize that there are also a number of unrecognized populations and communities throughout the United States. Tribal sovereignty determines tribal membership. 

Suggested Titles

Student Success & Engagement Librarian

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Ingrid Hendrix
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Scholarly Communications & Digital Librarian

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Robyn Gleasner
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Creative Commons

Feel free to make a copy or re-use this page as long as you credit UNM HSLIC.

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This guide was created by a Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center staff member and is licensed by the Health Science Library and Informatics Center of the University of New Mexico under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.