Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
John J. Peregoy
American Indians (herein referred to as Indians, Native Americans, or Natives) have a rich and heart-rendering history and continue to contribute to the fabric of American society. The history of Native people is important for mental health professionals and researchers to understand in order to grasp the present implications of history and how they may affect psychological, familial, and social interactions. The following overview of Indian country, past and present, is divided into several sections. A brief history of Native-White relations serves as an introduction to Native peoples. This section is followed by a presentation of demographics and an introduction to the complex definitions that surround being Native. Several myths that are commonly held by non-Indian “others” regarding Native Americans are presented and clarified. This is followed by an overview of health and mental health issues affecting Natives today. The final section presents traditional Native and contemporary approaches to healing, ...