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Journal Article


Schrader SL, Nelson ML, Eidsness LAM. Am. Indian Cult. Res. J. 2009; 33(2): 67-87.


(Copyright © 2009, University of California, Los Angeles - American Indian Culture and Research Center)






During the past century, dramatic changes have occurred in the way death is experienced in the United States. A death in 1900 typically occurred as a result of sudden illness and injury among the young at home. Today, Americans are more likely to die from long-term, chronic illness in later life, often in institutional settings. In addition to the many cultural transformations and medical advances that occurred during the last century, new philosophies and responses to end of life (EOL) have also evolved. From a review of the literature, only four articles address American Indian perspectives on EOL. Joseph Carrese and Lorna Rhodes examined sharing negative information (including EOL diagnoses) with Navaho patients. Christine DeCourtney et al. described the creation of a culturally sensitive palliative care program in rural Alaska, and Emmanuel Gorospe and James Hampton offered commentary on palliative care for American Indians. This dearth in the literature is especially critical, given that more than one thousand tribes inhabit the United States. Variations pertaining to EOL wishes among these populations have not been addressed. LifeCircle South Dakota: Partners Improving End-of-Life Care is a statewide collaboration among health care and academic institutions. The statewide research, "South Dakota's Dying to Know" ("SDD2K"), provided an understanding of South Dakotans' knowledge, attitudes, and preferences about EOL care. In the prairie state of South Dakota (population 754,844), the largest minority population is American Indian (8%). About 5 percent of South Dakota households are headed by persons self-identifying as "American Indian only." Most American Indians in South Dakota are of the Lakota, Nakota, or Dakota tribes of the Sioux Nation. This study brings into greater clarity the EOL wishes of American Indians residing in South Dakota and compares those perspectives with non-Indian residents. (Contains 5 tables, 1 figure and 20 notes.)

Language: en


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