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Mistrust, Mistreatment, and Marginalization: What the Experiences of Indigenous Women Tell Us About Indigenous Health Care Challenges and Solutions

Published On June 28, 2023

Despite advancements in insurance coverage and health care accessibility in the past century, Indigenous communities still face remarkable inequities in health care today. Indigenous peoples have a life expectancy that is nearly five years shorter than the national average, and they continue to experience higher rates of morbidity and mortality in many categories of preventable illnesses.

At a glance, here are some suggested solutions derived from our conversations:

  • Train Culturally Competent Healthcare Providers
  • Invest in Pathways to Medical Careers for Indigenous Youth
  • Promote the Acceptance & Inclusion of Traditional Healing

Through our listening work, we found that histories of violence, discrimination, and oppression against Indigenous peoples have had lasting impacts not only on their health, but on the trust Indigenous people might have in health care overall. When combined with barriers of transportation and cost, it becomes abundantly clear that the health care needs of Indigenous people are not adequately being met.

United States of Care’s (USofCare) mission is to ensure everyone has access to quality, affordable health care regardless of health status, social need, or income. As part of our mission and commitment to equity, we engage in authentic listening research to lift voices in communities that have historically been ignored. As such, we spoke to five Indigenous women from various tribal backgrounds to gain insight into the challenges and potential solutions to health inequities within Indigenous communities.