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Pueblo Indians; Pueblo Indians--Religion; Indigenous peoples--Medicine


While a public health education trainee with the Division of Indian Health, United States Public Health Service, I became interested in the socio-religious structure of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico. During the nine month field training period spent in the Albuquerque area I investigated the existing ethnological literature concerning the Pueblo Indians. Research investigation in the area of the relationship between religion and medicine was accomplished by study of literature and field observation and inquiry. My concern was not so much the epidemiological determinants of disease and its prevalence. Rather it was with the "behavior of the people in the face of sickness and in the presence of medical and other community resources for maintaining health and coping with disease." (Paul 1963: 36).

This paper describes the all-embracing character of Pueblo Indian religion. A philosophy of individual and social health and well-being become apparent in the study. An awareness and an understanding of this philosophy of health and disease are basic to the proper functioning of the public health worker. The success or failure of the total health program is governed by soundly conceived concepts of Pueblo Indian religion, medicine, and the "Good Life."

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