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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
4208.0: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - 3:00 PM

Abstract #113735

Thinking Inside the Box: American Indian Elders and the Sacred vs Secular Tension

Margaret P. Moss, DSN, School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Weaver-Densford Hall 6-101, 308 Harvard ST, Minneapolis, MN 55455, 612-624-2972, mossx015@umn.edu

PURPOSE: To provide insight into constructions of aging and Zuni elders. DESIGN & METHODS: Classical ethnographic field techniques were used to collect data during 1800 hours of fieldwork on Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico. FINDINGS: Indigenous constructs are firmly rooted in Zuni traditions. Most elders find it essential to stay on a traditional path, although, it is undeniable that western constructions also exist in their cosmos. Zuni traditions triangulate with perspectives from the West to form a fluctuating middle that stays within prescribed boundaries of a ‘box' bounded by the four directions and the zenith and nadir planes. The degree to which an elder remains oral vs. literal, ages in the ‘Zuni Way', and within a sacred domain greatly affects decision-making, as well as action and or inaction in aging. IMPLICATIONS: Understanding perspectives rooted within an “inside-the box” paradigm, valuing the old, the ancestors and the Zuni way will assist in deriving, relevant Gerontological theories and programs for these American Indian elders.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: American Indians, Religion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

Faith Community Effecting Change: Addressing Health Disparities and Social Justice

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA