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Ethnicity and Health: Experience with an Urban Mapuche Health Program from the Perspective of Key Actors

  • Jame Rebolledo SanhuezaEmail author
  • Mónica Manríquez Hizaut
  • Cristian Lagos Fernández
  • Verónica Figueroa Huencho
  • José Miguel Gómez López
Article
  • 13 Downloads

Abstract

This article explores the relationships and tensions between ethnicity and health, describing the perspectives of various social actors on a Mapuche clinic in the context of a national health program. A qualitative methodology was used to carry out this case study of the Mapuche clinic “La Ruka,” located in an urban area of the Metropolitan Region of Chile. The study analyzes the narratives of traditional health practitioners (including a machi, lawentuchefe, lonko, and intercultural facilitator), consumers, conventional healthcare professionals, and local health authorities and community leaders who share a physical, political, and symbolic space around the Mapuche health experience. The systemization of experiences method was applied to the data, acquired through nonparticipant observation, individual interviews, and focus groups. The results suggest that this healthcare experience is highly valued by its protagonists. However, there is a tension surrounding cultural diversity programs that recognize non-Western approaches to healing, such as indigenous practices. This study examines the health-related, cultural, and political tensions involved in projecting indigenous traditions into a homogenizing space such as healthcare in a multicultural neoliberalism system.

Keywords

Culturally competent care Ethnicity and health Cultural diversity Ethnic groups Health policy 

Notes

Funding Information

This work was supported by the “Ministerio de Desarrollo Social” grant “Chile de Todos y Todas, 2016.”

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict(s) of interest.

Ethical Approval

This study was developed in the context of a systematization of experience. All procedures performed were governed under the ethical principles of participatory action research; participants were volunteers. The Mapuche community was part of the analysis team and approved the publication of this material.

Statement of Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained verbally from all individual participants included in the study.

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Copyright information

© W. Montague Cobb-NMA Health Institute 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de KinesiologíaUniversidad de ChileSantiagoChile
  2. 2.Departamento de LingüísticaUniversidad de ChileSantiagoChile
  3. 3.Instituto de Asuntos PúblicosUniversidad de ChileSantiagoChile

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