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Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness

An interactive exhibition entitled, Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness, which examines concepts of health and medicine among contemporary American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian people is on display at the Campus location of One Health Bighorn. This was initially a traveling exhibition, produced by the National Library of Medicine, exploring the connection between wellness, illness, and cultural life through a combination of interviews with Native people, artwork, objects, and interactive media. The planned end of the traveling exhibit, coincided with the opening of the new outpatient clinic for One Health in Hardin. Leaders for both organizations saw the opportunity to celebrate what One Health is referring to as a new platform for community wellness, as well as informing a broader audience about the views of our Indigenous Citizenry as it relates to health and wellness. Accordingly, they entered into a long-term loan which places this nationally important exhibit in Hardin for the near future. The exhibition will be open to the public during clinic hours at 1223 North Center Avenue in Hardin. The National Library of Medicine has a history of working with Native communities as part of the Library’s commitment to make health information resources accessible to people no matter where they live or work. The Native Voices exhibition concept grew out of meetings with Native leaders in Alaska, Hawaii and the Lower 48.

“We hope that visitors in communities acrossthe country will learn from the ideas,practices, and traditions shared here,” says Betsy L. Humphreys, acting director of the National Library of Medicine. “We hope, too, that those who host the exhibition will enrich it by including additional content and programs that reflect their local Native culture and history.”

“This exhibition honors the Native tradition of oral history and establishes a unique collection of information,” says DonaldA.B. Lindberg, MD, director emeritus of the National Library of Medicine. “We hope visitors will find Native Voices both educational and inspirational, and we hope Native people will view it with pride.”

“This is an impressive collection of artwork, online resources and oral traditions compiled by the National Library of Medicine,” said Dr. David Mark, CEO of Bighorn Valley Health Center. “It has travelled from Hawaii to Washington DC, and from Alaska to New Mexico.That they helped it find a long term residency in Hardin, MT at our new Campus location is botha tribute to the work NLM conducts with Native communities and the profound traditions of the local populations that we serve.”

About the exhibition

Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness examines concepts of health and medicine among contemporary American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. The traveling exhibition features interviews and works from Native people living on reservations, in tribal villages, and in cities. Topics include: Native views of land, food, community, earth/nature, and spirituality as they relate to Native health; the relationship between traditional healing and Western medicine in Native communities; economic and cultural issues that affect the health of Native communities; efforts by Native communities to improve health conditions; and the role of Native Americans in military service and healing support for returning Native veterans.

To make the Native Voices information accessible to people even if they can’t come to the campus location, there is an online version of the exhibition at

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