Words, wounds, chiasms : Native American health care encounters
Lande, Nancy Carol.
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My research explores the theme of the production and reception of intercultural mis/communications between Indians and non-Indians as expressed through linguistic narratives in the material setting of health care facilities on Indian reservations in Montana. My thesis focuses on how the βobjectifyingγ discourse of Western practices of biomedicine are taken for granted and impede doctorsα abilities to actually communicate with Native American patients about their health care by exploring sociolinguistic disparities that are revealed through personal interviews. Since the doctor-patient relationship is always contextualized by problematics of social differences, I elaborate on the personal and social effects of cross-cultural linguistic communication. I have isolated several culturally specific aspects of sociolinguistic miscommunications resulting from intercultural differences in speech assumptions and perceptions that interfere with achieving higher levels of Native American health care. Given the recent emphasis on training doctors to be more proficient in communicating, it is critical to determine whether these strategies are relevant to communicating with Native Americans. I examine how differences in the legitimated linguistic abilities and etiquettes that people possess shape ongoing negotiations of high stakes health situations in order to determine how these differences can be bridged.