It’s come to the Tribal Council’s attention that a recent national report says the life expectancy rates for Americans is on the decline. Native American populations had the greatest decrease in that report, with our average life expectancy now standing at age 65, nine years less than those for the total American population. This is troubling news indeed, but unfortunately comes as no surprise.
It is a well-established fact that Native Americans are marginalized in many aspects, especially when it comes to healthcare. Historically, Native Americans have long experienced a different healthcare reality and overall health outcomes when compared to other Americans. Typically, these outcomes are adversely impacted by system-wide inadequate access to comprehensive health management and preventative care services. Given the higher health status enjoyed by most Americans, the lingering health disparities experienced by Native Americans, including members of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, are troubling – especially those that impact our most vulnerable populations, our Tribal Elders and our Tribal Youth.
The health and wellbeing of our citizens has always been the top priority of Tunica-Biloxi leadership, especially as we continue to navigate the global pandemic. We have taken several steps to address immediate issues while building the foundation for long-term, permanent solutions. I want to encourage our Tribal citizens to remember that true health begins at home – with healthy living decisions and diet. Additionally, the importance of tending to our mental health cannot be overstated.
As you may know, Tribal leadership has compiled extensive programming to support our citizens and their families under the direction of the Indian Health Services, including behavioral healthcare services, immunizations, dental care, elder care and more. We have also established a full-service medical clinic that offers a wide range of clinical services such as physical examinations, laboratory testing, medical management, blood pressure and diabetic treatment. Our hope is to take a holistic approach to meet and exceed the healthcare needs of our tribal citizens and families.
Our population has long been exposed to trials and tribulations that can make it difficult to maintain a healthy and stress-free life. Still, I encourage our community to embrace smart decisions that return to Mother Earth and utilize her natural means for healthy living while developing coping mechanisms to help deal with day-to-day stresses. It’s important for Native Americans to continue to connect to the natural world and to embrace their true purpose in the Earthly Kingdom.
For more information on our healthcare services, contact Cameron Chase, Director of the Health Department, at email@example.com or at (318) 240-6437.