|dc.description.abstract||Background and Purpose:
In 2012 the U.S. Census Bureau used “Mexican American Indian” (MAI) as a new category to describe people with ancestry from Indigenous groups of Mexico. This census category comprises the fourth largest Indigenous population group in the United States and encompasses a vastly diverse, complex, and intersectional population, for which there is little empirical health research. Many Indigenous scholars and community members cite involvement in place- and settings-based cultural and spiritual practices as potentially protective in reducing health risks and promoting well-being. The aim of this study is to understand the role of participation in cultural dance as a potential protective place for reducing alcohol and other drug abuse (AOD) and HIV risk, and for promoting overall health among a sample of people from an Urban Danza Mexica Community (UDMC). Narrative, as storytelling, is a powerful medium of communication with the potential to uncover important risk and protective factors among Indigenous communities globally.
This study is a secondary data analysis (n = 12; 9 included in the final analysis) of a larger qualitative AOD and HIV prevention study with UDMC in the Pacific Northwest (n = 21). The larger pilot study uses a community based participatory research approach to assess AOD, HIV and overall health needs through in-depth interviews. This secondary analysis introduces the decolonizing narratives of health (DNOH) model, developed by the author as an innovative, relational, analytic framework that places Indigenous stories in relationship to their context across 3 distinct yet interconnected levels—the personal, the communal, and Indigeneity in the larger world. These levels of narrative analysis function as culturally grounded, relational pathways through which to articulate health prevention and promotion methods. The sample of 9 participants identified ancestry among 4 Indigenous groups from across Mexico. Their ages were evenly distributed across younger and older adult cohorts (18+) with education levels from 0-8th grade, to graduate/professional degrees. Five participants self-identified as cisgender female, and 4 as cisgender male. Among the 9, one participant identified as cisgender two-spirit.
The DNOH model’s narratives delve into the complex and nuanced relationships within participants’ internal worlds (personal), between themselves and their danza community (communal), and between themselves and their overall Indigenous identity within society (Indigeneity). Participants use narrative as a mechanism for resistance to colonial assaults and transmission of ancestral teachings about health and prevention. While marginalization of their intersectional identities is an ongoing challenge, participants within the danza circle use narratives to create spaces wherein they navigate complex conversations that resist oppression, reconnect with and strengthen their Indigenous identities, and strive toward ancestral visions of health and well-being.
Conclusion and Implications:
This study contributes to Indigenized theoretical and methodological expansion, and to the development of place/settings-based, narrative cultural health interventions aimed at decreasing health risks and promoting wellness among populations similar to UDMC. Identifying protective places and spaces that foster distinct pathways for decolonizing narratives helps increase understanding of its role in preventing health risk behaviors and promoting overall health and well-being among Indigenous Peoples||en_US