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Keeping San Diego’s Urban Indigenous Community Healthy In Mind, Body And Spirit Amid COVID-19 (


Body, Mind, and Spirit.

An indivisible combination that is the cornerstone for holistic wellness for Native Americans. It is also the slogan that appears beneath the medicine wheel on the sign for the San Diego American Indian Health Center.

“Da'anzho,” said Ruben Leyva, standing at the corner in Bankers Hill where the clinic is located. “That means ‘hello’ in the Apache language. I am a Chiricahua Chíhénde Apache. I stand here honored and humbled to speak to you on Kumeyaay land.”

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In order to understand how COVID-19 has impacted Native Americans, Leyva offers some historical context.

“Dating back to 1519 when Hernan Cortez entered the Americas. He came across Montezuma and the Aztecs, and from that point forward, we've been battling diseases at record proportions," he said.

Leyva says Native Americans born into historical trauma want to acknowledge the harm committed against them, but can use the struggles of the past to turn into positive outcomes, including the fight against the latest pandemic.

“We turn to that historical trauma and use that as a way to let each other know that we're survivors and we will be here beyond this time,” he said.

“It is a challenge because the Native Americans were wronged for so long. I can imagine how people would say, 'now, wait a minute here',” said CEO Kevin LaChapelle.

He says the organization is built around the patient, with Native Americans serving Native Americans, which helps build trust. Among other outreach programs, the clinic uses social media to engage urban members with cultural classes and activities

To read more of Maya Trabuilsi's article, click, Keeping San Diego's Urban Indigenous Community Healthy In Mind, Body And Spirit Amid COVID-19 | KPBS


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