Journal of Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences




This qualitative interpretive study aimed to describe the experiences of 13 American Indians living in urban settings and their use of traditional healing and biomedical health services for type 2 diabetes. Urban American Indian adults living in the United States who used traditional healing and biomedical health services for type 2 diabetes were recruited for the study through purposive sampling, including snowball sampling. Thirteen participants completed semi-structured interviews. Participants reported positive experiences and barriers to traditional healing and Western biomedical services. They also discussed feelings of disorientation when diagnosed at a young age with type 2 diabetes but self-empowerment as an adult. Participants felt disconnected from their tribal community and identified inaccessibility and lack of communication as barriers to using traditional healing practices. Participants noted access and convenience to biomedicine as a reason to use it and the services provided within the system. They also identified barriers to biomedicine, such as short consultation time, costs, and lack of rapport or communication. Implications for positive social change include improving awareness and understanding of healthcare providers and educators regarding urban American Indian populations’ health needs and being able to implement better-informed health programs for them.