There are times I just want to applaud when I hear a kernel of truth being expressed. This story deserves a standing ovation. . .
When the Red Cross took medicine into a community in Southern Patagonia, Argentina, the elder medicine woman tried to explain how the tribe felt about this. She said “For us, health is a state of respect. In order to have it, different facts must be given which all belong to this state of being: the plants; the trees; the water; true and balanced words; good food; not talking over other people’s heads; the forest; the animals in the bush; the fish; harmony; the village community; talking with one another and having conversations; keeping our ancient way of life; respecting our culture and individual being as well; the feeling of vigor which is given to us by all the above mentioned things; the holding together of our community; the quiet and secure living on our land; the family; the village; our festivals.
But then the outside people come and make us dependent on money and other material things, and this destroys our state of healthiness. You talk badly of others and take our land. No land means nothing to eat, and nothing to eat means illness. And in the end you pull out of your pocket a little white pill and want to make us believe that if we eat the pill that this means healthiness, that this pill is health. Is that really what you think health is?”
The Western world has much to learn from indigenous cultures—especially the difference between health and medical intervention.