CHANGES IN THE ETHNIC MEDICAL SYSTEM OF THE HISPANIC POPULATION OF CASPER, WYOMING.
AuthorMEREDITH, JOHN DEE.
KeywordsMexican Americans -- Medicine -- Wyoming -- Casper.
Traditional medicine -- Wyoming -- Casper.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractResearch was conducted among the Hispanic population of Casper, Wyoming for the purpose of determining the extent to which the Hispanic ethnic medical system had been modified in response to local living conditions. Since Casper is relatively remote from areas where there are high concentrations of Hispanics it was reasoned that this isolation would influence the way in which Hispanics adapted to life in a predominantly Anglo community and that, by extension, aspects of the ethnic medical system would undergo significant alterations as a result. Research was carried out by using a mail out survey which was sent to a random sample, by personal interviews and contacts, and by collecting life histories of selected individuals within the Hispanic community. The results indicated that few local Hispanics adhered to the precepts of the ethnic medical system and that those who did were likely to retain only those cures which were easily administered within the home. There were virtually no reported instances of anybody having contracted one of the ethnic illnesses in the recent past. The attenuated nature of the ethnic medical system was accounted for in terms of the local Hispanic community structure and of the local sense of Hispanic group identity. Hispanic community structure is weak due to the small number of Hispanics who reside in Casper, their relatively recent arrival in Casper, their residential dispersal which inhibits the formation of strong neighborhoods, and the absence of formal institutions and organizations which might serve as focal points for community interaction. As a result of this weak community structure ethnic identity is expressed primarily in the domestic sphere rather than the public sphere. The ethnic medical system follows the same pattern, with those elements of the system which require strong community support being cropped and those elements which can be controlled domestically being retained.