Immunization and Infectious Disease Mitigation

Cultural Models of Immunization and Infectious Disease Mitigation

The members of some communities, such as Puerto Rico, do not understand the scope and severity of some infectious diseases until they become infected (Pérez-Guerra, Zielinski-Gutierrez, Vargas-Torres, & Clark, 2009). The lack of a basic understanding of illness and infection poses a roadblock to mitigating disease transmission within the community. For Pérez-Guerra et al., the perception of severity and mitigation is important as they investigate the difference in attitudes towards dengue infections because dengue cannot be controlled by vaccine and must be mitigated by community participation in mosquito abatement activities. Other infectious diseases, however, can be controlled by vaccine, but efforts to limit infection are met with ignorance or misconceptions (Lau, Griffiths, Choi, & Tsui, 2010; Leask, Sheikh-Mohammed, MacIntyre, Leask, & Wood, 2006).

Public health officials, in concert with community leaders, should seek to educate affected communities about the infectious diseases they face along with effective mitigation strategies and the importance of vaccination, if available. Coreil (2010) describes the importance of cultural models in “[gaining] a deeper understanding of the cultural context of behavior” (p. 83). If behaviors are not understood, then it will be difficult to redirect them. Reaching out to community leaders has the added effect of allowing the leaders to alter the message just enough so that it might be effectively communicated to the community.

Providing a cultural health model allows for a larger scope of audience while effectively tailoring the message so that most of the target audience will appreciate the nature of the message. Approaching health behaviors from a cultural stand-point also offers the advantage of allowing peer support to propagate messages through out the community. This might be especially true when dealing with a multitude of subcultures where the message might better be disseminated via interpersonal means. Eventually, the message will be received by many individuals who will begin to have discussions with others in the community. For communities where individuals are not likely to speak to each other regarding personal health-related matters, the cultural health model allows a general message to reach each individual.


Coreil, J. (Ed.). (2010). Social and behavioral foundations of public health (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Lau, J. T. F., Griffiths, S., Choi, K. C., & Tsui, H. Y. (2010). Avoidance behaviors and negative psychological responses in the general population in the initial stage of the H1N1 pandemic in Hong Kong. BMC Infectious Diseases, 10(139), 1-13. doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-139

Leask, J., Sheikh-Mohammed, M., MacIntyre, C. R., Leask, A., & Wood, N. J. (2006). Community perceptions about infectious disease risk posed by new arrivals: A qualitative study. The Medical Journal of Australia, 185(11/12), 591-593. Retrieved from

Pérez-Guerra, C. L., Zielinski-Gutierrez, E., Vargas-Torres, D., & Clark, G. G. (2009). Community beliefs and practices about dengue in Puerto Rico. Pan American Journal of Public Health, 25(3), 218-226. doi:10.1590/S1020-49892009000300005

Living Longer and Happier Lives

As we age, we tend to question our mortality and how much longer we have left to live. Not that we can do much about this in order to extend our lives by this time, but if we question our health earlier, we may be able to affect positive change in order to have a longer and more productive quality of life. Dan Buettner (National Public Radio [NPR], 2008; TED, 2009) discusses how difficult it can be to control the effects of aging, but he also offers some options based on his observations of what are termed blue zones. Blue zones are geographic and cultural areas of the where people tend to live longer and healthier lives.

Buettner (NPR, 2008; TED, 2009) describes simple measures that can contribute to increasing a productive life. More importantly, he has uncovered what they do not do. The people who live in these blue zones, according to Buettner, do not tend to take daily supplements, pills, or extracts. Instead, continuous and simple movement for exercise coupled with a sensible cultural diet seems to have the biggest impact.

One of the observations that I have made over the years is that as physical movement declines, physical and emotional strength wane. For example, an otherwise healthy 70 year old woman who accidentally falls and breaks her hip decreases her life expectancy drastically unless physical rehabilitation is utilized to regain her activity level (Keene, Parker, & Pryor, 1993; Lyons, 1997). It is vitally important to maintain a healthy level of activity throughout life.

Diet is very important. Buettner (NPR, 2008; TED, 2009) credits adding nuts to the diet for an average increase of three years of life. The way in which our bodies use energy is very important, and we must supply it with a fuel that is efficient. A wholesome diet, I believe, is the best diet, especially if divided by five or more meals a day.

We cannot have a conversation about improving overall health without addressing some of the unhealthy vices that we tend to indulge in. Instead of outlining each and every thing that is detrimental to our health, I will say that moderation should be the way to combat the effects of vices. We need to enjoy life, and I feel that the mere enjoyment leads to a longer and healthier life; therefore, to strictly limit indulgences would seem to be counter-productive. Moderation should certainly be the way in which to address these issues.

We all want to live longer and healthier lives, but genetics does play a role. There are some aspects of our lifestyle that we are finding that we can change for the better, and the alternatives are not that bad. So long as we live healthy lives, we can enjoy life more completely.


Keene, G. S., Parker, M. J., & Pryor, G. A. (1993). Mortality and morbidity after hip fractures. British Medical Journal, 307, 1248-1250. doi:10.1136/bmj.307.6914.1248

Lyons, A. R. (1997). Clinical outcomes and treatment of hip fractures. American Journal of Medicine, 103(2), S51-S64. doi:10.1016/S0002-9343(97)90027-9

National Public Radio (Producer). (2008, June 8). Can ‘blue zones’ help turn back the biological clock? [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from

TED (Producer). (2009, September). Dan Buettner: How to live to be 100+ [Web Video]. Retrieved from

Social Ecology of Immunization and Infectious Diseases

Vaccines are very useful as preventive medicine in public health to reduce morbidity and mortality due to communicable diseases, though they are not a substitute to safe drinking water, sanitation, nutrition and environmental health in the long run.
(Madhavi et al., 2010, p. 618)

In dealing with infectious diseases, two primary methods of prevention are worthwhile: immunization and avoidance. Avoidance is nearly impossible as valence for various pathogens vary so greatly and community network structure influences (Ciccaroneet al., 2010; Salathé & Jones, 2010). Immunization, on the other hand, allows for proximal contact with a specific pathogen without the likelihood to effective transmission, or active infection. Immunization, or innoculation, is the process of introducing the immune system to potential future pathogens so that it may form lifelong antibodies that can readily attack the pathogen if infected in the future (Centers for Disease Control, 2009). Immunization is gaining stronger support in the face of a growing number of antibiotic-resistant pathogens and pathogens with a propensity for recombination under heavy environmentally selective pressures, and though antibiotic therapy is a reliable and effective secondary prevention method, it seems to be true that antibiotic therapy is becoming less effective the more we rely on it as a prophylaxis (Laxminarayan & Brown, 2001). Additionally, antibiotics are only effective in the treatment of bacterial infections and have no effect on viral infections. Antiviral medications are typically more expensive and less available.

Luckily, when speaking about infectious processes, there is little need for continuous care after the acute presentation (Ciccarone et al., 2010). The pathogen is typically eradicated from the host by means of the natural combative effects of the immune system in combination, when required, with pharmacological assistance, and there is only a small chance of the host suffering any lasting effects. Unfortunately, there are some pathogens that continue to cause harm well after the acute phase of infection. Pathogens, such as the human immunodeficiency virus, ravage the immune system making the host susceptible to a number of other opportunistic infections that can become life-threatening. Other pathogens, such as hepatitis, can damage the natural filtration system of the host’s body that other deleterious effects surface creating a chronic disease process of the organs. In these, and other, cases, tertiary prevention strategies can help to offer the host a meaningful quality of life with the presence of the disease process. Some effective tertiary methods include medications aimed at improving the function of certain organs or systems. Diet and exercise also plays a major role in tertiary prevention strategies (Stokols, 1992).

Depending on the particular pathogen, infection might not affect me as much as others. As a paramedic, I have a comfortable knowledge of infectious disease processes, and I understand that a simple regimen of antibiotic medication, along with rest and fluid intake, will cure most of the infectious bacterial diseases that I might face, albeit some drug-resistant pathogens are not so easy to manage. Additionally, I have isolation equipment at my disposal that allows me to create a barrier from these and other infectious diseases. Ciccarone et al. (2010) further describe many of the psychosocial barriers Asian and Pacific Islanders face when confronted with the early stages of some infections. “Psychosocial issues such as depression, embarrassment, and shyness were reported to have influenced time to seeking medical attention” (Ciccarone et al., 2010, p. 143). Although I accept that I may suffer one or more of these barriers, my education, along with mandatory workplace reporting requirements, empower me to seek medical care when needed.

Addressing prevention strategies, Stokols (1992) introduces a model using the social ecology of health. Though he does not categorize primary, secondary, and tertiary means, he does hint at prevention strategies being proximal or distal. Further, Stokols outlines a variety of means related directly to an understanding of environmental roles and pressures. Understanding how an individual relates to, from, and within his or her ecology allows the health practitioner to provide more focused means of prevention and education.


Centers for Disease Control. (2009). Parent’s Guide to Immunizations [Excerpt]. Retrieved from

Ciccarone, R. M., Kim, M., Tice, A. D., Nakata, M., Effler, P., Jernigan, D. B., … & Sinkowitz-Cochran, R. L. (2010). Prevention of community-associated methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus infection among Asian/Pacific Islanders: A qualitative assessment. Hawai‘i Medical Journal, 69(6), 142-144. Retrieved from

Laxminarayan, R. & Brown, G. M. (2001). Economics of antibiotic resistance: A theory of optimal use. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 42(2), 183-206. doi:10.1006/jeem.2000.1156

Madhavi, Y., Puliyel, J. M., Mathew, J. L., Raghuram, N., Phadke, A., Shiva, M., … & Banerji, D. (2010). Evidence-based national vaccine policy. Indian Journal of Medical Research, 131, 617-628. Retrieved from

Salathé, M. & Jones, J. H. (2010). Dynamics and control of diseases in networks with community structure. PLoS Computational Biology, 6(4), e1000736. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000736

Stokols, D. (1992). Establishing and maintaining healthy environments: Toward a social ecology of health promotion. American Psychologist, 47(1), 6-22. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.47.1.6

Free Market

I have purchased many products developed in other countries in the past, including electronics, clothing, and vehicles. To be honest, I have never considered the multi-dimensional ramifications of such purchases. In my view, the purchase of any product that is made available for purchase, whether imported or domestic, contributes to the economy of the United States. In Free to Choose, Milton Friedman (1990) outlines how a free market, driven by personal interest, creates a paradigm where interaction serves only to benefit each party of a transaction. Under Friedman’s concept, the market ultimately causes responsible purchasing, as the consumer drives the market. This differs greatly to the capitalism engaged in the United States, which promotes what is refered to as crony-capitalism. This is certainly an abomination of what the free market is intended to provide. As Friedman purports, “a predominantly voluntary exchange economy … has within it the potential to promote both prosperity and human freedom” (p. 11). Consideration of special interest over general interest will degrade this ideal.

According to Ridgeway (2007), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have destroyed cultures in their attempts to provide for participation in the international markets. Unfortunately, opportunistic people have taken advantage of the situations created. This is what laws are for. Proper legislation and political pressure would allow a government to interact on the world market utilizing methods acceptable to the people. The sovereign government of a people is responsible to and for the people. Governments trade with other governments and their people. It is the choice of both governments, and ultimately the consumers, to do business with each specific entity. I posit that if a certain government abused the governed populace for the sake of increasing world trade, then the responsible governments of the world should, in fact, put pressure on the producing government to alter its model. This would require a moral commitment, however.

Whenever an opportunity for growth presents itself to a community, the community is going to change. Technology will change landscapes as certain needs prevail over lesser needs. It is the responsibility of each culture, whether indigenous or colonial, to preserve their history and culture. Abuses, though, should not be tolerated. I believe that it would be important to not purchase products produced in such manner that would offend one’s sensibilities. For example, the genocide of a people is not excusable solely for the use of the wood on their land. I, for one, would not allow that producer to profit from me.


Friedman, M. & Friedman, R. D. (1990). Free to choose: A personal statement (First Harvest ed.). Retrieved from

Ridgeway, S. (2007, July). Globalization from the subsistence perspective. Peace Review, 19, 297–304. doi:10.1080/10402650701524659

Creationism of the Iroquois League

First, it should be mentioned that the Iroquois, despite popular belief, was not a tribe in itself but a league of five Native American tribes: the Cayuga, Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida, Onondaga, and Tuscarora (Converse, 2006). I believe that it is this amalgamation of heritage and culture that lends to such a diverse and rich mythology. The creation story of the Iroquois is not a single story but a selection of variations upon a common theme. This story has been handed down in oral fashion well before colonial times. As such, the variations have grown with the inflections and understanding of each storyteller. Some of the common themes in this story describe a heavenly island in space upon which there is no suffering, no war, and no death, only eternal peace and abundance. This island hovers above an earth covered in water. On the floating island there is a tree, the tree of light or the council tree. This tree was “perpetually laden with fruit and blossoms” (Converse, 2006, p. 32). One day, the ruler, the Great Creative Being, decided to create a new place for the people to grow. In knowing that the world of the cloud sea (earth) existed under the council tree, he commanded the tree uprooted so that the cloud sea might be nurtured to grow. After uprooting the tree, the Great Creative Being sent a woman who was with child down to the cloud sea. As she descended, the animals of the cloud sea created a place for her to rest upon the back of Great Turtle.

At this point, the story breaks into many of the known variations (Converse, 2006; Iroquois Indian Museum, 2010; Williams College, 1997). In some tellings, the woman gives birth to twins, one good and one evil. In at least one account, the woman gives birth to a girl who in turn gives birth to the hero and villain of the story. In all versions, ultimately, the twins are born and the good twin creates beauty and abundance while the bad twin attempts to destroy these things that his brother has created. The brothers eventually take up battle against each other, with the good twin victorious, and life goes on. Each facet of life and nature being a personified allusion of spirit-beings. The story varies so much at this point that to continue in detail would bring this discussion outside of its purview.

The Iroquois creation story, as so many others, tells of a beginning of life on earth, but it fails to tell the story from the initial creation. In this story, there is already a civilization of beings in existence that bears our ancestors. What this story does accomplish, however, is tying a primeval importance to the creatures and land that they rely upon. This story teaches to nourish the land and respect the animals, probably instilling a sense of responsibility because they understand, if not fully, that their existence and quality of life is dependent on the abundance of the land. Parallels can be drawn to some of the interpretations of the Sumerian creation story (Langdon, 1915) and the variations leading to the classical religions’ (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) telling of creation (Al-Baqarah 30, Qu’ran; Al-Hijr 28, Qu’ran; Al-A’raf 54, Qu’ran; Ar-Rahman 14, Qu’ran; Al-Sajdah 4, Qu’ran; Genesis 1-11, King James Bible; Genesis 1-11, Torah).


Converse, H. M. (2006). In A. C. Parker (Ed.), Myths and legends of the New York State Iroquois. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger. Retrieved from

Iroquois Indian Museum. (2010). Creation story I. Retrieved from

Langdon, S. (1915). Sumerian epic of paradise, the flood and the fall of man. The University Museum Publications of the Babylonian Section, 10(1-4). Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Museum. Retrieved from

Williams College, Computer Science Department. (1997). Iroquois creation myth. Retrieved from

Naming ceremony

As Knauft (2010) described, before seven months old, “a human spirit is not thought to be completely rooted in their bodies, and they aren’t even given a name” (p.39). This naming ceremony practice reminds me of the ausa vatni of the Old Norse cultures when infants were only named after inspection and acceptance of the father, giving the child the rights and inheritances of the family (Ward, n.d.). Through the ausa vatni, the child was protected under the law of murder; otherwise, the child could be abandoned and left to die without recourse. The differences between the Gebusi and the Norse, though, are obvious. In my culture, infanticide is surely taboo. In fact, my family cherishes the entire process of bearing a child and bringing a new life into the world. In stark contrast to both the Gebusi and the Norse, we tend to name our children very early, even before birth. Some of our children have even gained nicknames prior to birth.

It is difficult to objectively experience the beliefs and rituals of other cultures when they are by design emotively raw. The taboo of our society is important for us to understand for our acceptance and longevity within our own culture. As we learn to vilify practices that are not condoned within our society, we develop a visceral response when these practices are witnessed. It is understandable, but it is not helpful to juxtapose one culture with our own, subjectively, when we are attempting to understand more about it. The visceral reaction will certainly prove detrimental to our experience in creating a judgment versus creating an understanding. Perhaps this is the same reason that human cultures have abhorred other cultures throughout human existence.


Knauft, B. (2010). The Gebusi: Lives transformed in a rainforest world (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Ward, C. (n.d.). Old Norse names. The Viking Answer Lady. Retrieved from

A Personal Ethnographic Narrative

I have always viewed my being from philosophy. I do not believe that I have ever appreciated myself from an anthropological viewpoint. Though I have always been more interested in where did we come from, anthropology and ethnography certainly does help to answer how did we get here.

On December 7, 1975, at 4:48 a.m., I was born in Providence, Rhode Island. A healthy boy of healthy weight, I never suffered much in childhood. I do remember the chicken pox, however. My mother was sure to make me play with every child suffering from the chicken pox until it finally gripped me. This was my first experience in active inoculation. I was always well cared for, received all of my shots in timely fashion, and the doctor’s office remains a fond childhood memory. Medicine was just practiced differently in those days.

My early childhood was based primarily around my grandparents. My mother was a single parent, and though it irked her to do so, she relied heavily on State-sponsored welfare. My mother was a strong and determined woman, however. She continued her schooling, found a job with a sustainable wage, and made a great home for us. Until this time, though, I spent the majority of time with my grandfather. From a very young age, I was learning his trade as well as his life lessons. Today, I do not think many five-year-olds would be able to cut and wet sand glass in a licensed shop. Working with my grandfather, once a week when I attended school, framed my work ethic and provided an early education in engineering. This opportunity allowed me comfort in engineering at an early age. In fact, my interest in engineering was so pronounced that I was already considering California Institute of Technology at age ten. Massachusetts Institute of Technology was my second choice.

My family had it hard. My grandparents raised five children and helped to raise 13 grandchildren. We were not an affluent family by any means, but we lived comfortably if not rustic. Though my ancestry is primarily Italian, my mother’s parents are primarily Irish, English, and German, and this is how we ate. Meat and potatoes were the staples of dinner while fresh vegetables were cultivated in my grandfather’s garden. Simplicity did not end at the kitchen door. My grandfather’s first meaningful gift to me was a knife. Very simple with a fork and spoon on the sides, the knife was very utilitarian in nature. His belief was that you could not be a good steward of the environment without a knife: “How can you take a walk in the woods if you can’t even whittle a walking stick?” (personal communication with Malcolm Webb, n.d.). It was very important to him that I had honed my outdoor skills.

For leisure and sport, my grandfather would hunt rabbit with beagles. He belonged to a club in Rhode Island that held competition trials, and I was always made welcome. After a few years, I started to enter dogs that I helped to raise and train. Immediately, I began accumulating trophies that were taller than me. To be honest, the trophies might have had my name on them, but the dogs earned them more than I had. It was this foray into competition that introduced me to the team concept. Thinking back on this today, however, I find that this concept is alien to most people. Many people today, I find, want to do no work and take most of the credit. It is only when you stand up to these people that you hear comments about being a part of the team. It is a shame. It seems that yesterday’s definitions need to be defended today.

I have always been aloof and wondrous as a child. With translation assistance from the Native Languages of the Americas website (2009), my name might have been mautáubon tamóccon nemík kéesuck túppaco (morning fog sees the heavens by night or one with many questions) if I was Narragansett. Rhode Island has a rich Narragansett and Algonquin heritage and history, and this is transmitted to every inhabitant of Rhode Island. Many of our streets, villages, cities, and towns are named with Indian words and names, such as Apponaug, Chepatchet, Metacom, Misquamacut, Woonasquatucket, and Pawtucket. We are very proud of the relationship that Roger Williams, our State founder, had with the local tribes. This lasting relationship may be the reason why Rhode Islanders are typically naturalistic and prefer a rustic life proximate to water over city life.

During my formative years, my mother married and we moved to North Providence from Warwick. My step-father was Italian, and it was from his family that I learned of my Italian heritage and culture. Beyond the Mediterranean-style food, the most important lesson that I learned was loyalty. Many people have a misconception about Italian loyalty. Hollywood often depicts Italians as mafioso who shakedown store owners on a daily basis. In fact, we are very supportive of each other. So long as you are considered loyal, as an Italian, people will do you favors. It is expected that you return the favor. I have applied this lesson many times throughout my life. Again, this is a trait that many hold as one-sided, like teamwork.

After moving to North Providence, it seems that I did not much care for school. I always felt that I was being cheated out of an education. I am a reader, a learner, a student, and a teacher. I do not appreciate being taught incomplete and erroneous facts merely because it is written in the textbook. I began my own education from this point onward focusing on the arts and music, taking up drawing, poetry, and studying music theory and some of the classical languages. These, though, were hobbies and I made sure to keep them that way.

Aside from school, I remained focused on the outdoors. I would walk everywhere within the State. Distance was not a barrier. Rhode Islanders are known for staying local. If a Rhode Islander had to travel 10 miles or more, the joke was that they had to get a motel room for the night. As true as this held for most, it was not descriptive of me. I always took the road less traveled.

Throughout my high school years, I gave up on the engineering dream. I started to focus more on giving back to my community. A friend of mine introduced me to one of the local volunteer fire departments and I was hooked. After graduating from high school, I enlisted in the Marine Corps, but when I returned to civilian life, I focused on the fire service. This was the impetus for my attaining my emergency medical technician license and, ultimately, my paramedic and critical care credentials.

Though I have traveled extensively, I always seem to return to New England. I am currently living just beyond the Western border of Rhode Island in Connecticut (another Indian name).

Considering the anthropological roles outlined in Omohundro (2008), I would have to align myself with all five roles. The reformer looks to make the world a better place, regardless of his or her motivations. The critic is necessary to use introspection to identify personal weaknesses ingrained in cultural learning so that he or she may contemplate self-improvement. This, I feel, is the best role to take on first. Only after seeking to improve one’s intrinsic nature should someone seek to change the extrinsic. The scientist role is important to really think about the factors relating to certain problems. Without this role, one could have lofty goals only to find failure in execution for a lack of understanding. The role of the humanist should be used as an umbrella. When considering anthropology, we need to have a certain understanding and tolerance. This role allows us be compassionate when considering cultural issues. Finally, the means to the end is the cosmopolite role. This role gives us more tools to further our understanding. Hand-in-hand with the humanist role, the cosmopolite has a truer understanding of origination and context when dealing with the various cultures of the world.

Personally, I take on more aspects of the critic and the scientist. I am not an anthropologist, and I do not consider myself as having a platform to affect cultural change, but I do like to identify and understand problems so that I do not contribute to them negatively. More so, being mindful of the critical and scientific anthropology roles leads me to understand that there is still much to learn about my own culture and heritage and how this identity relates to the world around me. Foremost, I want to know the effect that my ancestors have had on world. I want to understand the problems they faced and the means employed to overcome them. I want to know decisions that have been made and the fallout associated with these decisions. I have always found it important to learn from the past, and though the sins of the father shall not encumber the son, we should still strive to avoid repeating historical mistakes. Second, I want to find a means to assess my own life and better understand how my existence impacts my community. I have always believed that I should make positive contributions to my community, but there is no benchmark. As a critical care paramedic, I assume that alleviating suffering and saving lives positively contributes to my community, but how can I know the harm that I might be causing in other aspects of my life? We cannot only understand the good we impart, but we must know the bad in order to prevent it.


Native languages of the Americas website. (2009). Retrieved from

Omohundro, J. T. (2008). Thinking like an anthropologist: A practical introduction to cultural anthropology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Conquest of Indigenous Populations

The native Americans of the Great Lakes region were thankful for the opportunity to trade fur with the multitude of nations that presented themselves in friendship from the 14th to the 17th centuries (Reader’s Digest, 1978, p. 149). It was the conquest of land, ordered by King James I and King Charles II, that negatively affected the indigenous populations (p.149). It was this progressive agenda that marginalized the native Americans and ultimately caused King Philip’s year long war as well as other campaigns against the white settlers of the east coast (p. 152). Throughout this time, many tribal nations were decimated by other nations while competing for trade of the more powerful weapons the white settlers could provide. The tattered tribes would move and join in alliances with other defeated tribes to minimize the possibility of a recurrence and to ensure procreation and ultimate tribal survival (p. 152). This intermingling surely had an effect on the biological make-up of the various tribal nations. I feel that much of the negativity could have been avoided with a simple sense of respect.

Currently, there are many indigenous peoples facing a number of problems with colonization. The aborginal women of Ontario, Canada, are a specific example of how an overall lack of respect leads to the marginalization of a whole culture. “Aboriginal women have a lower life expectancy than non-aboriginal women, and higher incidences of diabetes, HIV/AIDS, tobacco addiction, and suicide (up to eight times the rate experienced by other women)” (as cited in Ontario Native Women’s Association [ONWA], n.d., p. 4). To address these concerns, the community has formed organizations like ONWA and the Native Women’s Association of Canada to provide a unified voice to advocate for improved status for aboriginal women in Canada. As their position paper states, “the ONWA makes recommendations for future actions to begin the process of initiating the necessary changes with a special focus on the need for grassroots control, activism, and leadership development for Aboriginal women” (p. 1). In addition to advocating for the equality of aboriginal women, the ONWA also advocates for the environment recognizing the increasing levels of waterway pollution and other environmental concerns.

Thus far, the ONWA has developed programs to address health concerns, gambling addictions, workforce development, housing and justice (ONWA, 2010). As a grassroots activist organization, the ONWA appears to be gaining ground for the equality of aboriginal women in Ontario.


Ontario Native Women’s Association. (n.d.). Contemporary issues facing aboriginal women in Ontario: An Ontario Native Women’s Association position paper. Thunder Bay, ON: Author.

Ontario Native Women’s Association. (2010, May 27). About us. Retrieved from

Reader’s Digest. (1978). In J. A. Maxwell’s (Ed.), America’s fascinating Indian heritage. Pleasantville, NY: Reader’s Digest Association.

What Would We Do Without Our Natural Resources?

Connecticut has a vast supply of wood and still records the existence of at least 22 operational sawmills (State of Connecticut, 2007). The area produces many different types of wood. The hardwoods produced in Connecticut include red oak, white oak, maple, ash, and birch. The softwoods include red pine, white pine, and hemlock. From the State of Connecticut (2007), “sawmills have played an important part in Connecticut history since the mid 1600’s. Early communities were constructed around working sawmills and their presence assured a steady flow of forest products for use in Connecticut’s homes, farms and businesses” (p. 4).

In addition to the economic benefits, the forests of Connecticut provide important environmental roles, such as the prevention of soil erosion and mitigation of air pollution. “A healthy forest promotes clean air, clean water, and a better-regulated climate” (Flounders, 2006, p. 13). It would be disastrous if Connecticut lost this valuable natural resource, right? Wrong.

According to the Flounders (2006), before the European settlers arrived in Connecticut, the land was a vast forest. The advent and proliferation of farming across the State deforested 75% of the land by 1820. Much of the environmental fall-out caused some of the farms to falter. Industry and the Civil War had even more negative repercussions for the area’s farms.

As an increasing number of farms became abandoned, nature took over (Flounders, 2006). Flounders (2006) describes how ”without human interference, the vegetation of abandoned fields underwent a series of changes” (p. 35) to create Connecticut’s “Second Forest” (p. 35). Ultimately, the original deforestation eventually lead to a forestry boom in the late 1800’s. Currently, Connecticut’s forests “[cover] 1.9 million acres, or 60% of the State” (p. 37).

When dealing with renewable natural resources, the economy is the primary impetus of change. When plentiful, the focus is to utilize the resource. As the resource becomes less available, it becomes more difficult to earn a living producing the resource, and there is more pressure to change occupations. This is purely supply and demand.

In conclusion, the inhabitants of the State of Connecticut relied heavily on the forests before the area was colonized by the European settlers. This colonization required such a use of wood that it resulted in the devastation of all but 25% of the State’s forests. As the wood supply decreased and demand for workers in other professions increased, the land was abandoned and left to a natural course. Forests grew once again, and the land is now well distributed with forests. Though it is not the center of the economy for Connecticut, there remains about two dozen sawmills that continue to produce wood for a variety of purposes. It is important to both consider the ramifications of depleting our natural resources and remember that it might be wise to leave some things to nature.


Flounders, H. T. (2006). Connecticut Statewide forest resource plan. Retrieved from

State of Connecticut, Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Forestry. (2007, June). Connecticut primary processor directory. Retrieved from lib/dep/forestry/forest_practitioner_certification/primaryprocessors.pdf