Sack Lunch Seminar: American Indian health

The most recent installment in the MSU Women’s Center Sack Lunch Seminar series was entitled “Intersections of Indigenous Feminism and Native Women’s Reproductive Healthcare.” Presented by Abby Bandstra, a graduate student in the Native American Studies Department, the presentation was composed of a casual and brief lecture, followed by a lively discussion among those in attendance.


The focus of Bandstra’s presentation revolved around the disconnect that is present within the indigenous population’s cultural traditions and the conventions of western medicine that insurance companies typically rely on. Bandstra stated, “someone might be approaching a reproductive decision from their native traditional culture and [be] living in a dominant western culture.”


Much of Bandstra’s presentation was influenced by research done on what was referred to as “the meeting of two worlds,” a study that believes there is value in seriously considering the cultural influences of Indigenous populations when providing healthcare to them. This is especially pertinent when the Indian Health Services (IHS), which is explicitly concerned with providing healthcare to American Indians and the Alaskan Native Peoples, which Bandstra stated, “is also subject to the general fragmented nature of Indian policy creation and implementation which challenges organization and structure all the time.”


The Women’s Center hosts Sack Lunch Seminars every Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. in SUB room 168. The seminars are free and open to the public.