Health and Health Care Problems Among the Kumiai of San Antonio Necua and Their Indigenous Relatives in Baja California
Reflections of Poverty, Marginality, and a History of Colonization
The rural Kumiai community of San Antonio Necua is one of the few remaining indigenous communities in Baja California, Mexico. Necuan health and health care problems are best understood through a consideration of the effects of colonialism and marginalization on indigenous groups in northern Baja California as well as a tradition of medical pluralism in Mexico. The lack of traditional healers and biomedical providers in the community, high rates of preventable or manageable illnesses, and a blend of biomedical, folk mestizo, and traditional indigenous beliefs about health and illness reflect current conditions of rural poverty and economic isolation. Descriptions of health and health care problems are based on ethnographic fieldwork among the Kumiai, their Paipai relatives, and their primary nongovernmental aid organization.