NLM healing totem journey – Seattle blessing

Seattle Center (September 13, 2011) – The healing totem brought us good fortune today as impending rain stayed away and more than 100 persons were treated to diverse presentations about its symbolic importance.

Ralph Forquera, the executive director of the Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB) underscored that health was an ideal theme for diverse Native populations to work together and celebrate tribal wisdom. Forquera’s clinic specializes in blending traditional healing and Western medicine and faces a constant challenge to treat patients from hundreds of different tribes. He thanked NLM for recognizing the work of urban Native American clinics and challenged other tribes to create a renewed understanding of their health contributions, opportunities and challenges.

     Kauila Clark and Ted Mala M.D. conduct one of the blessings in Seattle

(Photo: courtesy Kathy Cravedi) 

Forquera added he was pleased that NLM’s emphasis in creating the materials that will be the core of the exhibition was to enable Native health leaders to speak for themselves. Forquera and several other of the eleven speakers at the 90 minute blessing reinforced remarks by NLM’s Director Donald A.B. Lindberg M.D. that the exhibition celebrates Native self-expression regarding health related issues.

Forquera also was lauded in a letter from U.S. Congressmen Jim McDermott (D-Washington) who thanked SIHB’s local efforts, and noted that NLM”s Native Voices exhibition added to the credibility of Native health and healing efforts.

Rep. McDermott said he looked forward to attending the Native Voices: Native People’s Concepts of Health and Illness exhibition – and we look forward to seeing him (and you!) after Oct. 6.

Rob Logan



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