I have the greatest privilege of being associated with Native cultures of many continents.. thus satisfying my curiosity and desire to travel and the chance to help them with my medical expertise. these notes are from those travels. I am a professor at the University of Havana
samedi 16 juin 2012
Queridos Hermanos de Puerto Rico .. en Pine Ridge..Dakota del Sur
Borinquen de mi amor!
Yo soy hijo de
Y eso nadie va a cambiar
Y el día que yo me muera
En ti quiero descansar
Yo te adoro Puerto Rico!
Y eso nadie me lo va a quitar
A great pleasure of visiting Pine Ridge Reservation of the Oglala was the fact that there are a few Puerto Rican professionals working at the Clinic and the Hospital.
I had just left Cuba only about a week earlier and to speak in Spanish to citizens of our sister island was an unexpected pleasure indeed...
The similarities between these two islands are numerous, both were colonized by the Spanish and ruled by them for nearly 400 years. The geography is very similar, mountainous surrounded by tempestuous seas. The way the spanish language is spoken is also similar. There has been an enormous cultural exchange between the two islands, for example in the Music of either island..
Even the flags are similar, with a slight change in the colour of the triangle in the flag..
So the Indians, Lakota, had brought together, a Jewish Endocrinologist from Australia who calls La Habana and Paris, his home ... speaking in Spanish to a group of doctors and nurses descended from the soil of Puerto Rico, our sister Island in the Caribbean in the language common to both of us..
The presentation was about the history of Diabetes among the Lakota and at the end of the presentation I projected a video of the song, Lamento Borincano..
This is one of the best known songs in the Americas, and I cant imagine any cuban in the island not knowing this song.
As various scenes depicting history and every day life in Puerto Rico known before the conquest as Borinquen, all of us began humming and one of the doctors was singing the lyrics..
I said to myself: there is no need to talk about Cultural Sensitivity to these people, they come equipped with it, so it is a good fit for the Indian people who find it hard to work with culturally insensitive European-origin people who may be living in the same geographic zone.. Coming from a Colony of the United States, being sensitive to the thoughts of colonized people of which Indians are one, is a good cultural congruity which will benefit the Indians.
While working with the Indians in remote parts of this country, I have met very interesting people. On this visit alone, I met a doctor who is certified to run a Bariatric chamber who is also a motorcycle enthusiast. A calm Jesuit from whom I could learn meditation! An Indian who grew up in Denver who manages a Coffee shop .. and the coffee is so good that I found drinking coffee in Sioux Falls after that a chore! a Dentist from Hawaii! and many more..
You always expect to run into unusual Indians, one such was the Grandson of Chief Red Cloud..
Namibia was introduced by a social work student whom I met in another reservation!
After meeting my colleagues from Borinquen I am fired to visit the island, which I have visited only twice.