We define health broadly and include not only physical and mental health, but also cultural and spiritual health, which are often intertwined. In an effort to begin to touch on cultural health, we focus on a different word in each of our newsletters, giving translations in many different Native languages for each word, and a description of its meaning in one Native culture. For example, in our Fall 2013 newsletter, we focused on the word "fire" and discussed the importance of fire to the Diné or Navajo people. We hope this is just the beginning of our work in the area of cultural health.
We are often asked how we determine who can participate in our projects. Do we use self-report or do we require a person to have a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood or CDIB card? We use self-reported status for all of our work. This question brings up the idea of ethnic identity and what it means to different people to be Native. Rather than trying to answer that question ourselves, we have decided to ask people what they think. We are conducting a large qualitative study asking people from different age groups and different parts of the country what it means to them to be an American Indian or Native American. We are currently recruiting participants for that study.