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Native Medicine Meets Traditional Practice

UCR's California Center for Native Nations to Present Lecture Monday

"Traditional American Indian Medicine — How Culture Can Heal"

(February 23, 2007)

Native American Medicine Wheel

Native American Medicine Wheel

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — The California Center for Native Nations at UC Riverside invites the public to a lecture at 12 noon Monday, Feb. 26 featuring American Indian health professionals Beverly Patchell, RN, and Wayne Nickens, MD, at UCR's Costo Library, Rivera Library.

The lecture, "Traditional American Indian Medicine — How Culture Can Heal" will focus on the native cultures and how different tribal traditions can help collectively heal.

"Many people in the past have denigrated Native American medicine practices because they are seen as unscientific," said Clifford Trafzer, professor of history and the newly-named director of the California Center for Native Nations. "We want to urge people to think differently about their culture — whatever it is — and to discover the types of healing and prevention their culture has to offer."

Trafzer said the California Center for Native Nations aims to create healthy Native nations in a variety of ways, whether it is through food, medicine, ceremony, song or dance. "My role is to help facilitate healthy people and healthy nations. I want to grow the Center over time so that we're responsive to the needs of Native Americans, and continue to provide them with a link to UCR's resources."

Beverly Sourjohn Patchell, RN, is Cherokee/Creek and practices psychiatric/mental health nursing at the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing. She is Project Director of the American Indian Nursing Student Success Program. Patchell is a member of the Wolf Clan, and has studied and practiced traditional Cherokee and Creek medicine for years, learning from tribal elders.

Wayne Nickens, MD is Pamunkey/Powhatan with more than 30 years of experience as a medical doctor. He is a family physician and teacher of the healing arts, and certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. For the last three decades, he has combined Western and Native American medicines, pioneering holistic models of disease diagnosis and treatment.

Both are members of the Healing Community Project, drawing on their education in Native healing and Western medicine.

Clifford E. Trafzer is a longtime professor of history at UC Riverside. He is the former chair of the department of American Indian Studies at San Diego State University, and for the past eighteen years has served on the California Native American Heritage Commission, appointed by four governors. Of Wyandot and German descent, Trafzer has spent his life working with tribal people. He has published several books and articles, including “Boarding School Blues” with Jean Keller and Lorene Sisquoc as well as “Native Universe” with Gerald McMaster. He is currently completing a book, “Changing Medicine,” that analyzes the intersection of Native and Western medicine among the southern California Indians.

The California Center for the Native Nations (CCNN) is a research center of the University of California, Riverside, in the heart of California Indian country. The Center initiates, facilitates, and executes research by, about, and with American Indian people with a strong focus on California Native Nations. The Center is dedicated to preserving the history, culture, language, and sovereignty of California’s first nations through exemplary research. The Center also serves tribes by connecting them with the expertise found within the University of California to solve research problems unique to Native Nations.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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