Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Renee Mabey


Cultural Characteristics; Indians, North American


For a physical therapist in the state of North Dakota, it is important to be knowledgeable about the Native American cultures in order to provide the best possible health care. A knowledge of the patient's culture is essential to enhance communication which will help the therapist identify the patient's needs and form a plan of care. Enhanced communication also establishes the physical therapist's credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of the patient.

The purpose of this paper is to orient the physical therapist to some shared aspects of Native American cultures and to provide information to facilitate effective communication between the physical therapist and Native American patient. Upcoming chapters discuss aspects of Native American culture including family, beliefs related to health and illness, communication, secondary health problems as well as how these relate to the practice of physical therapy.