It's easy to think that Native Americans or other under-served populations have access to free health care and are therefore in good health. Sadly that's not the case.
We serve the American Indian and Alaskan Native urban population that resulted largely from the relocation policies of the federal government in the 1950s, policies designed to remove Native Americans from the reservation and relocate them in the major U.S. urban areas. The result was that about 65% of American Indians became dislocated; families were broken up, communities destroyed. Consequently, today many are unemployed, living in poverty and at significant health risk with abnormally high incidences of heart disease, diabetes, depression, alcohol and drug addiction, and suicide.
Urban American Indians/Alaska Natives, often described as an "invisible" population, account for over half of the entire Native American population. National census data show an increasing trend in both the proportion and number of urban AI/ANs, rising to 67% (2,774,716) in 2000. AIHFS is one of 34 urban clinics across the nation funded by the Indian Health Service (IHS). These clinics are sorely under-funded, as reported by the National Council of Urban Indian Health. Although over half of all American Indians/Alaska Natives live in urban areas, the allocation by IHS to the urban clinics is less than 2% of total IHS funding. Our catchment area includes a seven county area in southeast Michigan (Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, Washtenaw, St. Clair, Monroe) where according to census reports, over 45,000 Native people reside.
American Indian Health and Family Services was first established in 1986 as the Detroit American Indian Health Center on Livernois Avenue in the City of Detroit. In 1993, the center was a victim of an arson attack. Fortunately the Archdiocese of Detroit donated a church and rectory to AIHFS. With generous funds from HUD, the City of Detroit and other philanthropic gifts, we were able to convert the facility into a health center for behavioral and primary care, administrative offices, a community Kitchen and a social hall. The clinic is now located in Southwest Detroit on Lawndale. We give comprehensive, culturally integrated, health care in the areas of medical care, dental care, mental health, alcohol, tobacco, and drug abuse. We also offer programs that support the healing process with education and outreach. We encourage, educate and empower our clients as they seek and maintain wellness to enhance the quality of their lives. We provide a comprehensive program in a culturally competent environment.
Only with your support can AIHFS continue to try to meet the physical, spiritual, emotional and mental well being needs of Native American families and other underserved populations in Southeastern Michigan. Additionally, as a 501(c)(3) your generous support is tax-deductable. Won't you make a donation today to help us get closer to meeting these needs?
To donate by check or money order, please send payable to:
American Indian Health & Family Services of Southeastern MI, Inc.
P.O. Box 810
Dearborn, MI. 48121-0810
Or, to make an online donation using Authorize.Net®†,