Cultural Competency and Haitian Immigrants

 

Overview continued ... page 2

Purnell's Model

Overview/Heritage:
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Communication
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Family roles & organization
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Workforce issues

Biocultural ecology

High-risk behaviors

Nutrition
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Pregnancy

Death rituals

Spirituality
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Health care practices
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Health care practitioners

References

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History

  • Haiti's history has been plagued with struggle. The nation was discovered by Columbus in 1492. Almost immediately the Spanish set up agricultural settlements using the natives of the island as labor. The numbers of these natives soon began to dwindle due to cruelty and disease. In the mid to early 1500s the Spaniards began to bring over slaves from West Africa to work in their fields. France became interested in the island in the early 1600s and Spain relinquished the western part of the island to French rule in 1697. This French colony, called Saint-Domingue, became one of the richest colonies of the time period.15, 17, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27
  • In 1804 after three decades of slave revolts, Haiti declared independence from France and became the first free black republic in the world.15, 17, 21, 24, 25, 27

  • Despite freeing itself from French rule, Haitian culture divided itself into two classes: the elite and the peasants. The elite consisted of the mulatto and light skinned Haitians, while the peasants were primarily dark skinned. The elite lived in towns, controlled the government, and spoke French while the peasants lived in rural areas, continued in their African traditions, and spoke only Creole. The elite did very little to improve the education and living conditions of the peasants.15, 17, 21, 27, 28

  • In 1915 the Unites States invaded Haiti as a strategic move during World War I, and occupied the nation for almost 25 years. Although the U.S. did improve the conditions of the cities, poverty and illiteracy still predominated. The Americans left in 1934, leaving behind a well-trained military.15, 17, 21, 25, 28
  • After the U.S. left Haiti, the country was in political upheaval until 1957 when Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier was elected and declared himself "President for life". Duvalier created a very powerful and cruel dictatorship. He installed a rural military force known as the tonton makouts who through various acts of torture installed terror into the rural residents. After Duvalier's death in 1971 his son Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier was installed and he continued the reign of terror. In 1985 the Unites States withdrew support of the Duvalier regime, this in combination with peasant revolts resulted in Jean-Claude's downfall in 1986. Even after his departure, the "Duvalierism" continued until 1990 when priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected.17, 21, 24, 25, 28 
  • Aristide was a friend to the peasant. He preached reform and initiated a new economic and political program. But, the long tradition of military violence and wealthy rule still existed and in September 1991 the army staged a coup d'Čtat and Aristide's regime was overthrown.4, 21, 24
  • The next three years were marked by terror and violence. Thousands of people left the country in exile fleeing the tyrannical government. In 1994 Aristide was reinstated with the backing of the United States. Despite the rulers' intentions, Haiti continues to be a nation of extreme rich and starving poor.4, 21, 24, 25

     

    Overview, inhabited localities and topography:

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