Tarahumara Victim of Mental Health System


Rita Quintero, a Tarahumara woman who was found in Kansas, was adjudged dangerous to herself or others and put in a mental hospital in 1983. She remained there until 1995, although she was never even seen by anyone who spoke Raramari until about 1993. Her mental health was always judged as if she were a member of a European culture (spanish-based culture rather than English-based). The possibility Tarahumara culture included different values, which would seem unusual to Anglo culture, was not considered.

I am one of the attorneys who have filed suit for Rita against many of the health professionals who we believe violated Rita's rights by keeping her institutionalized all those years. We have been able to get Rita out of the hospital and back to the State of Chihuahua, where she is hopefully becoming reintegrated into her own world.

We are interested in finding mental health professionals, social workers and other professionals who could help us establish the standard of care in dealing with Native Americans who have not been swallowed by Euro-American culture. Best would be people who are able to speak Raramari.

This is going to be a long struggle to try to help Rita and other persons who become trapped in the mental health system. We will need all the help we can get. I know that funds appeals are not appropriate here, but we also are going to need some people who have experience in fund raising who can help us get something started to help Rita financially as well as to defray the legal costs involved in pursuing her suit.

Five articles which have appeared in the Kansas City Star are now available at:

Aged Indian woman to return home soon
Group sues over Indian woman's treatment at hospital
Mexican woman has been in a Kansas mental hospital for 12 years
Rita Quintero's plight prompts journey to hospital
Rita Quintero returns to Mexico

Posted: August 20, 1998


For more information, please write to:

Dwight A. Corrin

P O Box 47828
Wichita KS 67201-7828

Tel: 316/ 263-9706
Fax: 316/ 263-6385


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