Indigenous Development In Canada: Indigenous Knowledge Systems And Their Inherent Connection To The Health And Wellbeing Of Indigenous Peoples

1886 words - 8 pages

Before we analyse the data of the health indicators and data in Aboriginal communities, we must recognise the sheer diversity of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada - who are so dispersed across the nation. This this severely limits our interpretation of data on Aboriginal communities as, there is little data on Aboriginal people who do not live on Aboriginal reservations in Canada (Cardwell and Wilson: 2005). Furthermore, the data that is often used in empirical studies of indigenous communities often condense complex data – making it exceptionally difficult to paint an accurate picture of disparities in the Aboriginal population of Canada. Health disparities are the indicators of a ...view middle of the document...

While looking at data is an important part of analysis, it is difficult to accurately analyse the geographic profile within and between the Aboriginal peoples in Canada – as there are many gaps in the statistics (Cardwell and Wilson: 2012). Most data collected on the Aboriginal populations in Canada is largely restricted to people who live on reserve areas – which are also severely limited in coverage and scope (Cardwell and Wilson, 2012: 100). Therefore, the urban aboriginal population is largely not accounted for. This is a small impediment to analysing human development indicators between and within Aboriginal communities which is in part owed to its vast diversity.

Health, education and wellbeing make up the three pillars of human development.
Although these are very important, it should be understood that culture is also an integral part of Indigenous health and wellbeing. Contemporary approaches to health and wellbeing of people place a significant emphasis on a broad range of factors such as age, gender, income and education. Some studies have shown that Indigenous people who live in urban centres still maintain their use of traditional healing practises, as a supplementary use towards modern healthcare such as doctors. This runs deeper, as studies show that urban aboriginal women face racism and discrimination in the modern healthcare system.
‘Violence in the colonies does not only have for its aim the keeping of these enslaved men at arms length; it seeks to dehumanize them. Everything will be done to wipe away their traditions, to substitute our language for theirs and to destroy their culture without giving them ours.’ (Sartre in Fanon, 1961: 4)

It is well known that indigenous people have ‘a strong desire for culturally appropriate and traditional approaches to healing’ (Cardwell and Wilson, 2012: 100). This is an increasingly pressing issue, as demographically the Aboriginal population in Canada is growing faster than the non-Aboriginal population. This is due to the combination of higher fertility and shorter life expectancy, leading to a much more youthful Aboriginal population (TD: 2013). This makes the health, education and wellbeing of the Indigenous population very important to the development of Canada as a whole. To do this, we ensure the needs of Aboriginal people are met. So, the fact that Indigenous perspectives often go unconsidered in healthcare provisions entirely, illustrate a form of racial and cultural bias where the health of Aboriginal women and children is inherently jeopardized. This is further entrenched when one considers the lower levels of education of Indigenous youth are facing, as they are now the future of Canadian society. I think that education and health inequalities are very important to improve the development of indigenous communities.
Furthermore, this issue is intergenerational because lower levels of education and worse healthcare and the lack of traditional ecological knowledge in...

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