Objectives To provide a brief overview of: • Population profiles and health determinants for Canada’s Aboriginal people • what culture is and how it impacts perception, behaviour, values; • culture shock and cross-cultural adaptation • to understand where false assumptions stem from so as to overcome biases and prejudice; • impact of culture on health • understanding value differences across cultures • Major historical impacts on health and wellness of Aboriginal people • Aboriginal cultural philosophy on health, wellness and spirituality
Ontario Aboriginal Health Advocacy Initiative • In 1999, OAHAI was launched as a specialized project of the Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy • OAHAI was developed to address issues and concerns with regard to the equitable access to quality health services for Aboriginal, First Nations’ and Métis people throughout the province of Ontario.
Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy • The Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy is a policy and service initiative that brings together Aboriginal people and the government of Ontario in a unique partnership to promote health and healing among Aboriginal people. • In 1990, Aboriginal organizations and the government ministries that developed this Strategy expressed a commitment to combat the alarming conditions of poor health and family violence that Aboriginal people in Ontario have endured. • Policy and service initiatives include a unique partnership with Ministry of Community and Social Services, Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, Ontario Native Affairs Secretariat and the Ontario Women’s Directorate
Population Profiles Before discussing the health and wellness of Aboriginal people in Canada, we must gain a better understanding of their significance by examining the population profile, which demonstrates that the composition of Aboriginal peoples in Canada is growing and changing.
Population Profiles Historically, there are 5 main cultural groups living in Ontario: • Cree • Anishnawbe (Ojibway, Pottawani, Chippewas, Odawa, Algonquin, Mississauga) • Haudensaunee, Iroquois, "People of the Long House"Six Nations, (Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Tuscarora, Seneca) • Métis • Inuit
First Nations within Canada 614 Bands 608 Nations 60 Languages Approx 20% speak language
Population Profiles • In 2006, First Nations, Métis and Inuit people of Aboriginal ancestry, surpassed the one million mark reaching 1,172, 790. • In the past decade the Aboriginal population grew by 45%, nearly 6 times faster than the 8% increase of the non-aboriginal population(Statistics Canada, 2006)
Population Profiles • 698,025 First Nations • 389,785 Métis • 59,485 Inuit (Statistics Canada, 2006)
Population Profiles Ontario is seeing a marked increase in off-reserve Aboriginal peoples. • In 2006, the number Aboriginal people living in Ontario was 242,495 • The majority live (78%) off reserve in the province (Statistics Canada, 2001). • There is 26,575 Aboriginal people living in Toronto
Population Profiles • The Aboriginal population is much younger than the rest of the country. • 48% of the Aboriginal population consists of children and youth aged 24 and younger (Statistics Canada, 2006).
CULTURE? • What is it?
Linear Thinking To continue to look at something from one point of view .
Culture has been called "the way of life for an entire society." As such, it includes codes of manners, dress, language, religion, rituals, norms of behavior such as law and morality, and systems of belief.(1) (1) Jary, D. and J. Jary. 1991. The HarperCollins Dictionary of Sociology. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-271543-7
CULTURE • Culture is also a vehicle for understanding the world and one's place in it. • Increasing cross-cultural awareness will help reduce the possibility of miscommunication, embarrassment or offending the people/person with whom you are trying to build a relationship.
CULTURAL DIFFERENCES Periods of silence during conversation, which can be unsettling. May tend to be less open during a brief encounter than is often customary. Social norms: eye contact, touching, seating arrangements, initiating or ending conversations may differ from what you have come to expect.
"The culture, values and traditions of native people amount to more than crafts and carvings. Their respect for the wisdom of their elders, their concept of family responsibilities extending beyond the nuclear family to embrace a whole village, their respect for the environment, their willingness to share - all of these values persist within their own culture even though they have been under unremitting pressure to abandon them.“Mr. Justice Thomas Berger, Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry (AKA Burger Inquiry
CROSS-CULTURAL ADAPTATION • Don't assume that you know everything about what is happening around you. Listen and observe carefully, paying special attention to nonverbal clues that give insight into the process of cross-cultural communication.
CROSS-CULTURAL ADAPTATION • A natural tendency to immediately attach a good or bad label to all you observe or experience can be a major stumbling block to understanding and participating in a new culture. Observe and describe, but accept others on their integrity before evaluating.
CROSS-CULTURAL ADAPTATION • Put yourself in the other person's place and look at the situation from his/her perspective. This is especially important when cultural differences are involved in the situation. Recognize that your anxiety is natural.
CROSS-CULTURAL ADAPTATION • Become involved. Show your willingness to learn. • Seek out opportunities to share yourself and your background with your hosts whenever possible. • Try new things (such as foods) and experiences (such as traditional dances), you can become more actively involved in host community life.
What are Health Determinants? The Public Health Agency of Canada, states that Health determinants are the: PHYSICAL, BIOLOGICAL, SOCIAL, CULTURAL and BEHAVIORAL factors that influence health.
Aboriginal Health Determinants • For Aboriginal people these include: history, housing, nutrition, education, culture, languages, family violence, poverty, employment, racism, indifference, stereotypes etc. • Current Aboriginal health outcomes are impacted by a number of these determinants which intersect and influence one another
Health Determinants - History Most importantly, HISTORY provides a vital context for understanding the poor health and social outcomes many Aboriginal people suffer from today
Health Determinants - History Major historical events impacting the health, wellness and spirituality are: • EUROPEAN CONTACT • THE INDIAN ACT OF 1876 • THE INDIAN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL LEGACY • SYSTEM • FORCED STERILIZATON • THE 60’S SCOOP • INDIAN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL RESOLUTION
History of Aboriginal People Most non-Aboriginal Canadians know little about the history of Aboriginal peoples. They may therefore, “blame the victim” and see poor social and economic conditions for Aboriginal people as their own fault.
Major Historical Events Impacting the Health, Wellness and Spirituality of Aboriginal People in Canada THE INDIAN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SYSTEM 1876-1996 FIRST EUROPEAN CONTACT 1492 STRUGGLE TO MAINTAIN IDENTITY THE 60’S SCOOP 1960-1980 Royal Proclamation Of 1793 THE INDIAN ACT 1867 FORCED STERILIZATION 1960 INDIAN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS RESOLUTION
State of Health Prior to European Contact – Pre-1492 • Aboriginal people enjoyed relatively good health • Historical accounts indicate that they were able to control disease and enjoyed high levels of physical and mental health
State of Health Prior to European Contact • When the Europeans arrived, Aboriginal nations had well established alliances and confederacies • Aboriginal industries were fishing, hunting and agriculture • As well the land and all it provided was the conduit for cultural expression
Royal Proclamation of 1793 In fact, the Royal Proclamation of 1793 recognized the autonomy and independence of Aboriginal Nations. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued by King George III to establish a basis of government administration in the N American territories formally ceded by France to Britain in the Treaty of PARIS, 1763, following the SEVEN YEARS' WAR. It established the constitutional framework for the negotiation of Indian treaties with the aboriginal inhabitants of large sections of Canada. As such, it has been labeled an "Indian Magna Carta" or an "Indian Bill of Rights.
Europeans Brought Much Change to the Inhabitants of North America • Establishment of nation to nation treaties • Ship to shore trading • Aboriginal people provided skills and intelligence for the booming fur trade • Aboriginal people became allies when Europeans went to war
Europeans Brought Much Change to the Inhabitants of North America • However over time the Europeans began to see treaties as “real-estate transactions” to legitimize expropriation of land • Europeans were breaching their original agreements with Aboriginal people • As well land was often taken through various means of deception including; influencing Aboriginals with alcohol
Over Time….. • Trading posts: nucleus for disease outbreaks; • Ecological balance disrupted due to over hunting and fishing; • Increased dependence on European goods and food; • Access to alcohol
Over Time….. • Aboriginal groups competed with one another for access to European trading routes; • Decline of the fur trade negatively impacted Aboriginal economies ; • Access to European weapons interfered with Aboriginal social and political order;
Struggle to Maintain Identity • In the 19th century government policy changed from government to government relations with Aboriginal nations to COLONIAL DOMINANCE • The new Dominion of Canada no longer needed Aboriginal people as allies in war
Struggle to Maintain Identity • The new Dominion needed more land for the new settlers • The decline of the fur trade meant that Aboriginal skills were no longer needed • Assimilation became the new goal of the Dominion which created legislation and policies to that end, even outlawing traditional ceremonies
The Indian Act of 1876 • Legislation designed to facilitate the assimilation of Aboriginal people into colonists’ white European culture • Turned Aboriginal people into wards of the state; created reserves where Indians were to live; ignored previously signed treaties and hired Indian Agents to enforce the new legislation
The Indian Act of 1876 • The intent of the Indian Act is best summed up in the words of Duncan Campbell Scott, Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs from 1913 to 1932: “I want to get rid of the Indian Problem….Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic and there is no Indian question and no Indian department” (Scott, 1920)
The Indian Act of 1876 The Indian Act also spelled out conditions for being an “Indian Woman” For example: Any woman that married an Aboriginal man could be considered an Indian and could be allowed to live and even be buried on a reserve she also gained “Indian Status”. However, any Aboriginal woman who married a white, European male was now considered to be a bona fide member of Canadian society. She and their children lost her Indian status.
The Indian Act of 1876 • Aboriginal people required an Indian Agent’s consent to leave the reserve; doing so without permission could result in serving prison time; • Displacement of traditional forms of governance by federally imposed “Band Systems”; • Aboriginal people had to give up their “Status” in order to vote, own property, or serve in the military (1960)
Residential School System • Was the result of a federal government policy and culminated in a formal partnership between the Roman Catholic, United, Anglican and other churches; • The federally funded and church administered schools were developed to annihilate “Indian” identity and to further assimilate Aboriginal children in to the broader Canadian society; • Many children were forcibly removed from their families and were placed in residential schools often located in remote areas far from any reserve;
Residential School System • Many children were subjected to continuous physical, sexual, mental, cultural, and spiritual abuse; • Many who weren’t direct victims of the abuse suffer from the effects of intergenerational trauma
Residential School System – MULTIGENERATIONAL IMPACTS The residential school “Legacy” has had major impacts in two key areas: • Damage to cultural identity: including loss of language, traditions and connections to family and community • 2.Damage to the individual: resulting in depression, poor self-esteem, shame, rage, mistrust, marginalization, isolation and engagement in negative coping patterns, including substance abuse, violence and other high risk behaviour.
Residential School System – Multigenerational Impacts • Cultural strengths such as the extended-family support system were weakened or destroyed thereby reducing their effectiveness in addressing the problems arising from the residential school experience; • Thus not only did Survivors experience trauma during their educational training, but these traumas have been multi-generational and extended to family members and friends;
Map of Indian Residential Schools in Canada (Information compiled from the Aboriginal Healing Foundation's"Directory of Residential Schools In Canada")
Residential School System Indian Residential Schools operated in Canada from 1874 -1996
The last residential school closed in 1996, (Gordon Residential School, Saskatchewan). For more than one hundred years, we have lived under the influence of an education system which has not been our own.