Health and Disease
Since the beginning of the 20th century, the Aboriginal population began to recover slowly (see NATIVE PEOPLE, DEMOGRAPHY) as infectious diseases became increasingly brought under control. As an indicator of overall health, the infant mortality rate (the number of deaths under 1 year of age per 1000 live births) has steadily declined, although in the early 1990s the registered Aboriginal population rate was still about twice the national average. The decline among the Inuit has been even steeper, although it remains higher than the Aboriginal rate. However, new health problems have emerged. Violence, suicides and accidents, most of them related to alcohol abuse, now account for as much as a third of all deaths. Chronic, noninfectious diseases such as diabetes and heart disease have assumed increasing importance as a result of changes in such lifestyle factors as diet and physical activity.
As medicine was integrated with other aspects of Aboriginal culture and religion (see NATIVE PEOPLE, RELIGION), it also suffered a decline under the acculturating influences of the dominant Euro-Canadian society and its institutions, especially the churches and the government. However, Aboriginal medicine did not disappear and in recent years there are signs of its resurgence. Traditional healers travel far and wide to serve clients in Aboriginal communities, and there is increasing evidence of collaboration between modern Western physicians and traditional Aboriginal healers, especially in the field of mental health.
Health Care Delivery
A rudimentary Aboriginal health service has been in existence since the early 1900s. After the Second World War, health care for Aboriginal people on reserves and all residents of the Northwest Territories was transferred to the Medical Services Branch of the federal health department, with a phenomenal increase in budget, staff and facilities. Over the past two decades the federal government has initiated a process of "transfer of control" to Aboriginal communities and regional organizations and health care has become an integral aspect of Aboriginal self-determination.
Author T. KUE YOUNG
Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, The Path to Healing: Report of the National Round Table on Aboriginal Health and Social Issues (1993); T. Kue Young, The Health of Native Americans: Toward a Biocultural Epidemiology (1994); Jame B. Waldram, D. Ann Herring and T. Kue Young, Aboriginal Health in Canada: Historical, Cultural, and Epidemiological Perspectives (1995).
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge
The website for the Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge, which features Canada's largest essay writing competition for Aboriginal youth (ages 14-29) and a companion program for those who prefer to work through painting, drawing and photography. See their guidelines, teacher resources, profiles of winners, and more. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Canada
An authoritative information source about Type I and Type II diabetes. Check out the excellent dietary tips and other recommendations for a healthy lifestyle. Also features a history of diabetes research and a summary of the latest research initiatives.
Aboriginal Canada Portal
The Aboriginal Canada Portal provides First Nations, Métis, and Inuit online resources and information about related government programs and services. A Government of Canada website.
Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples
The website for the "Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples." Click on the links for feature articles about Canada's many multicultural communities, access to their extensive digital archives collection, learning modules, and much more. From "Multicultural Canada."
Canadian Journal of Rural Medicine
The official journal of the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada. Provides full text academic articles about rural health issues.
Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research
A great resource for academic information about rural health issues in Canada. From Laurentian University.
Centre for Indigenous Peoples' Nutrition and Environment
This interdisciplinary research program at McGill University probes the nutritional and cultural values of traditional food sources and diets.
Four Directions Teachings
Elders and traditional teachers representing the Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk, and Mi’kmaq share teachings about their history and culture. Animated graphics visualize each of the oral teachings. This website also provides biographies of participants, transcripts, and an extensive array of learning resources for students and their teachers. In English with French subtitles.
This website offers links to various CBC programs and features concerning Canada's aboriginal communities.
English: Contemporary Aboriginal Voices
Learning activities in which students analyse the relationships depicted by Aboriginal writers, with specific reference to cultural, spiritual, and societal interaction. From the website for Curriculum Services Canada.
National Association of Friendship Centres
The website for the National Association of Friendship Centres. Features profiles of Friendship Centre pioneers and information about various services designed for Aboriginal communities, including cultural programs, education and training, employment counselling, health programs, children and youth programs, recreation programs, and more.
Canadian Pharmacists Association Survey Reveals Drug Shortages a Serious Concern
A summary of a report that examines the impact of drug shortages on Canadian health care. Click on the link to access the full report. From the Canadian Pharmacists Association.
The trials of Nunavut: Lament for an Arctic nation
This feature probes pressing social, economic, and cultural challenges currently facing Nunavut communities and their residents. From theglobeandmail.com website.
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...