Bad medicine : a critique of health care discourse on Aboriginal populations in Canada
Master of Public Health
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For many years, voices from Aboriginal populations living in Canada have called attention to the fact that significant challenges exist to their pursuit of good health and well-being. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, this trend is not unique to the boundaries of Canada, but is instead reproduced in other parts of the world by different indigenous peoples. In Canada, Aboriginal peoples endure poorer health outcomes in a majority of measures when compared with figures for the overall population. In some instances, these differences are profound. Interestingly, these challenges are visible elsewhere in the Canadian context, in other arenas where Aboriginal peoples come into contact with dominant societal institutions. These challenges have been most clearly documented with respect to the entire edifice of justice (for a compelling overview of the relationship between the justice system see, for instance, Ross, 1992, Report of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry, 1991 and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples [RCAP], 1996). There have been no shortage of calls from within the health care establishment to address this situation and efforts have been made to reform curricula and even institutions to the end of rectifying the problem, largely under the guise of the multicultural paradigm Canada so proudly espouses. These efforts have focused on improving relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities through increased tolerance, understanding, and so on.