Essay Sample. Resistance of the Canadian Indigenous people

Published: 2023-04-05
Essay Sample. Resistance of the Canadian Indigenous people
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Discrimination Medicine Community health American history
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1802 words
16 min read

In the past, the healthcare system that we know today had a significant role to play in the colonization of North America (CITE). In recent times (as late as the 1970s), the health care system has benefited from the exploitation of indigenous peoples in many ways. This exploitation took many forms, such as the segregation of indigenous peoples in separate hospitals, the sterilization of indigenous women, and experimental vaccinations that occurred throughout residential schools. These actions caused many severe impacts on indigenous populations that still last until today. These lasting effects include psychological stressors such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and ethnostress, as well as physical health complications such as cancer, diseases (such as Tuberculosis), diabetes, and many others. Despite these adverse healthcare outcomes that came with the act of colonization, indigenous communities are have responded through their culture and finding healing.

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One example of Indigenous resurgence after the effects of colonialism can be seen in their use of land to provide communities with food. Upon colonization, the trade of goods (including food) between indigenous communities came to an almost complete halt. On top of this land that indigenous peoples used for agriculture were lost. In more recent times, and especially in first nation communities that are secluded or in remote areas, food prices at local grocery stores are incredibly high. This causes food insecurity as food is unaffordable in these areas. The indigenous resurgence comes into play in these areas as communities use indigenous knowledge to provide for others in the city (such as elders). Some strategies for this include communal gardens so that there is a more reliable food source in the community. Hunters will also often donate fresh animal meat or fur to the community to provide for those who otherwise could not (such as elders). Food sovereignty in indigenous communities is becoming more and more common. This practice can lead to the decolonization of indigenous people in North America (Daigle, 2017). These acts of resurgence can also be beneficial to native lands surrounding communities and can lead to the protection of essential resources such as food and water on indigenous lands. On top of this, food is a crucial aspect of indigenous identity and culture. With food sovereignty, indigenous people can gain back much of their character. Food is a form of medicine for indigenous people, and in a more spiritual sense, provides people with a connection to the land. The resurgence of food sovereignty in native communities has begun to give back a form of identity and independence from the surrounding, prominent western culture in Canada.

Another example of indigenous research that can be seen across Canada is the resurgence seen specifically in healing and medicine. In the past, colonization has marginalized indigenous medicine and healing while implementing the use of western medicine on indigenous cultures. This marginalized led to the exclusion of indigenous peoples across Canada in the countries modern health care system, which has undoubtedly had negative impacts overall on the health of indigenous individuals (Adelson, 2005). However, using a different point of view, we can see a resurgence in indigenous healing and medicine in communities (Born 2018). Traditional healing, in recent years, has begun to be implemented into the field of medicine, not to compete against western medicine, but to work together with it to better treat those who may be ill. The resurgence of indigenous medicine not only can work hand and hand with today's western medicine but can also lead to further sovereignty in indigenous communities. With the implementation of indigenous healing and medicine into these communities will no longer need to rely on western medicine and a healthcare system that in the past has very much s excluded indigenous people from it, while at the same time eliminating their native methods of healing.

With indigenous healing rising to prominence, it makes communities stronger and more independent from the western healthcare system, which is an essential aspect in the resurgence of indigenous traditions and populations. Indigenous communities, now being more independent of government-run healthcare programs, have seen a lot of progress made in the field of healthcare. Since healthcare has become more tailored to indigenous people, and there is more sovereignty, individuals are now more aware of health issues in the community, increased self-determination, better health-status of indigenous peoples, and more employment opportunities as well. The resurgence of indigenous healthcare has made people more independent and self-determined and is a necessary step to absolute sovereignty in indigenous communities.

Furthermore, indigenous people have started their initiatives in which they provide services to their communities. In 1994 the Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy was introduced, which provided services such as access to aboriginal healthcare centers and shelters, as well as working with communities to better the overall health of indigenous communities (Shpuniarsky, 2019, Health Slide 25). Overall, indigenous people are now working on funding and creating their healthcare systems, which would allow indigenous people to be treated in a hospital specialized for indigenous health and healing and based on their ideas, methodology, and governing system (Shpuniarsky, 2019, Health Slide 29). All of these changes are taking time; indigenous resurgence in the field of healthcare is undoubtedly happening.

Several researchers have had several attempts to tracing the indigenous resistance and resurgence in Canada as well as discussing colonial capitalism as a fact even though not as inevitable. A professor who trains teachers in a university mentions that he has two responsibilities that he serves in teaching. One of the duties is contributing to the training for preparing indigenous teachers to teach in Canadian schools as the main focus of the moment is the resurgence of the natives from residential schools (Neeganagwedgin, 2013). Additionally, on matters about education, the indigenous people in Canada are suffering from low levels of knowledge, which is a transparent image of how these people are treated differently. With such kinds of disparities in a country, resistance is one of the most expected outcomes as the people will tend to stand to fight for what they think is going wrong. Currently, the indigenous people of Canada are still under colonialism as it accounts for several bitter and demoralizing policies, which include the inequalities in education opportunities. In this event, the most pervasive, which is education, is one of the worst legacies that the nation ultimately experiments in the way of assimilation with the residential system of India.

As per the census that was carried out in Canada in the year 2006, approximately 33.65 percent of the people who were identified as the indigenous people of this country did not attain secondary school education (Neeganagwedgin, 2013). This is evident enough that the aboriginal people in the country are denied chances to achieve primary education, which is not a good thing in the current situation where education is becoming an international interest. It, therefore, indicates the level of disparities present, which is an issue that is likely to trigger resistance and resurgence in the nation. The records, according to the 2006 Canadian census, also indicate that about 18 percent of the Canadian population has been able to acquire education, with some of them exceeding the secondary school level (Neeganagwedgin, 2013).

The problem of inadequate and low-quality housing facilities is also a significant problem that the indigenous people face in Canada, which is another issue that is facilitating disparities that are later leading to resistance from the indigenous people (Patrick, 2014). These people suffer from poor living conditions and houses, which makes their life miserable as compared to other citizens in the same country, which paints a rift between these two classes of the people. With such issues happening in a country, resistance is likely to be evident, and this is the case in Canada where the aboriginal citizens are rising against some of these injustices that they face. Inadequate housing and congestion in the few areas available for them put them to risks of contracting diseases, especially the respiratory-related morbidities due to overcrowding (Patrick, 2014). The issue of health among these people is a problem, as seen in the earlier paragraphs of this paper. When they contract such diseases, it becomes difficult for them to acquire the necessary treatment from the hospitals, which puts their lives at risk. Several of them die from these diseases, which are dangerous when left untreated, for instance, Tuberculosis.

In the year 2011, the living conditions among the aboriginal community were able to attract the attention of the media, the nation, and the international community to include the United Nations (Patrick, 2014). The issue was about the inadequate housing facilities that these people were having, noting that they have a right to proper housing. It was, therefore, an indication that these people were neglected and discriminated against, which to them was wrong and attracted their concern and eventually, a reaction. The native citizens were struggling with poor houses and lousy living. Studies indicate that among those living in the first nations, those that were living in the reserves, about 44.2 percent were living in houses that were in need of significant repairs (Patrick, 2014). When compared to the non-native citizens, only 6 percent were living in such conditions. It also paints an image of the difference that was there among the indigenous and the non-indigenous people living in the same country.

The living standards of the native Canadians are also not friendly as some of them do not afford a balanced diet but instead eats whatever they find. Their houses do not meet the standards of being lived by human beings, but for lack of options, these people live in such dwellings, which make their living standards to be reduced (Patrick, 2014). For these reasons, their overall wellbeing is compromised, with some of them contracting diseases related to malnutrition and inadequate housing. As compared to other people who are living in this country, the rift is evident, with several non-indigenous citizens having better living standards. The poor standards of living among the aboriginal communities result from low levels of income, which result from a lack of employment. Among many people who have a stable flow of revenue, they are employed or have their businesses running. With the differences and discrimination among these people, they lack employment as well as capital to start their business hence low income with another group lacking and income completely.

Statistics in Canada indicate that the average income of the indigenous people in the country was approximately 75 percent that of non-native citizens according to studies that were done in the year 2015 (Pendakur, & Pendakur, 2017). The difference in the income is 25 percent, which is a slight improvement from which was previously 27 percent in the year 2005. The statistics continue to pain a significant disparity among the indigenous and non-indigenous residents, which is a bad thing that the aboriginal residents rise against. The rates of unemployment among these citizens are high and are also significant contributors to poor living conditions.

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