Health and Health Policy

Current Projects

Reclaiming Indigenous Health


Indigenous communities’ unique historic, social, and political experiences yield distinctive social determinants of health such as self-determination; colonization; migration; globalization; cultural continuity and attachment; relationship with traditional lands; social support, capital, and cohesion; racism and social exclusion; and justice systems. These factors, too often omitted in mainstream social determinants of health models, have been shown to affect Indigenous health outcomes. Yet while identifying these other such factors is an important agenda item in improving our understanding of indigenous health, realizing healthy, sustainable Indigenous communities requires a broader overhaul of assumptions and frameworks. Historically, mainstream policy-makers and practitioners have ignored Indigenous epistemologies and traditional practices as ways to understand Indigenous health, wellness, and wellbeing. This work examines several assumptions within the WHO social determinants of health framework that are inappropriate for Indigenous communities; presents ways that Indigenous epistemologies and traditional practices influence conceptions of health, well-being, and wellness; and argues for a re-imagining of what strengthens Indigenous health and well-being in Native communities.

Poster: Reimagining Indigenous Health: Moving Beyond the Social Determinants of Health, 6/2015

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