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eVisions - Aboriginal People


eVisions - Aboriginal People

Vol. 5 | No. 1 | Summer 2008

Online table of contents and PDFs:



Editor's Message
-- Sarah Hamid-Balma
Visions’ editor marvels at all we have learned from this unique issue of Visions. This issue inspired our team to challenge our Western views of mental health and addictions and garner new appreciation for the beautiful and “complex tapestry” of the indigenous view of wellness.






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Cultural Pathways for Decolonization
-- Bill Mussell








{C}{C} {C}The chair and president of the Native Mental Association of Canada outlines the devastating effects colonization has had on Canada’s First Nations people.  Here he shows the steps that need to be taken to decolonize and re-empower Canada’s resilient aboriginal peoples.

Aboriginal Mental Health— The Statistical Reality
-- Saman Khan








{C}{C} {C}There is much discussion these days about the mental health and substance use issues in Canada’s original peoples. So just what do the numbers tell us? You may be surprised.

Charting the Future of Native Mental Health in Canada
--Terry Adler








{C}{C} {C}The Native Mental Health Association has a vision. That vision is to better the mental health of native peoples in Canada based on Indigenous world views. Here they outline their 10 year plan to turn this vision into reality.

Research Summary: Aboriginal Peoples' Experiences of Mental Health and Addictions Care
-- Victoria Smye








The residential school system and other injustices toward aboriginal peoples have set roadblocks for those aboriginal people in need of mental health and addictions services. A recent study by Vancouver Coastal Health shows just how common these roadblocks are and what the system can do to break them down.

Spirit Beads, Resilience and Residential School
-- Madeleine Dion Stout








A board member of the Mental Health Commission of Canada shares a personal story of how a spirit bead is to a baby belt what resilience is to aboriginal people who are battling against the lasting effects of residential schools.


Experiences and Perspectives

Everything is Related—Unemployment, mental health and addiction
--Andy Sibbald








One man shares his insights from working with Inuit communities in Canada’s North during the 1980’s, and explains why the connection between employment, mental health and addiction is still relevant today.

Earl Joe's Story
--Donna Panitow








{C}{C} {C}In an interview, Earl Joe shares the devastating effects of living with bipolar disorder and alcoholism. He explains how mixing his traditional beliefs with western medicine has helped him to help others.

"Cowboy Dave"—Just one story from the Cariboo streets
--Wayne Lucier








{C}{C} {C}With low vacancy rates, increasing rent and discrimination against the unemployed, homelessness in Williams Lake has become more and more common. This is especially true among the regions aboriginal population. One outreach worker shares the story of a man who fell on some hard times and his struggle to get back on his feet.

Banishing the Shame From My Life
--Ron Nunn
A Métis man bravely shares his life-long struggle with bipolar disorder and alcoholism. Now, with the help of his beliefs and western medicine he is banishing shame from his life, and walking proudly toward the light.

Once Upon a Time in the Big City
--Kristine Sinclair








{C}{C} {C}Kristine, always a smart girl, got caught up in the drug scene and dropped out of school. Here is the story of how love saved her – and the man she loves – from the downward spiral into drugs.


Alternatives and Approaches

Harm Reduction and Abstinence—More Alike Than Different?
--Colleen Anne Dell








{C}{C} {C}There has been a lot of debate in the media lately about harm reduction vs. abstinence when it comes to treating problem substance use. An aboriginal addiction specialist challenges us to see how looking at the approaches through an aboriginal lens shows them more alike than different.

Aboriginal Ethics Guide Ethical Research
--Marlene Castellano
Kindness, honesty, sharing and strength. These qualities, so valued by aboriginal peoples, have not always been respected by researchers who study these peoples. The Canadian Institute for Health Research has released a set of guidelines to help make sure these values are respected.

Seeking Health Care at Emergency Departments—Access issues affecting Aboriginal people
--Annette Browne








{C}{C} {C}Fear of rejection by staff at walk in clinics has sent many aboriginal people to emergency departments for non-emergency treatments. Here Annette explains how this can be connected back to residential schools, and what can be done to stop it.

Canada's Indian Residential School System—Historical Trauma and the Aboriginal Healing Foundation
--Wayne Spear








The residential school system has left some deep scars on the people who survived it as well and their descendants. Now the Aboriginal Healing Foundation is working to help heal these wounds.


Regional Programs

Unprecedented Collaboration—Four nations in Northern BC
--Sandra Olson








Suicide is on the rise in aboriginal communities. One northern BC program is acting FAST to provide support and education to communities and families in crisis. Four nations have come together like never before to prevent suicide in their communities.

Surviving the Fall —DVD uses stortelling, to educate about reproductive mental health
--Marie Nightingale








One in 5 women in BC experience depression during pregnancy and/or after the birth of their baby. In a new DVD, five brave aboriginal women share their experiences— using the traditional aboriginal practice of storytelling to teach women about reproductive mental health.

Toward Blending the Best of Two Worlds—The Fraser Region Aboriginal Child and Youth Mental Health Teams
--Janit Doyle and Virge Silveira








The Fraser region has big plans for improving access to child and youth mental health care. Working with aboriginal communities they hope to find the best care by combining traditional aboriginal and western medical approaches.  





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