Aboriginal People of Canada Essay

Aboriginal People of Canada Essay

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Aboriginal people represent less than 3% of the total population in BC. Yet, they account for more than 9% of all suicides in BC (Chandler). The numbers of suicides amongst aboriginal youth are even more alarming – nearly one-fourth of all youth suicides in BC are committed by aboriginals and more than half of all aboriginal suicides are committed by youth (Chandler). The fact that indigenous communities in Canada have the highest rate of suicide of any culturally identifiable group in the world implies that these alarming statistics may not solely be a result of aboriginal communities belonging to a minority cultural group. I will attempt to build a speculative hypothesis behind the significantly high suicide rates amongst aboriginal youth in Canada. I will do so by turning to three factors that I think are most important amongst the several factors that may be coming together and playing a role in the high vulnerability to suicide amongst aboriginal youth. I believe this is important because the more accurately we identify causal factors that may be responsible for aboriginal suicide, the more specific suicide prevention programs can be made. This pool of factors must include those that are common to all suicidal behaviour, those that are responsible for suicidal behaviour in marginalized communities and those that might be specific to the history and context of aboriginals in Canada. In this commentary I have chosen one factor from each of these three pools of factors – one, the interpersonal-psychological theory to explain suicide in general; two, loss of self-identity, which could be a leading cause for aboriginal suicide worldwide; and three, the impact of residential schools on the psychological makeup of aboriginals of Ca...


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...l these communities by providing material, social and emotional support to them.



Works Cited


Bechtold, D. W. "Indian Adolescent Suicide: Clinical and Developmental Considerations." Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research: Journal of the National Center Monograph 4 (1994): 71-80. Print.
Chandler, Michael. "Self & Cultural Continuity as a hedge against youth suicide." university of british columbia, 7 february (2012).presentation.
Kirmayer, Laurence, et al. "Suicide Among Aboriginal People in Canada". Ottawa: Aboriginal Healing Foundation, (2007).
Joiner, T. E. “Why people die by suicide. Cambridge.” MA: Harvard University Press (2005).
Joiner, Thomas E. et al. “Main Predictions of the Interpersonal-Psychological Theory of Suicidal Behavior: Empirical Tests in Two Samples of Young Adults.” Journal of abnormal psychology 118.3 (2009): 634–646.

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