Health Care Inequities for Aboriginal Women Essay

Health Care Inequities for Aboriginal Women Essay

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Health care inequities for Aboriginal women
There are 1.1 million Aboriginal peoples living in Canada as of 1996 and 408,100 of them are women (Statistics Canada, 2000; Dion Stout et al, 2001). More than half live in urban centres and two thirds of those reside in Western Canada (Hanselmann, 2001). Vancouver is comprised of 28,000 Aboriginal people representing 7% of the population (Joseph, 1999). Of this total population, 70% live in Vancouver’s poorest neighbourhood which is the Downtown Eastside (DTES).
Health care inequities can be elucidated by the research that identifies the social, economic and political ideologies that reflect aspects of cultural safety (Crandon, 1986; O’Neil, 1989 as cited in Browne & Fiske, 2001). There are various factors that affect the mistreatment of aboriginal peoples as they access health care in local health care facilities such as hospitals and clinics. Aboriginal women face many barriers and are discriminated against as a result based on their visible minority status such as race, gender and class (Gerber, 1990; Dion Stout, 1996; Voyageur, 1996 as cited in Browne & Fiske, 2001). A study done on Aboriginal peoples in Northern B.C. showed high rates of unemployment, underemployment and dependency on social welfare monies (Browne & Fiske, 2001). This continued political economic marginalisation of aboriginal peoples widens the gap between the colonizers and the colonized. The existence of racial profiling of aboriginal peoples by “Indian status” often fuels more stigmatization of these people because other Canadians who do not see the benefits of compensations received with having this status often can be resentful in what they may perceive is another compensation to aboriginal peoples. The re...

... middle of paper ... personal encounters with Aboriginal classmates that they might have had in high school. Life experiences, parental upbringing, ethnic roots, social status and education all shape nursing practices. Nurses and other health care professionals are trained in institutions that fail to recognise the socio-political injustices that occur in health care settings. In addition to this, their experiences in their work and in their personal lives and communities, they already have opinions about certain groups of people. “Cultural safety would encourage nurses to question popular notions of culture and cultural differences, to be more aware of the dominant social assumptions that misrepresent certain people and groups, and to reflect critically on the wider social discourses that inevitably influence nurses’ interpretive perspectives and practices” (Browne, 2009, p. 21).

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