Check out this article I wrote while I was a resident in my Masters degree and completing an internship at the Rehabilitation Centre.
According to the 2011 National Household Survey, Aboriginal people comprised of 4.3% of the Canadian population. Furthermore, Canada’s Aboriginal population is the fastest growing in our country, increasing by 20.1% from 2006 to 2011. That is nearly four times the growth rate of non-Aboriginal populations during the same period of time, which was 5.2%. However, for such a large and rapidly expanding community, very few strides are being made in our healthcare system to accommodate the distinct needs of these communities.
The Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study (UAPS) found that 43% of aboriginal individuals they surveyed reported poor treatment as a result of racism and discrimination, and 18% reported negative experiences of discrimination or racism causing shame, lower self-esteem/self-confidence, or the masking of their aboriginal identity. A similar study by AANDC reported that 42% of aboriginal individuals surveyed experienced racism in the past two years, 74% of which was enacted by non-Aboriginal people. A separate survey by OHC First Nations Hamilton found that 1 in 5 participants believed that racism affected their health and wellbeing. Understanding the impact of historic trauma in the lives of aboriginal people is necessary in order to improve health care access as well as service delivery and quality.