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Open Access Turning Around the Intergenerational Impact of Residential Schools on Aboriginal People: Implications for Health Policy and Practice Renverser les effets intergénérationnels des pensionnats sur les populations autochtones: implications pour les orientations et les pratiques en matière de santé

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Abstract:

This paper reports on the first wave of results from a study exploring the views and experiences of community-based stakeholders on improving care for pregnant and parenting Aboriginal people in Canada. The issue of poor access to prenatal care by Aboriginal women and families is viewed through a post-colonial lens within a historical and social location. This case study was guided by participatory research principles. Data were collected through exploratory interviews and small-group discussions. The sample comprised purposively selected community leaders, providers, and community members affiliated with 2 Aboriginal health-care organizations in a mainly rural region. Participants from all 3 stakeholder groups expressed the view that care should be based on an understanding of the priorities and experiences of the pregnant and parenting Aboriginal women and families themselves. Therefore the research question was added to highlight the views and life experiences of Aboriginal parents. "Turning around" the intergenerational impact of residential schools was identified as pivotal to care. The results suggest that pregnancy and parenting must be understood as reflecting both the unique individual and family experiences of Aboriginal people and the intergenerational impact of residential schools as an instrument of collective violence and as a key factor in Aboriginal Canadians' inequitable health status and access to health services.

French
Cet article recense la première vague de résultats issus d'une enquête sur les opinions et les expériences de certains acteurs communautaires travaillant à l'amélioration des soins offerts aux femmes enceintes et aux parents chez les populations autochtones du Canada. La question du manque d'accès aux soins prénatals est traitée ici à la lumière d'une analyse postcolonialiste définissant le contexte histor ique et social. L'étude de cas proposée est fondée sur des principes de recherche participative. Les données ont été recueillies au moyen d'entretiens exploratoires et de discussions en petits groupes. L'échantillon comprend des dirigeants communautaires, des fournisseurs de soins et des membres de la communauté affiliés à deux services de santé autochtones dans une région surtout rurale, tous choisis à dessein. Les participants des trois groupes considèrent que la prestation des soins aux femmes enceintes, aux mères et aux familles autochtones devrait tenir compte des priorités et des expériences de ces dernières. Voilà pourquoi les auteures ont ajouté la question « Quelle importance la grossesse et le parentage revêtent-ils aux yeux des parents autochtones » au questionnaire d'entrevue. Selon les répondants, la prestation des soins doit absolument tenir compte de la nécessité de « renverser » les effets intergénérationnels des pensionnats. Les résultats suggèrent que la grossesse et le parentage doivent être envisagés comme une expérience propre aux personnes et aux familles appartenant aux communautés autochtones. Par ailleurs, il faut traiter les effets intergénérationnels des pensionnats comme un instrument de violence collective et comme un facteur clé pouvant expliquer le traitement inégal que subissent les Autochtones du Canada en matière de santé et d'accès aux services.

Keywords: ABORIGINAL PEOPLE; HEALTH IMPACT; POPULATION HEALTH; PREGNANCY AND PARENTING; RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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  • CJNR is a peer-reviewed, quarterly journal published by the McGill University School of Nursing since 1969. With world-wide circulation, CJNR's primary mandate is to publish original nursing research that develops basic knowledge for the discipline and examines the application of the knowledge in practice. Research related to education and history is also welcomed, as are methodological, theoretical, and review papers that advance nursing science. Letters or commentaries about published articles are encouraged. Learn more.
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