Numerous studies, inquiries, and statistics accumulated over the years have demonstrated the poor health status of Aboriginal peoples relative to the Canadian population in general. Aboriginal Health in Canada is about the complex web of physiological, psychological, spiritual, historical, sociological, cultural, economic, and environmental factors that contribute to health and disease patterns among the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. The authors explore the evidence for changes in patterns of health and disease prior to and since European contact, up to the present. They discuss medical systems and the place of medicine within various Aboriginal cultures and trace the relationship between politics and the organization of health services for Aboriginal people. They also examine popular explanations for Aboriginal health patterns today, and emphasize the need to understand both the historical-cultural context of health issues, as well as the circumstances that give rise to variation in health problems and healing strategies in Aboriginal communities across the country. An overview of Aboriginal peoples in Canada provides a very general background for the non-specialist.
Finally, contemporary Aboriginal healing traditions, the issue of self-determination and health care, and current trends in Aboriginal health issues are examined.
James B. Waldram is a medical anthropologist at the University of Saskatchewan. He is the author of many articles and books, including Aboriginal Health in Canada: Historical, Cultural and Epidemiological Perspectives, with D. Ann Herring and T. Kue Young, 1995. D. Ann Herring is an associate professor, Department of Anthropology, McMaster University. T. Kue Young is the TransCanada Chair in Aboriginal Health in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.
LIST OF FIGURES PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION * An overview of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada * Health and disease prior to European contact * Contact and disease * Aboriginal peoples and the health transition * Medical traditions in Aboriginal cultures * Traders, whalers, missionaries, and medical aid * The emergence of government health services * The organization and utilization of contemporary health services * Aboriginal healing in the contemporary context * Self-determination and health care * Conclusion NOTES REFERENCES CITED INDEX