Deviant Constructions: How Governments Preserve Colonial Narratives of Addictions and Poor Mental Health to Intervene into the Lives of Indigenous Children and Families in Canada
- 5k Downloads
Colonial projects in Canada have a long history of violently intervening into the personal lives and social structures of Indigenous peoples. These interventions are associated with elevated rates of addictions and mental health issues among Indigenous peoples. In this paper we employ an indigenized social determinants approach to mental health and addictions that accounts for the multiple, intersecting effects of colonial discourse upon the health of Indigenous peoples, and particularly the health effects of colonial interventions into the lives of First Nations Indigenous children in Canada. We focus on both historic and contemporary discourses about Indigenous peoples as deviant, discourses that include particular ideas and assumptions held by government officials about Indigenous peoples, the series of policies, practices, and institutional structures developed to ‘address’ Indigenous deviance over time (including contemporary child protections systems), and their direct impact upon healthy child development and overall Indigenous health. From a discursive perspective, addictions and mental health issues among Indigenous peoples can be accounted for in relation to the ideas, policies, and practices that identify and aim to address these issues, something that the social determinants literature has yet to incorporate into its model.
KeywordsIndigenous peoples Discourse Colonialism Child intervention and protection Social determinants of health
Our thanks to Alice Muirhe for her invaluable assistance.
- Adelson, N. (2005). The embodiment of inequalities: health disparities in aboriginal Canada. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 96, 45–61.Google Scholar
- Allard, Y. E., Wilkins, R., & Berthelot, J.-M. (2004). Premature mortality in health regions with high aboriginal populations. Health Reporter, 15, 51–60.Google Scholar
- Anderson, L. M., Shinn, C., & St.Charles, J. (2002). Community interventions to promote health social environments: early childhood and family housing—a report on recommendations of the task force on community prevention services. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 51, 1–8.Google Scholar
- Bennett, M., Blackstock, C., & De La Ronde, R. (2005). A literature review and annotated bibliography on aspects of Aboriginal child welfare in Canada (2nd ed.). Ottawa, ON: First Nations Research Site of the Centre of Excellence for Child Welfare and The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada. Retrieved February 10, 2006 from http://www.fncaringsociety.com/docs/AboriginalCWLitReview_2ndEd.pdf.
- Corrado, R. R., & Cohen, I. M. (2003). Mental health profiles for a sample of British Columbia’s aboriginal survivors of the Canadian residential school system. Ottawa: Aboriginal Healing Foundation.Google Scholar
- Daugherty, W., & Madill, D. (1980). Indian government under Indian act legislation, 1868–1951. Ottawa: Research Branch, Department of Indian and Northern Affairs.Google Scholar
- de Leeuw, S. (2009). “If anything is to be done with the Indian, we must catch him very young”: Colonial constructions of aboriginal children and the geographies of Indian residential schooling in British Columbia, Canada. Child Geogr.Google Scholar
- D’Souza, N. (1994). Indigenous child welfare or institutionalised colonialism: rethinking policy in relation to aboriginal children in Australia. Soc Alternat, 13, 32–35.Google Scholar
- Farris-Manning, C., & Zandstra, M. (2003). Children in care in Canada: A summary of current issues and trends with recommendations for research. Ottawa: The Child Welfare League of Canada.Google Scholar
- Government of Alberta (2009). The Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act. Edmonton: Ministry of Child and Youth Services. Retrieved January 2, 2009 from http://www.qp.gov.ab.ca/documents/Acts/C12.cfm?frm_isbn=0779731875.
- Government of British Columbia (2005). Summary Director’s Case Review: S.C. Victoria. Victoria: Ministry for Children and Family Development. Retrieved January 15, 2009 from http://www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/about_us/pdf/summary_dcr_sc.pdf.
- Government of British Columbia. (2007). Responding to child welfare concerns: Your role in knowing when and what to report. Victoria: Ministry of Children and Family Development.Google Scholar
- Government of British Columbia (2009). Child, Family, and Community Services Act. Victoria: Ministry of Children and Family Development. Retrieved January 3, 2009 from http://www.bclaws.ca/Recon/document/freeside/--%20C%20--/Child%20%20Family%20and%20Community%20Service%20Act%20%20RSBC%201996%20%20c.%2046/00_96046_01.xml.
- Government of Canada. (1876). The Indian Act. Amendments to the Indian Act, 1910, 1911, 1927, 1951, 1970, & 1981. Kingston and Ottawa: Government of Canada.Google Scholar
- Government of Ontario (2009). Child and Family Services Act. Toronto: Ministry of Children and Youth Services. Retrieved 4 January 2009 from http://www.search.e-laws.gov.on.ca/en/isysquery/65f409aa-b105-448c-ba24-d160daae98f1/2/frame/?search=browseStatutes&context=.
- Gregory, D. (2000). Discourse. In R. J. Johnston, D. Gregory, G. Pratt & M. Watts (Eds.), The dictionary of human geography (4th ed., pp. 180–181). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Hughes, T. (2006). BC children and youth review : an independent review of BC’s child protection system. Submitted to the Minister of Children and Family Development, by the Honourable Ted Hughes.Google Scholar
- Indian School Bulletin (1947). Ottawa: Department of Indian Affairs Branch, Department of Mines and Resources and Department of Citizenship and Immigration.Google Scholar
- Kirmayer, L. J., Brass, G. M., & Tait, C. L. (2000). The mental health of aboriginal peoples: transformations of identity and community. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 45, 607–616.Google Scholar
- LaRocque, E. (2009). Violence in aboriginal communities. Ottawa: Public Health Agency of Canada. Retrieved January 3, 2009 from http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/ncfv-cnivf/familyviolence/html/fvaborcommunit_e.html.
- Li, T. M. (2007). The will to improve: Governmentality, development, and the practice of politics. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
- Loppie, C., & Wien, F. (2008). Health inequalities and social determinants of aboriginal peoples’ health. Prince George: The National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Peoples’ Health.Google Scholar
- Miller, J. R. (1997). Shingwauk’s vision: A History of native residential schools. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
- Miller, J. R. (2001). Skyscrapers hide the heavens: A history of Indian-White relations in Canada (3rd ed.). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
- Milloy, J. (1999). A national crime: The Canadian government and the residential schooling system, 1879–1986. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press.Google Scholar
- Mills, S. (1997). Discourse. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- National Aboriginal Health Organization. (2002/2003). First nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey (RHS) 2002/2003: Results for adults, youth and children living in first nations communities. Ottawa: First Nations Centre.Google Scholar
- Raphael, D. (2002). Social justice is good for our hearts: Why societal factors—not lifestyles—are major causes of heart disease in Canada and elsewhere. Toronto: Centre for Social Justice Foundation for Research and Education.Google Scholar
- Rawson, W. R., Davidson, J., & Hepburn, W. (1845). Report on the Affairs of the Indians in Canada. Report submitted by Charles Bagot to The Legislative Assembly, the Province of Canada at Kingston, Ontario, 20 March 1845.Google Scholar
- Reading, J., Kmetic, A., & Giddion, V. (2007). First Nations holistic policy and planning model: Discussion for the world health organization commission on social determinant of health. Ottawa: Assembly of First Nations.Google Scholar
- Renaud, A. (1958). Indian education today. Anthropologica, 6, 1–49.Google Scholar
- Said, E. (1994). Culture and Imperialism. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
- Said, E. (1978). Orientalism. New York: Pantheon.Google Scholar
- Smylie, J. (2009). The health of aboriginal peoples. In D. Raphael (Ed.), Social determinants of health: Canadian perspectives (2nd ed., pp. 280–301). Toronto: Canadian Scholars.Google Scholar
- Spivak, G. C. (1999). A critique of postcolonial reason: Toward a history of the vanishing present. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Statistics Canada (2001). Aboriginal Identity Population, 2001 Counts, for Canada, Provinces and Territories - 20% Sample Data. Retrieved January 16, 2008 from http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census01/products/highlight/Aboriginal/Page.cfm?Lang=E&Geo=PR&View=1a&Table=1&StartRec=1&Sort=2&B1=Counts01&B2=Total
- Statistics Canada. (2008). Aboriginal Peoples in Canada in 2006: Inuit, Métis and First Nations, 2006 census. Ottawa: Minister of Industry.Google Scholar
- Thomas, N. (1994). Colonialism’s culture: Anthropology, travel and government. London: Polity.Google Scholar