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Beyond Recovery: Colonization, Health and Healing for Indigenous People in Canada

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How do we limit our focus to mental health when Indigenous teaching demands a much wider lens? How do we respond to mental health recovery when Indigenous experience speaks to a very different approach to healing, and how can we take up the health of Indigenous people in Canada without a discussion of identity and colonization? We cannot, for the mental health and recovery of Indigenous people in Canada have always been tied to history, identity, politics, language and dislocation. Thus, in this paper, our aim is to make clear that history, highlight the impacts of colonization and expound on Indigenous healing practices taking place in Toronto. Based on findings from a local research project, we argue these healing practices go beyond limited notions of recovery and practice, offering profound and practical ways to address the physical, emotional, spiritual and mental health of Indigenous peoples.

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Correspondence to Lynn F. Lavallee.

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Lavallee, L.F., Poole, J.M. Beyond Recovery: Colonization, Health and Healing for Indigenous People in Canada. Int J Ment Health Addiction 8, 271–281 (2010).

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