The Healing Path: reconciling the attempt to eliminate Indigenous healing in Canada – CMAJ

March 27, 2023

Canadian health care systems have failed to recognize that traditional healing practices and ceremonies are central to Indigenous culture and identity. The roots of this failure date back to colonial policies such as amendments to the federal Indian Act in 1885 (persisting until 1951), that made Indigenous ceremonies, like the Sun Dance and Potlatch, illegal to attend.1 They also relate to how the most authoritative forms of medical knowledge have evolved without consideration of the cultural needs of Indigenous Peoples.2 Recently, a policy framework has emerged with the potential to support a more inclusive approach to health care for Indigenous Canadians who value ceremonies, land-based teachings, identity formation and connection to family and community as part of health and healing.1–3

Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action 22, states, “We call upon those who can effect change within the Canadian health care system to recognize the value of Aboriginal healing practices and use them in the treatment of Aboriginal patients in collaboration with Aboriginal healers and Elders where requested by Aboriginal patients.”4 This aligns with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Article 24, 1, which states,

Read More:

NationTalk Partners & Sponsors Learn More