Indigenous Perspectives of Health & Healing

This course examines understandings of health from a variety of Indigenous perspectives, with a specific focus on the Mi’kmaq of Cape Breton, in order to increase awareness of how different Indigenous cultures understand and conceptualize health and well-being to enhance health provision and professional health practice.

We learn from a wide variety of knowledge holders, Elders, and health professionals throughout the course, and students were challenged to mobilize their learnings into their professional practice and to share their learning with others.

One of the things the students create to share their learning was the 2-Eyed Health Blog, where they post reflections, writings, tips for providing more culturally-appropriate healthcare, and podcasts.

This course has the privilege of welcoming many talented and passionate guest speakers, who fuel our learning, enhance our understanding, and make tangible differences in the way the students live in the world.

Course Description

Indigenous peoples often experience greater health challenges and health disparities than non-Indigenous populations. Finding ways to enhance and expand the health and well-being of Indigenous populations through culturally-sensitive and culturally-appropriate health care should be a priority for those working in the health care sectors. Building from this need, this course will examine understandings of health from a variety of Indigenous perspectives, with a specific focus on the Mi’kmaq of Cape Breton, in order to increase awareness of how different Indigenous cultures understand and conceptualize health and well-being. Specific foci of the course will be on understanding how the enduring legacies of colonialism have impacted Indigenous health and on examining the various barriers that many Indigenous peoples often experience when attempting to access health care (lack of resources, geographic isolation, systematic racism or marginalization, and lack of cultural competencies of health care providers). This course will also study the importance of interprofessional teams as a means for improving the health, well-being, and access to health care for Indigenous peoples. This course will be framed around experiential hands-on learning opportunities, and will have a strong presence of guest speakers from various Indigenous cultures and perspectives and various health professionals.

 

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