“They Seem to Want to Help Me”: Health, Rights, and Indigenous Community Resurgence in Urban Indigenous Health Organizations

Authors: Sarah Nelson*, University of Toronto, Kathi Wilson, University of Toronto Mississauga
Topics: Indigenous Peoples, Medical and Health Geography, Geography and Urban Health
Keywords: Indigenous peoples, health care, urban, qualitative research, rights, resurgence
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Senate Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

More than half of the Indigenous population of Canada lives in cities, yet urban Indigenous experiences continue to be underrepresented in both research and policy. Health care policy in particular is jurisdictionally complex for Indigenous people living in urban areas, leading urban Indigenous people to have limited options for culturally safe health care. Indigenous people living in urban areas frequently report negative experiences in health care settings, often associated with discrimination based on Indigenous identity. Indigenous-led health organizations are one way that urban Indigenous communities have developed of counteracting such difficulties.
This presentation will describe the results of a study done as part of my doctoral dissertation, using qualitative methods grounded in principles drawn from Indigenous and decolonizing research, to examine the everyday experiences of Indigenous clients in health care settings in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada. Interviews and focus groups involving 50 Indigenous community members and 15 health services workers were conducted in 2015-2016. Intent on investigating the connections between urban Indigenous peoples’ inherent rights and Indigenous peoples’ experiences accessing health care, this research also draws on the growing body of literature on Indigenous community resurgence. It is guided by the following question: How does the work of Indigenous-led health organizations, in the context of settler colonialism, bring together Indigenous rights and Indigenous community resurgence for Indigenous community members in urban areas?
This study examines how discourses of rights, relationships, and resurgence come together in Indigenous-led health organizations.

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