In the media article, Duncan McCue, a reporter at CBC News, identifies that racial discrimination against Canadian indigenous people, particularly the aboriginal people is pervasive in the healthcare system. The central point of this media article is that racial segregation is a serious problem causing health disparities among the aboriginal people in Canada. Canadian indigenous people are not guaranteed to have equitable and accessible healthcare services.
This article is particularly significant to this week’s topic because this week we reviewed critical issues in the organization of health services. We learned that the media often fails to include historical perspectives when reporting problems concerning native people. However, this article attempts to paint a clear picture of the situation, by incorporating colonial perspectives, when it reports that well-documented variations in aboriginal and non-aboriginal health can be traced back to the colonial government policies, including segregation and Indian residential schools.
When I go through this article, I realize that the author perceived the conscious and unconscious implicit relationship between the aboriginal and non-aboriginal people that are particularly perverse in the healthcare system, which explain the significant health disparities among the aboriginal people. I content that understanding historical race relations can provide a firm foundation and valuable insights that can help not only to address the disparities in healthcare services but achieve effectively and equitable organization of health services.
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History of Canada
In any attempt to discuss and address health disparities between groups and achieve reconciliation, it is critical to learning the history of Canada and to understand how race relationships and practices during the colonial period affected and continue to impact indigenous people. Browne (n.d.), a Nursing professor at the University of Northern British Columbia, argues that minority Canadians face frequent language barriers, limited familiarity with the healthcare system, and segregation and power imbalances in the hands of healthcare providers. The professor stresses that the aboriginal Canadians report higher disease and mortality rates and shorter life spans compared to their non-aboriginal counterparts.
Poelzer (n.d.) opines that historically aboriginals and non-aboriginal Canadians have experienced significant conflict and tensions. This conflict involves indigenous people and the newcomers (Poelzer, n.d.). As a health care professional, I believe that there is a need for more pioneering initiatives, such as the Greenland Home Rule Act and the Sami Parliament, and Nisga’s Self-government. Such efforts can help to breach the divide between the natives and newcomers, help them to accommodate each other, and improve their economic development and political participation. McCue (2015) identifies that unaddressed political injustices experienced during the colonial era are still major contributing factors to aboriginal health disparities.
How do colonial/historical experiences influence race relations in the healthcare systems today?
What responsibility do the media have in addressing the social challenges facing native people?
Browne, A. (n.d.). Issues Affecting Access to Health Services in Northern, Rural and Remote Regions in Canada. Retrieved from http://www.unbc.ca/assets/northern_studies/northern/issues_affecting_access_to_health_services_in_northern.pdf
McCue, D. (February 3, 2015). Racism against aboriginal people in health-care system ‘pervasive”: Study. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/racism-against-aboriginal-people-in-health-care-system-pervasive-study-1.2942644
Poelzer, G. (n.d.). Northern Paths to Aboriginal Self-Determination. Retrieved from http://www.unbc.ca/sites/default/files/sections/northern-studies/northernpathstoaboriginal.pdf