Historical and Continued Colonial Impacts on Heart Health of Indigenous Peoples in Canada: What's Reconciliation Got to Do With It?

Historical and Continued Colonial Impacts on Heart Health of Indigenous Peoples
Elsevier, CJC Open, Volume 3, December 2021
Schultz A., Nguyen T., Sinclaire M., Fransoo R., McGibbon E.
Colonization and enforced genocidal strategies have collectively fractured and changed Indigenous people by attempting to erase and dismiss their voices and knowledge. Nearly a decade ago, we were reminded by Dr Ku Young of the cardiovascular health disparities, in evidence among Indigenous people in Canada. compared with White people. He went on to say that beyond a biomedical understanding of this health status is the ongoing impact of long-standing marginalization and oppression faced by Indigenous people. Limited attention has been afforded to advance our understanding of these colonial impacts on Indigenous people and their heart health. This article contributes to our collective understanding of Indigenous people and their cardiac health by covering the following topics: layers of foundational truths of relevance to healthcare contexts and Indigenous people; a critical reflection of Western (biomedical) perspectives concerning cardiac health among Indigenous people; and materials from 2 studies, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, in which Indigenous voices and experiences were privileged concerning the heart and caring for the heart. In the final section, 3 topics are offered as starting points for self-reflection and acts of reconciliation within healthcare practice, decision-making, and research: reflections on self and one's worldview; anti-racist healthcare practice; and 2-eyed seeing approaches to work within healthcare contexts. A common thread is the imperative for “un-silencing” Indigenous people's voices, experiences, and knowledge, which is a requirement if addressing the identified cardiovascular health disparities is truly a health priority.