BOOK REVIEW: Healing Traditions: The Mental Health Of Aboriginal Peoples In Canada – Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources

Via Scoop.itNWT News

Book review of Healing Traditions on the mental health of Aboriginal First Nation peoples in Canada…

Available at Amazon


In a 2004 Throne Speech, the Canadian Governor General referred to “shameful conditions” in which so many indigenous peoples live. Particularly in the mainstream media, it is often taken for granted what constitutes, and what perpetuates, those shameful conditions. Finally, here is a book that describes, investigates, and problematizes aspects of those conditions, and through twenty individual essays based on empirical research and spanning 500 pages and many decades – that travel from Igloolik to Brantford to the notorious downtown East side of Vancouver – explores the ways in which those conditions shape the lives and life chances of indigenous peoples in Canada. Written in an accessible style, the chapters are neither lengthy nor over-full with terms of art and academic jargon. This is a book that can, and deserves to be, widely read by policy makers and students of indigenous issues generally.

The collection depicts the realities of indigenous peoples and communities through empirical studies that are respectful of indigenous viewpoints and community research priorities. The results give shape and nuance to what is often amorphously referenced as dysfunction or suffering, which although undefined inspires constantly changing policy directions that consume billions of dollars each year. The results of these studies are germane not only to those concerned with indigenous peoples’ mental health, but with social, political and economic spheres, which are major determinants indigenous health and wellness.


Overall, Healing Traditions is the one many of us have been waiting for. It challenges neo-liberal stereotypes about Indigenous suffering with evidence compelling and eloquent. It confronts simplistic assumptions with deep and layered understanding.

Knowing that it is out there, lifts my heart.


Reviewed by @IrlbacherS
Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox, PhD: She is the author of Finding Dahshaa: Self Government, Social Suffering and Aboriginal Policy in Canada (2009),

Review of Finding Dahshaa:

and works as an advisor to Indigenous peoples organizations in the Northwest Territories, Canada.



About @mediamentor
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