Vitality of First Nations cultures remains the same or shows improvement: Regional Health Survey
OTTAWA, June 20, 2012 /CNW/ – The majority of adults (83%) taking part
in the First Nations Regional Health Survey (RHS) say they feel their
cultures on-reserve and in northern communities had either improved or
stayed the same. This is encouraging news after decades of government
policies that sought to eradicate First Nations languages and cultures.
67% of First Nations adults “sometimes” participated in cultural events
in their territories. The RHS found that adults who frequently
participated in community cultural events “were less likely to be
depressed, more likely to perceive control over their lives, more
likely to perceive greater social support, and less likely to use licit
and illicit substances.”
4 out of 5 First Nations adults considered traditional ceremonies or
spirituality at least “somewhat” important, although young adults were
less likely to feel the same way.
Jane Gray, the National Projects Manager of the First Nations Governance
Information Centre and national coordinator of the RHS, says that while
the results are encouraging they are also fragile.
“We’ve seen a lot of hard work on the part of First Nations to stop the
erosion and rebuild their languages and cultural practices over the
years. Our Health survey shows that First Nations have made some gains
but questions remain whether the support will be there for language
programs to introduce another generation of youth to their own
ceremonies and beliefs.”
A minority of respondents (21%) said they had visited a traditional
healer in the 12 months prior to this survey. Despite the low numbers,
adds Gray, “these figures are up from 15% in our previous RHS in 2003.
It shows that First Nations are making progress to revive their own
cultural practices despite the almost constant pressures to give them
SOURCE The First Nations Information Governance Centre