Abstract

A proposed broader or Indigenized social determinants of health framework includes "colonialism" along with other global processes. What does it mean to understand Canadian colonialism as a distal determinant of Indigenous health? This paper reviews pertinent discourses surrounding Indigenous mental health in Canada. With an emphasis on the notion of intergenerational trauma, there are real health effects of social, political, and economic marginalization embodied within individuals, which can collectively affect entire communities. Colonialism can also be enacted and reinforced within Indigenous mental health discourse, thus influencing scholarly and popular perceptions. Addressing this distal determinant through policy work necessitates that improving Indigenous health is inherently related to improving these relationships, i.e. eliminating colonial relations, and increasing self-determination.

Acknowledgments

The author wishes to acknowledge the edits, suggestions and comments made by Nicholas and Patricia Czyzewski, Emily Anson, Garret C. Smith, Dr. Martin Cannon, Dr. Krystyna Sieciechowicz, Helen Leeds and Emma Yasui.

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