Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Respect and acceptance for Native people's traditions including their traditional healing knowledge and practices is growing in both Native and non·Native medical circles. Impressive changes are occurring in the field of Native health care, as traditional healing philosophies and practices take up residence in the mandates and programs of many Native health centres across Canada. This applied anthropology study documents the perceptions of individuals working in Native health care environments regarding traditional healing approaches: past, present and future. One can use Native and non· Native perceptions of traditional healing, and its present utilization, to envision its role in Native health care and in the larger sphere of Native self·determination.
Four main themes emerged from the open.ended interviews conducted with respondents. The first concerns the relationship that many respondents have with traditional healing approaches. Many respondents are themselves on a life path in which traditional healing belief and practice has been used in the past to re·calibrate their lives. Worked into this healing process is the intimate relationship between healing and a strong sense of personal and cultural identity. The second is that traditional healing is part of a growing 'healing movement' aimed at improving the collective health of Native communities. The third involves respondent's concern over the tenuous relationship between newly developed traditional healing initiatives and government funding. Respondents expressed concern that funding issues could not only hamper the availability of traditional services, but could effect the quality of services available. The final theme surrounds the future management of traditional healing services. Respondents question ·whether, how or who should regulate and monitor traditional healing. I conclude that these key issues need to be addressed by Native individuals and Native health organizations. In keeping with an applied approach, I offer numerous recommendations regarding the current and future use of traditional healing. These suggestions are based primarily on the information provided by respondents during interviews.
Ranford, Jennifer Robin, "Exploring the Past, Present and Future of Traditional Native Healing In Southwestern And South-Central Ontario" (1998). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6711.
McMaster University Library