SUMMIT ON INDIGENEITY & DISABILITY
Intersections of Social Justice, Community & Human Rights
Join us from 9:30 AM - 3:00 PM
519 Kaneff Tower, 74 York Blvd.
York University, Toronto
Register by October 12th 2017 at
Lunch will be provided!
19th October 2017
DATE AND TIME
Wed, 1 November 2017 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM EDT
105 Life Sciences Building, Keele Campus, York University, Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canadian author Gary Geddes will give a talk on his critically acclaimed book, "Medicine Unbundled: A Journey through the Minefields of Indigenous Health Care," followed by discussion, refreshments, and a book signing. All author royalties from the sale of the book will be donated towards a scholarship for an Indigenous student at the University of Victoria. The event is free but RSVP is required. Sponsored by York University's Faculty of Health and the Department of English in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.
Author talk: 5:00 - 6:30 pm
Book signing: 6:30 - 7:30 pm
Gary Geddes has written and edited almost 50 books of poetry, fiction, drama, non-fiction, criticism, translation, and anthologies and won a dozen national and international literary awards, including the Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Americas Region), the Lt-Governor's Award for Literary Excellence, and the Gabriela Mistral Prize from the government of Chile, awarded simultaneously to Octavio Paz, Vaclav Havel, Ernesto Cardenal, Rafael Alberti and Mario Benedetti. His non-fiction books include Sailing Home, Kingdom of Ten Thousand Things, Drink the Bitter Root, and Medicine Unbundled: A Journey through the Minefields of Indigenous Health Care. Geddes has a PhD from U of T and has taught at Concordia, Western Washington University, BCIT, and University of Missouri-St Louis and has been writer-in-residence at UBC, McMaster, and the Vancouver Public Library. He lives on Thetis Island, BC.
Masters student Nora Yousefi in the Health Policy and Equity graduate program at York University, and Associate Professor Claudia Chaufan will be presenting their research paper "Think before you drink": A critical discourse analysis of the dominant narratives on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in Indigenous Populations in Canada at the 10th Annual Dalla Lana Student Led Conference, The Next 150: Resisting Colonialism and (Re) claiming Health on Turtle Island (November 11th and 12th, 2017). Nora is the lead author on the paper, and will also be presenting a poster on Saturday, November 11th, from noon to 2 PM.
10th Annual Dalla Lana Student Led Conference, The Next 150: Resisting Colonialism and (Re) claiming Health on Turtle Island, November 10 and 11, Toronto, CANADA.
Title: “Think before you drink”: A critical discourse analysis of the dominant narratives on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in Indigenous Populations in Canada.
Authors’ names and affiliations:
Nora Yousefi1, Health Policy and Equity, York University
Claudia Chaufan, School of Health Policy and Management/Global Health Program, York University.
Background: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), especially its impact on Indigenous communities, has emerged as a significant health issue, in Canada and elsewhere. Central to this issue is why alcohol addiction affects Aboriginal peoples disproportionately and to what extent this disproportionate impact is driven by the intergenerational effects of residential schooling, cultural disenfranchisement, and child apprehension. Medical discourse, public health campaigns, and policy responses frame FASD as preventable, and identify the solution as supporting mothers-to-be so that they can recover from alcohol addiction.
Study goal: In this study we examined how the FASD is framed by major Canadian health institutions and elaborated on the implications of dominant frames for health policy, practices and equity.
Methods: We identified key literature regarding FASD from major public health campaigns and federal policies, and performed a critical discourse analysis with a view to identifying the (re) production of cultural dominance. Our inquiry was informed by the political economy paradigm developed by Howard Waitzkin’s work on the role of medical language in reifying and reproducing the social order.
Results: The official message on FASD prevention is simple, ostensibly benign, and persuasive: it only requires abstention, there are multiple resources to empower pregnant women to refrain from drinking, and it is acknowledged that the required behavioral change may be challenging. Nevertheless, this message removes FASD from the political realm and resituates it within the ostensibly neutral language of public health policy science that ultimately locates prevention in individual behavioral changes, albeit on a mass scale.
Conclusions: The dominant framing of FASD neglects the sociopolitical and historical contexts of substance use among indigenous peoples, decontextualizes continuing (neo) colonial arrangements in health policy, and frames FASD as belonging to Indigeneity. The language of public health policy science downloads systemic problems onto the Aboriginal woman, who must claim responsibility and be “empowered” within a broader social context over which she has little, if any, control.
Implications: Discourse that reframes the traumatic, colonial experiences of Indigenous women as deviant choices of substance users legitimizes, even if subtly, existing disease inequities, discourages decolonized interventions, and contributes to reproduce the problem it purports to address. A first, albeit not the only, step towards successful and sustainable prevention of FASD will require at the very least that health researchers, policymakers, and practitioners reconceptualize the problem. At best, they should reach out beyond their professional roles and, as citizens, challenge the neocolonial frames pervading their disciplines and demand a substantive transformation of power relations at the level of Canadian society and the Canadian state. Future research should also investigate (neo) colonial frames of FASD as well as their health equity implications in other similar settler colonial states.
For more information on the conference, please visit the website at dlsph.utoronto.ca/the-next150
1 Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
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