Understanding Indigenous People in Canada

Topic: Nursing
Words: 560 Pages: 2

The work of a nursing professional involves delivering care to a variety of different people from many different backgrounds. In this process, it is crucial to consider that each demographic may require its own unique approach, and the experiences of individuals are shaped by their allegiance to particular social groups. For the next term, I need to be prepared for administering trauma-informed care, which is a large part of the nursing process as a whole. For better handling effects of trauma in particular parts of society, I think it is important to learn of past historic events and their impact. The shared experiences of one community can result in trauma, which then takes considerable time and effort to work with and to account for.

Discussions of trauma are especially important when talking about indigenous people in Canada, as they have been historically treated in ways that impact them to this day. As a nursing student currently working on understanding native people better, I find it very vital to consider this aspect of discussion and my personal understanding of it. From my lessons and personal experience, I have learned that emotional and physical trauma has influence on every aspect of an individual’s life, including their private life and professional relationships. When talking about indigenous populations, one must consider this thoroughly, as there are certain traumatic events in the past that can often be forgotten. Realizing the prevalence and main symptoms of trauma can help me as a medical professional to more adequately address the needs of my patients.

In my current day to day life, I am striving to learn more about the indigenous experiences, particularly the more recent kinds of events that have occurred. I think that familiarizing myself with the shared history and legacy of a community can be beneficial to understanding its members, as well as their possible sources of trauma. The residential school system, in particular, seems to be one of the more influential topics for discussion.

These educational institutions actively sought to separate children from their families, legacies and traditions, while also harshly punishing exercise of native culture. Use of strict regulation and inhuman treatment of their subjects has been a controversial topic for discussion, and an especially prominent target for criticism in the indigenous and academic communities (Wilk et al., 2017). I think that the effects of the rather recent residential school system can be seen in today’s generations of native people, and the harm done to their unique perception of themselves still lingers.

It is important that I and other nursing students consider the brutal history of mistreatment native people have faced in the hands of authorities, and act with the knowledge of our own personal impact. Learning to display care, support, understanding and compassion is extremely needed in the work of a nursing professional. Furthermore, nurses should strive to empower their patients through means that are comfortable to them, and facilitate their social and physical flourishing. In preparation to my next term work with trauma-informed care, I also hope to have more discussions with members of the indigenous communities. While I have actively read research and other materials regarding their struggles, actually talking with real people may be a better learning experience for me. This would also allow me to get more informed on the matters of other contemporary issues native people face.


Wilk, P., Maltby, A., & Cooke, M. (2017). Residential schools and the effects on indigenous health and well-being in Canada—a scoping review. Public Health Reviews, 38(1). Web.

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