Annotated Bibliography On Impoverished First Nations Women in Canada

Published: 2021-06-21 23:56:50
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Category: Education, Population, Health, Women, Social Issues, Canada, Colony, Colonization

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This work is an annotated bibliography for a research study on the topic “impoverished first Nations women in Canada”. Notably, for the proposed research, First Nations will be used to refer to Aboriginal peoples of Canada. In compiling this work, I used a general selection criteria drawing from a single text source, a Website and three peer-reviewed academic journal articles. The source drawn from text will be presented first, followed by the Web source and finally three peer-reviewed sources. The paper gives a succinct presentation of the main arguments in the given sources, and a critical assessment on the main points as well as their relevance to the proposed research topic.

Turner, C, J. & Turner, J. F. (2009) Canadian Social Welfare. Aboriginal peoples in Canada (pp 95-109). Toronto: Pearson Education.

In this chapter, the authors argued that the mishaps of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada that exist to date are a consequence of government policies imposed on this population in the colonial and post-colonial era as well as their contact with the Europeans and the wider Canadian society. Turner and Turner noted that prior to the arrival of Euro-Westerners; the Aboriginal people’s traditional lifestyles were uniquely identified with each group. They observed that the social welfare of the people back then is comparatively acceptable than subsequent conditions. The chapter provides a chronological account of the relationship of the First Nations and the various governments. The authors identify multiple government policies that have had lasting impacts on the social welfare of the Aboriginal population resulting from the replacement of self-government with state-control. The policies include the marginalization of First Nations through the institution of assimilation practices such as compulsory residential schooling and adoptive homes. Thanks to these events, the erosion of

the original First Nations’ practices has seen the status of Aboriginal women termed as downright inferior to their counterparts.
Similarly, the authors argued that the consequences of the above to the wider Aboriginal population are far reaching and have been widely documented in terms of the impoverished life that these people live today. Social work has been adversely affected as evidenced by a gap that persists between the interactions between the former and Aboriginal peoples, and that which is theoretically desirable to amend the shortcomings of such interactions. Accordingly, turner and Turner advocate for a social setting that promotes the establishment of services and policies that are consistent with Aboriginal people’s values and beliefs.

A major observation from this work is that the current state of affairs as regards the Aboriginal peoples in Canada can be explained from a historical perspective. This may be achieved through an examination of their interactions with the government and the rest of the Canadian society. This argument is necessarily essential to the topic of impoverished First Nations women in Canada specifically in identifying the causes of the problem. The chapter provides a chronological perspective on the events contributing to the welfare of the Aboriginal peoples today, and may be handy in referring to some aspects of the topic such as health, education and life expectancy. The work spans back beyond three centuries and therefore provides a general trend of the problem of impoverished First Nations women. The identification of the various implications of the problem for social welfare gives a broad insight into the impacts of the problem addressed in the proposed research.

Website source

O’Donnell, V. & Wallace, S. (2012) First Nations, Metis and Inuit Women. Retrieved 3 June 2013 from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-503-x/2010001/article/11442-eng.htm

In their work, O’Donnell and Wallace (2012) explored some of the unique characteristics of the Aboriginal female population and trends over time. They identified three groups as constituting the Aboriginal population in Canada namely: First Nations, Metis and Inuit. Although Aboriginal women share many of the challenges faced by the rest of the Canadian female population, O’Donnell and Wallace argued that the former’s case is extreme, and there exist variations even among the various aboriginal female groups demographically, culturally and socioeconomically.

Demographically, the authors found that the Aboriginal population is growing. Distributional patterns showed that Aboriginal females are concentrated in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and can be identified with reserves, are more likely to live in rural areas than their non-Aboriginal counterparts and are the population is mostly young. Additionally, despite the variations in the female’s life expectancy among the three Aboriginal groups, the average life expectancy of this population was five years less than the non-Aboriginal women’s. Likewise, O’Donnell and Wallace observed that the Aboriginal women fall behind in other areas of welfare as evidenced by high fertility rates, higher levels of lone parents and teen parents.

Socioeconomically, O’Donnell and Wallace noted that Aboriginal women are disadvantaged in many aspects. Less of this population participates in paid work force compared to the non-Aboriginal women. Unemployment rates for the latter are also higher and those employed have relatively low incomes than the former. The authors also noted that the Aboriginal women are more likely to miss out on higher education than their counterparts. There is a significant gap between the health of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women. The former have reported higher lower proportions of women with very good or excellent health and have more cases of women living with chronic conditions.

This work confirms that the concerns regarding the wellbeing of the Aboriginal women have persistently impacted on their lives for many years. Statistics on most of the common measures of social welfare place the Aboriginal women way behind their non-Aboriginal counterparts. These include life-expectancy and employment. These, together with other aspects of welfare such as income, health and infant mortality presented in the text provide a clear picture of the impoverished life that is characteristic of the Aboriginal women. These observations are essential in establishing the livelihood of the Aboriginal women, which is a crucial element of the topic of research. The topic seeks to deal with such evidence and the possible forces behind them. Although O’Donnell and Wallace’s work does not focus on the factors that have contributed to the impoverished life status of the Aboriginal women, it expounds on the livelihood itself and thus provides almost sufficient information on the evidence aspect of the topic. Accordingly, the text will be used in establishing the factors that are behind the assertion that Aboriginal women are impoverished.

Peer-Reviewed Sources

Brown, A. & Smye, V. (2002) A Post-colonial Analysis of Healthcare Discourses Addressing Aboriginal Women. Nurse Researcher, 9 (3): 28-41. Retrieved 2 June 2013 from http://search.proquest.com/docview/200770340/fulltext/13E7FFF381A7B399328/17?accountid=130301

Brown and Smye argued that the poor health condition of the Aboriginal women and other similarly unfavourable social indicators were a consequence of complex processes of colonial politics, policies and practices as opposed to lifestyle choice, behavioural or cultural issues. The authors criticized the discourses behind the argument advanced by many researchers that attributes the prevalence of deaths from cervical cancer among the Aboriginal women to cultural issues. Rather, they used post-colonial historical perspectives to criticize this view and instead show that the observation, among many other social indicators, should be explained and dealt with from a causative perspective based on colonialism but not individual lifestyles, cultural differences or biological predisposition.

The work identified a number of concerns affecting Aboriginal women with a focus on the rational used in dealing with cervical cancer in a bid to support their claim. Some of the major health and social status indicators discrepancies identified with the Aboriginal women as compared to other Canadian women include life expectancy, health and poverty. Brown and Smye narrow their research on predominant discourses in modern Canada regarding the prevalence of cervical cancer in Aboriginal women compared to the non-Aboriginal counterparts. Brown and Smye argued that there are lasting effects of the impact of colonial practices on how the industry understands and shapes, formulates and effects policies with respect to cervical cancer many years after the end of the colonial era. Specifically, the approaches used in dealing with this disease with reference to the Aboriginal women are largely modelled along European practices on the same that do not feature the historical perspective of colonialism at all. These discourses have had serious consequences on major matters of social wellbeing of Aboriginal women. Brown and Smye recommend that a post-colonial perspective on critiquing healthcare discourses or policies will complement the shortcomings of predominant discourses and policies. This can be easily done by uncovering hidden facts on the mishaps faced by Aboriginal women.

Brown and Smye’s work has major points of importance to the topic of impoverished Aboriginal women. It is clear that the problems are historically tied to colonial practices in Canada to a considerable degree. Although the role of culture, individual lifestyles and biological predispositions in explaining the problems facing Aboriginal women cannot be overlooked, the overarching colonial cause of these problems which has been underscored by Brown and Smye is often overlooked or not recognized in determining major policy issues affecting this population including healthcare. A major implication of this case is the persistent and in some aspects evolving gap between the Aboriginal women’s welfare and the rest of Canada. These points will contribute to the central argument in the proposed research topic. The historical as well as individual, cultural and biological explanations of the problems facing Aboriginal women as framed in Brown and Smye’s work essentially supports the argument of the topic that there are many factors behind the observation. This work also supports the view that colonial impact has had the largest impact on the current status of life of the Aboriginal women. The above article also supports the observation presented in the topic of impoverished Aboriginal women.

Wenman, M. W., Joffres, R. M. & Tataryn, V. I. (2004) A Prospective Cohort Study of Pregnancy Risk Factors and Birth Outcomes in Aboriginal Women. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 171 (6): 585-589. Retrieved 6 June 2013 from http://search.proquest.com/docview/204801454/fulltextPDF/13E801AC870685FB5D/4?accountid=130301

This article asserts that although it is widely documented that Aboriginal women have poorer pregnancy outcomes than their non-Aboriginal counterparts, the information leading to this conclusion has been largely drawn from retrospective databases. Such information includes that on risk factors and birth outcomes. On the basis of this observation, Wenman et al departed from the conventional approach identified above to acquiring data from a prospective study in a bid to establish the extent of the relationship between Aboriginal status and birth outcome.

The study was carried out over a 12-month period whereby women were recruited at their first prenatal visit and followed through delivery. Various medical tests and observations were made during this period. 3.9% of those who completed the study were Aboriginal women. The results of the study confirmed the argument of poorer pregnancy outcomes among Aboriginal women. Wenman et al found that known risk factors for adverse pregnancy outcomes were more predominant in the Aboriginal group than in the rest of Canadian women. Precisely, they noted the following outcomes in comparing Aboriginal and other women in Canada: premature infant cases at 21% versus 11%; smoking during the current pregnancy, 21% versus 13%; smoking during the current pregnancy, 41% versus 13% and cervicovaginal infection at 33% versus 13%. For all the variables examined in the study, Aboriginal women occurred to have unfavourable reports compared to other women in Canada. Despite this, there were disparities even among the different Aboriginal groups. The authors concluded that their findings, though adversely out of favour for Aboriginal women did not imply that low birth weight, prematurity or macrosomia are independently associated with Aboriginal ethnicity per se.

Although the sample used in the study had a low proportion representing Aboriginal women, it identifies crucial elements regarding the maternal health of Aboriginal women that are consistent with the proposed topic of research. Key points to take away include the confirmation that Aboriginal women report poorer maternal health than their counterparts. Another notable point is the observation that poor maternal health is not linked to Aboriginal ethnicity per se. This observation is of significance important to the proposed research. Particularly, it resonates with observations in works presented earlier in this paper that refute the attempts to link poor welfare status to the mere reason of belonging to the Aboriginal community, but rather as a consequence of complex forces including colonial impacts, culture, post-colonial policies of various government authorities among others. The findings also support the topic of research because it serves as evidence for the impoverished Aboriginal women compared to the rest of the Canadian female population.

White, J., Maxim, P. & Gyimah, O. S. (2008). Labour Force Activity of Women in Canada: A Comparative Analysis of Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Women. Canadian Review of Sociology, 40 (4): 391-415. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-618X.2003.tb00254.x Retrieved 4 June 2013 from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1755-618X.2003.tb00254.x/abstract

White, Maxim and Gyimah examined the labour force activity of Aboriginal women with a focus on the effect of familial and household structure. They identified multiple explanations for the discrepancy in employment levels within between the female population of Registered Indians and Other Aboriginals women, and between Aboriginal women and non-Aboriginal women. Notably, registered Indians as opposed to Other Aboriginals as defined by White et al reside in residential reserves. According to White et al, multiple factors including educational attainment, geography, age, gender and familial structure have been collectively identified as contributing to the differences in labour force participation. However, this study found that variations in labour force participation were more profound in cases that involved the three variables of education, residence and familial structure.

A number of striking relationships and discrepancies were established both between the two Aboriginal groups and in comparison to non-Aboriginal women. With regard to the latter, the study found that non-Aboriginal women have lower participation rates, higher unemployment rates and also have lower income levels compared to the non-Aboriginal women. An in-depth examination of the influence on labour force participation of Aboriginal groups of education, residence and familial structure found striking differences even between the Registered Indians and Other Aboriginals. Although the findings indicate Aboriginal women have in general weaker labour force participation, the Registered Indians suffer most in all the three aspects.

A notable observation is that even with equal levels of education with the non-Aboriginal women, Registered Indians pocket much lower incomes. On the contrary, that of Other Aboriginals approach the income levels of the non-Aboriginals with the same education level attained. The explanation for this, according to White et al, is that the reserves where most of the Registered Indians live negatively impact on their participation in the labour force. Another observation was that the relatively larger number of Aboriginal women with children under the age of six inhibited their participation in the labour force. However, a striking finding in this regard was that when both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women had a child under six years, the level of participation in the labour force was about the same in many aspects including incomes. White concluded that the familial structure of many of the Aboriginal peoples worked in their favour in such circumstances, levelling off the discrepancy that would otherwise exist.

This research deals with yet another crucial tenet of social welfare pertinent to the proposed topic. It identifies the variations in labour force participation not only between two Aboriginal women groups, but also in comparison to non-Aboriginal women. The finding that familial structure, residence and education are the main explanations for the discrepancy in the reported labour force participation supports the overarching argument that the colonial legacy still handicaps Aboriginal women. This research therefore serves as evidence for the proposed topic of research because it enlightens one on the unfavourable status of Aboriginal women, and also attempts to explain the drivers behind this condition.

References

Brown, A. & Smye, V. (2002) A Post-colonial Analysis of Healthcare Discourses Addressing Aboriginal Women. Nurse Researcher, 9 (3): 28-41. Retrieved 2 June 2013 from http://search.proquest.com/docview/200770340/fulltext/13E7FFF381A7B399328/17?accountid=130301
O’Donnell, V. & Wallace, S. (2012) First Nations, Metis and Inuit Women. Retrieved 3 June 2013 from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-503-x/2010001/article/11442-eng.htm
Turner, C, J. & Turner, J. F. (2009) Canadian Social Welfare. Aboriginal peoples in Canada (pp 95-109). Toronto: Pearson Education.
Wenman, M. W., Joffres, R. M. & Tataryn, V. I. (2004) A Prospective Cohort Study of Pregnancy Risk Factors and Birth Outcomes in Aboriginal Women. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 171 (6): 585-589. Retrieved 6 June 2013 from http://search.proquest.com/docview/204801454/fulltextPDF/13E801AC870685FB5D/4?accountid=130301
White, J., Maxim, P. & Gyimah, O. S. (2008). Labour Force Activity of Women in Canada: A Comparative Analysis of Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Women. Canadian Review of Sociology, 40 (4): 391-415. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-618X.2003.tb00254.x Retrieved 4 June 2013 from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1755-618X.2003.tb00254.x/abstract

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