Finding Balance in Modern Healthcare

Hi everyone! My name is Mercedes Redman. Currently, I am an Indigenous Communications Arts student at the First Nations University of Canada, and I am interning for E-HIS. I thought I would write about the Indigenous perspective and issues in modern healthcare in Canada. My culture is very important to me, I try to be as involved as I can in ceremonies, learning and following my tradition, and living a proud life as an Indigenous woman.

In every aspect of our life, we hope to achieve balance. Time management, a decent work-to-home life schedule, and balance within ourselves. I find that one of the biggest challenges that I face as an Indigenous person is finding the balance between traditional and cultural lifestyles and living modernly in a colonized world. It is even more difficult to find that balance in modern healthcare.

In any culture, there are certain protocols and “rules” that are in place to ensure that traditions are followed appropriately. Living in a modern, colonized society makes practicing traditions and culture difficult, especially in health care settings. Some cultures and tribes use traditional medicines like sage, cedar, and sweetgrass (just some examples) to cleanse, protect, and pray for those who need help physically or mentally. It’s important that healthcare professionals in all aspects are informed and respectful of these protocols, not only of Canada’s Indigenous people but of all people and cultures. Each culture and each family could want or expect different cooperation from healthcare professionals, the best way to prepare and be respectful would be to just ask! Ask each family if there is another space they would like to be, what kind of support you can offer, and what else they need from you.

Being Indigenous in any environment is tough in the 21st century. In our homes, our communities, our reserves, our schools, our cities; we are constantly facing the intergenerational trauma, loss of language, culture, and tradition, and dealing with the impact that colonization and assimilation has on the individual and the family. Being understanding and supportive of everyone who walks your way and comes to you for help with their health and their body will create a trust and bond that eases the mind and worry of all of life’s struggles just a little bit.

About the Author

Mercedes Redman is a proud Indigenous woman from Standing Buffalo Dakota Nation. She is currently interning at E-HIS and attending post-secondary full time. She is pursuing a diploma in Indigenous Communications Arts at the First Nations University of Canada. Mercedes is interested in pursuing a career in journalism and communications and this internship will give her experience and knowledge in the field.