Effects of Unique Ethnic Culture on Indigenous People’s Health in Canada

Subject: Healthcare Research
Pages: 2
Words: 689
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: Bachelor

Introduction: Situation Overview

The geography of health is related to the topic of health and provides valuable information for public health policy and environmental health practice. Greenwood et al. show that the Canadian healthcare system is complex and often faces challenges with overlapping jurisdictions and medical traditions (Greenwood et al., 2018). This issue leads to serious problems, including the unequal distribution of health care services. In addition, the geographical extent of the indigenous population and the high degree of environmental impact affect the organization and delivery of health services. The unique ethnic culture includes various traditions, rituals, beliefs and treatments that can effectively deal with numerous diseases and health complications (Ford-Ellis, 2019). However, this approach does not solve all the problems of uneven distribution of health services, which leads to higher morbidity and reduced life expectancy.

Indigenous Medicine

One of the distinctive and best-known therapies is group therapy. This practice aims at spiritual liberation by spreading the disease from one person to the community, eliminating the negative effects of the disease (Marsh et al., 2018). Another method concerns steam baths, which are used to cleanse the body of harmful toxins and treat them. Experts state that “steam room ceremonies have historically been an important part of North American indigenous cultures” (Marsh et al., 2018). This practice is considered a full part of the medical methods of getting rid of toxins and harmful substances in the human body. Of particular interest is the special distribution of parts of the medical circle associated with the geography of health. The indigenous population considers it as a representation of the four cardinal points with their main features. Thus, when using the healing wheel, the indigenous population retains its traditions and beliefs that everything in a person should be smooth and in balance.

Considerations Concerning Indigenous People’s Health in Canada

A distinctive feature of the domestic medical practice is a holistic approach aimed at improving the body and soul. Indigenous people believe that most diseases are due to an imbalance between these two aspects (Joseph, 2020). In other words, some indigenous people believe that innovative technologies can upset the balance of mind and body and resort only to traditional methods (Greenwood et al., 2018). However, this does not necessarily mean that the unique local culture is incompatible with modern healthcare. Most barriers still involve various social determinants of health, including socioeconomic, political and environmental factors (Carson et al., 2020; Greenwood et al., 2018). In other words, the uniqueness and identity of the indigenous approach are vital considerations, but not decisive factors in the problem.

Topic Relevance

The discussion of the unique methods of medicine is relevant to the problem of inequality of medical services in Canada, as they both mitigate and exacerbate the problem. Traditional indigenous approaches may be effective in preventing some diseases (Greenwood et al., 2018). At the same time, ingrained beliefs in some traditions may create additional barriers between indigenous and modern medicine. This problem arises due to the high commitment of the indigenous population to the traditions and ethnic traditions of the people. Further research is needed to determine the appropriate course of action and ensure cooperation between government and indigenous communities. Canada’s health care law states that “all medically necessary services must be covered by all eligible residents of a province or territory, including First Nations” (Gov of Canada, 2021). However, obstacles remain and it is important that all stakeholders cooperate to find the most suitable solution. Currently, overlapping jurisdictions and healthcare paradigms are current issues, and the country is struggling to address this issue.


Indigenous medical traditions remain an effective means of preventing various diseases and preserving a unique culture, but they contribute to the problem of unequal distribution of medical care. Government and indigenous communities must work together to find an appropriate solution to this problem and improve the health outcomes of indigenous peoples.


In which particular area of ​​medicine would it be most successful to integrate the methodology of the indigenous population and why?

How should the government change the legislation in such a way as to make it easier to improve this area?


Carson, B., Dunbar, T., Chenhall, R. D., & Bailie R. (Eds.). (2020). Social determinants of Indigenous health. Routledge.

Ford-Ellis, A. G. (2019). How is the Medicine Wheel considered in therapeutic practice. Journal of Concurrent Disorders, 1(3): 78-93.

Greenwood, M., De Leeuw, S., & Lindsay, N. (2018). Challenges in health equity for Indigenous peoples in Canada. The Lancet, 391(10131): 1645-8.

Indigenous health care in Canada. (2022). Canada: Government of Canada. Web.

Marsh, T. N., Marsh, D.C., Ozawagosh, J., & Ozawagosh, F. (2018). The sweat lodge ceremony: a healing intervention for intergenerational trauma and substance use. International Indigenous Policy Journal, 9(2).