Aboriginal women : promoting self, family and community health

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Viel, Debbie
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This study tells the stories of 16 Aboriginal women of how they promote their health, as well as the health of their families and communities. There is a focus on the definition of health using a medicine wheel depiction and the determinants of health that are currently recognized by Health Canada. Four additional determinants were identified by the women in this study and a discussion regarding each is included. This study was viewed through a feminist lens. The qualitative method used was women-centred interviewing of a convenience sample of 16 Aboriginal women residing in rural Manitoba. Content analysis of the verbatim transcripts revealed the following themes and sub-themes: health defined- lifestyle choices; physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual health; healthy self; 1 need to be me - the importance of self care - promoting my health; having faith; hopes and dreams; barriers to being healthy - shame; racism; addiction; domestic violence; abuse; teenage pregnancy; poverty; promoting health in my family - healthy family; taking care of my children; perceived social supports; and promoting health in my community, it takes a community to raise a child - healthy community; strong leadership; employment, housing, education and safety; and lack of available services. The categories are identified in Health Canada's determinants of health with the exception of: faith, social equality, healthy partner relationships and strong community leadership. Implications for nursing education and practice, policy and research are discussed. There are 10 recommendations for future consideration.