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Indigenous Scholars Release New Report at U.N. on Determinants — and Protectants —of Indigenous Health (


(photo: Jenna Kunze)

To read more of Darren Thompson's article, please click here.

NEW YORK — Indigenous scholars presented a report on Tuesday on Indigenous determinants of health at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) 22nd session.

The study was delegated during UNPFII 21st session and aims to create positive health and wellness outcomes for Indigenous communities worldwide. The study also responds to the U.N.’s adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to eliminate poverty and improve health and economic development for all populations globally.

The 20-page report outlines how social determinants — genetics, behavior, environment and culture — influence the health outcomes of the world’s Indigenous populations. The authors noted that while Indigenous populations vary around the globe, they share critical commonalities: an approach to health as an “equilibrium of spirituality, traditional medicine, biodiversity and the interconnectedness of all that exists” and oppression of culture via colonization.

“The Indigenous determinants of health are varied and cannot possibly capture everybody’s need and truth in one document,” Stacy Bohlen, (Sault Ste. Marie Ojibwe) CEO of the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) said at Tuesday’s announcement. “But the one commonality we share as Indigenous peoples is colonization, and the consequences of colonization internationally have led us to common grounds of cultural erasure, intergenerational trauma, and loss of language and culture, all supported by policies designed to specifically do those things.”

Dr. Donald Warne, Co-Director for the Center for Indigenous Health at John Hopkins University and a contributor to the report, told Native News Online that the report not only highlights determinants of health that contribute to disparities but determinants that support — or “protect” — positive health outcomes, such as connectedness to language, culture, and ceremony.

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