A decolonizing approach to health promotion in Canada: the case of the Urban Aboriginal Community Kitchen Garden Project

  • Mundel E
  • Chapman G
  • 34

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Abstract

Aboriginal people in Canada suffer ill-health at much higher rates compared with the rest of the population. A key challenge is the disjuncture between the dominant biomedical approach to health in Canada and the holistic and integrative understandings of and approaches to health in many Aboriginal cultures. More fundamentally, colonization is at the root of the health challenges faced by this population. Thus, effective approaches to health promotion with Aboriginal people will require decolonizing practices. In this paper, we look at one case study of a health promotion project, the Urban Aboriginal Community Kitchen Garden Project in Vancouver, Canada, which, guided by the teachings of the Medicine Wheel, aims to provide culturally appropriate health promotion. By drawing on Aboriginal approaches to healing, acknowledging the legacy of colonization and providing a context for cultural celebration, we suggest that the project can be seen as an example of what decolonizing health promotion could look like. Further, we suggest that a decolonizing approach to health promotion has the potential to address immediate needs while simultaneously beginning to address underlying causes of Aboriginal health inequities.

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Authors

  • E. Mundel

  • G. E. Chapman

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