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This section contains information on various aspects of Indigenous health, with links to healthcare services.
Last Updated: Jun 27, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Overview of Health Information

Medicine Wheel

This LibGuide page presents an overview of resources pertaining to health information of particular relevance to Aboriginal communities in Canada. The health situation for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people has its own context with higher rates of disease evident (diabetes and cancer, for example) and differing levels of access whether on a reservation or in an urban area. In addition, there are different cultural understandings of medicine and health compared to some forms of Western medicine. This page provides an overview of the health situation that faces Aboriginal people today.

Be sure to navigate to specific sub-sections for resources on sexual health, FASD, immunization, and healthy living.

Accessing Aboriginal Health Services & Organizations

The following resources provide information on health services and initiatives available to Aboriginals, particularly in regard to culturally relevant health practices.

  • Aboriginal Health
    Find information about health care services and non-insured health benefits, how to fight drug and substance abuse, environmental health, food safety and how to have a healthy pregnancy.
  • Health Canada: First Nations & Inuit Health
    "Health Canada works with First Nations, Inuit, other federal departments and provincial and territorial partners to support healthy First Nations and Inuit individuals, families and communities. Working with partners we strive to improve health outcomes, provide access to quality health services and support greater control of the health system by First Nations and Inuit."
  • First Nations & Inuit Health: Benefits Information
    "Health Canada provides eligible First Nations people and Inuit with a specified range of medically necessary health-related goods and services when they are not covered through private insurance plans or provincial/territorial health and social programs."
  • Aboriginal Health Program
    "Alberta Health Services has a dedicated Aboriginal Health program. It works throughout the province in partnership with Aboriginal people and organizations to provide high quality, accessible, culturally approporiate health services for all First Nations, Metis and Inuit people."
  • National Aboriginal Health Organization
    The National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) is an Aboriginal-designed and -controlled body committed to influencing and advancing the health and well-being of Aboriginal Peoples by carrying out knowledge-based strategies.
  • First Nations Health Authority
    "The BC First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) is the first province-wide health authority of its kind in Canada. In 2013, the FNHA assumed the programs, services, and responsibilities formerly handled by Health Canada's First Nations Inuit Health Branch – Pacific Region. Our vision is to transform the health and well-being of BC's First Nations and Aboriginal people by dramatically changing healthcare for the better."
  • Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada
    The mission of the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada is to improve the health of Aboriginal people, by supporting Aboriginal Nurses and by promoting the development and practice of Aboriginal Health Nursing.

    In advancing this mission, the Association will engage in activities related to recruitment and retention, member support, consultation, research and education.
  • National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health
    The National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health (NCCAH) is a national Aboriginal organization established in 2005 by the Government of Canada and funded through the Public Health Agency of Canada to support First Nations, Inuit, and Métis public health renewal and health equity through knowledge translation and exchange.
  • Anishnawbe Health Toronto
    Anishnawbe Health Toronto's mission is to improve the health and well being of Aboriginal People in spirit, mind, emotion and body by providing Traditional Healing within a multi-disciplinary health care model.
  • Indigenous Cultural Competency Training Program
    A training program provided by the Provincial Health Services Authority of British Columbia that is designed to increase knowledge, enhance self-awareness, and strengthen the skills of those who work both directly and indirectly with Aboriginal people.
  • Aboriginal Health Centre
    Based in Hamilton and Brantford, Ontario, Aboriginal Health Centre assists Aboriginal people in accessing culturally appropriate health care programs and services. The Health Centre focuses on holistic preventive and primary health care that includes Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Traditional Healing and other primary health services — Mental Health Support as well as community health supports — Advocacy, Outreach and Health Promotion and Education Services.

Practical Guides & Toolkits

The following resources offer straightforward guides on different health topics that can help the reader live and pursue a healthy life. Hover your mouse over each PDF link for more about the individual resource.



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Other Guides to Check Out

For other relevant guides, please check out the following.

Mental Health & Addictions
by Stefanie Varze - Last Updated Jun 27, 2017
This section includes resources on the law relating to mental health & addiction, as well as links to treatment centres and services.
9 views this year

Perspectives from First Nations, Inuit and Métis on Health Care

This video from the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) features health care providers speaking about the challenges that First Nations, Inuit and Métis face in the medical system. It is intended to be a starting point for conversation about the increased need of cultural safety and sensitivity.

Benefits Available to Aboriginal Canadians

The following links provide detailed information on the various benefits available to different Aboriginal groups in Canada.

  • You Wanted To Know: Federal Programs And Services For Registered Indians
    A comprehensive guide from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada to programs and services for Registered Indians (commonly referred to as Status Indians), including eligibility criteria, which departments/ministries deliver each program, and more.
  • Your Health Benefits: A Guide For First Nations To Access Non-Insured Health Benefits
    This guide produced jointly by Health Canada and the Assembly of First Nations lists the services covered under the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program, which includes dental, vision and eye care, prescription drugs, and others. The document describes how registered First Nations people can access these services.
  • Benefits, Services, and Resources for Aboriginal Peoples
    "This booklet explains the benefits, services, and resources that may be available to registered Indians who live on or off reserve, and provides information on how to apply for these benefits. "
  • Non-Insured Health Benefits for First Nations and Inuit
    "This section contains information on the various types of non-insured health benefits, who is eligible, how to access them, options for making an appeal when a benefit is denied, as well as how we safeguard clients' personal health information in our possession. There are also links to important resources and contact information to help answer your questions about the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program."
  • Your Health Benefits - A Guide for Inuit to Access Non-Insured Health Benefits
    Non-insured health benefits programs provide Inuit with several health-related goods and services that are not insured by provincial, territorial or private insurance plans. These benefits include coverage for specific drugs, dental care, vision care, medical supplies and equipment, short-term crisis intervention mental health counselling and medical transportation to access medically necessary goods and services not available in the
    community of residence.

    NOTE: This link is an excerpt. The full document is available upon request from Health Canada.

Making health care delivery culturally safe for Aboriginal people in urban centres

"We spoke with Stl'atl'imx Elder Gerry Oleman, a Community Support Worker in Vancouver about the importance of cultural competency and creating health care environments free of racism and stereotypes."


Aboriginal Cultural Safety: Health Determinants And Health Status

"This video looks at demography, health determinants and health status of Aboriginal people in Canada.

More information is available at:"


Aboriginal Health-Care Report

"A new report suggests many Aboriginal Canadians are not receiving the health care they need in urban centres, and stereotyping is a big part of the problem, CBC's Aisha Tomlinson reports" (December 11, 2012)

More information on the report and other Aboriginal health reports are available at the Health Council of Canada website.


Elder Phil L'Hirondelle On Traditional Aboriginal Health Practices

"Phil Mechuskosis L'Hirondelle, Cree, is a sundancer and educator in Vancouver. He travels internationally to share teachings that help to heal and guide a sacred way of walking through this life."


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