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Can J Nurs Res. 2004 Dec;36(4):110-28.

Aboriginal beliefs about organ donation: some Coast Salish viewpoints.

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  • 1School of Nursing, University of Victoria, British, Columbia, Canada.


A large number of Aboriginal people await transplantation, and reluctance to donate organs has been noted among Aboriginal people. The purpose of this study was to explore the values and beliefs regarding organ donation of Coast Salish people living in British Columbia, Canada. Interviews were held with 14 people (8 women and 6 men) ranging in age from 25 to 63 years. Contextual themes were: lack of trust, life in Aboriginal communities, and tension between contemporary and traditional perspectives. Themes pertaining to death and dying were: acceptance of fate, death routines/rituals, and body wholeness. Themes pertaining to organ donation were: "we don't talk about it," transfer of spirit, and helping others. There was considerable diversity in beliefs among participants, which suggests that the beliefs held by an individual Aboriginal person should not be assumed to reflect those of any specific Aboriginal community.

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