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Health Place. 2009 Jun;15(2):403-411. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2008.07.004. Epub 2008 Jul 22.

The determinants of First Nation and Inuit health: a critical population health approach.

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Department of Geography, The University of Western Ontario, 1151 Richmond Street, London Ontario, Canada N6A 5C2. Electronic address:
Department of Geography, McGill University, Canada.


Environmental dispossession disproportionately affects the health of Canada's Aboriginal population, yet little is known about how its effects are sustained over time. We use a critical population health approach to explore the determinants of health in rural and remote First Nation and Inuit communities, and to conceptualize the pathways by which environmental dispossession affects these health determinants. We draw from narrative analysis of interviews with 26 Community Health Representatives (CHRs) from First Nation and Inuit communities across Canada. CHRs identified six health determinants: balance, life control, education, material resources, social resources, and environmental/cultural connections. CHRs articulated the role of the physical environment for health as inseparable from that of their cultures. Environmental dispossession was defined as a process with negative consequences for health, particularly in the social environment. Health research should focus on understanding linkages between environmental dispossession, cultural identity, and the social determinants of health.

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