Listening to First Nations women' expressions of heart health: mite achimowin digital storytelling study


Historically, heart health was approached holistically by First Nations (FN) peoples, which was integrated into daily living. Caring for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of individuals, community, family, and the living environment was integral. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada demonstrates the decimation of health practices through governmental policy to destroy the cultural foundations of FN peoples. Relational systems and ways of living were outlawed, and the health of FN people suffered. A digital storytelling study collaborated with Manitoba FN women with lived experience of caring for a biomedical-diagnosed heart condition. The objective was to identify concepts, language, and experiences of heart health among FN women. Six women created five digital stories; four are available publically online. Themes addressed by the storytellers include: changes to diet and lifestyle, related health conditions, experiences with healthcare system, residential schools, and relationships with children and grandchildren. The intersection of Western and FN knowledges heard in the women's stories suggests heart health knowledge and care is embedded within historical and social contexts. Insights into the non-dichotomous relationship between FN and biomedical knowledge of heart health, along with their conceptualisations of heart, suggests historical and social roots underlying heart health issues First Nations women face.

First Nations
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