“You belong to everyone” : urban First Nations access to health services

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Defriend, Courtney
The health status of Indigenous peoples in what is now known as Canada is a manifestation of its colonial systems. Legislation that defines Indigeneity, land base, resource allocation, and access to health supports perpetuate illness of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Despite efforts to reconcile such systems, many fall through the cracks. Upholding the importance of relationality between researcher and topic, this dissertation by portfolio uses Indigenous methods to explore experiences of First Nations people attached to the Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre in Nanaimo. To mirror existing funding streams, small sample populations of First Nations people from Vancouver Island participated in qualitative data collection methods that upheld the tradition of storytelling as a form of knowledge exchange. This dissertation displays perspectives and experiences of participants in Nanaimo, which intersect with current province-wide models applied to the transformation of First Nations’ health in British Columbia. Using the traditional life cycle as a framework, four interdependent components created this dissertation bv portfolio. Those components were: A journal article manuscript, an impact assessment, a picture book, and this synthesis paper. Highlighting values of reciprocity, balance, and reflection, two portfolio components collected data while the other two documents showcase reciprocal accountability of the researcher. As a result, the dissertation by portfolio offers scoping, technical advice, opportunities for change with generations to come, and an example of Indigenous research at an applied, doctoral level.
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