Indigenous Thoughts Network
PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION
PHILOSOPHY BY REGION
Where the Rivers Meet (WTRM) Website
PHILOSOPHY STUDYING HEALTH AND ABILITY
Identity is not simply a socio-cultural or political expresson of who we are as individuals and members of groups; it is not a luxury or politically correct thing to do. Identity is a pure matter of survival; it provides a world view, an orientation and it is hard wired into our brains and cognitive processes.
I think as a society we are starting to get it. In the late 80s and early 90s I had the opportunity to work with people whom we termed "developmentally challenged" which we don't use anymore. The whole treatment program and ways we managed our supports had nothing to do with the unique demands of socio-cultural identity; we just asssumed all humans ar the same and have the same needs. Society does not think that way anymore. Working with physical or mental health issues incorporates and weaves in "who we are" as part of our treatment. Yes, the human species is capable of learning: this is an example.
Before us, as philosophers we need to look at relationships of research points that I can think of: Does our ethics and value theory incorporate the whole person (including world view) in our treatment plans; why do we continue to label people "patients" and not work in "patients" as partners in the healing process or "dis"ease management strategies? If we include world view, do we do as philosophers recognize the indigenous thinking and philosophy staring at us through his or her eyes? What of the world view of the person?
The health care system on reserves as well as those aboriginal health organizations in urban centers "buy into" two things; (1) the monopolizaiton of medication - pharmacare big business and rely less heavily on alternative, wholistic and indigenous healing knowledge and materials and (2) indigenous health treatment minimizes the role of belief , ritual and traditions. More and more our heatlh services are western, power based and hierarchial; worse we look at those who are ill as patients in an authoritative way that is not reflective of egalitarian principles.