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Sterilization of Indigenous Women in Canada

The practice of sterilization arose out of the eugenics movement and has a long, often hidden history in Canada. Sterilization legislation in Alberta (1928–72) and British Columbia (1933–73) attempted to limit the reproduction of “unfit” persons, and increasingly targeted Indigenous women. Coerced sterilization of Indigenous women took place both within and outside existing legislation, and in federally operated Indian hospitals. The practice has continued into the 21st century. Approximately 100 Indigenous women have alleged that they were pressured to consent to sterilization between the 1970s and 2018, often while in the vulnerable state of pregnancy or childbirth.

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Indigenous Peoples' Medicine in Canada

Since time immemorial Indigenous peoples in Canada have been using plants and other natural materials as medicine. Plant medicines are used more frequently than those derived from animals. In all, Indigenous peoples have identified over 400 different species of plants (as well as lichens, fungi and algae) with medicinal applications. Medicine traditions — the plants used, the ailments treated, protocols for harvesting and application, and modes of preparation — are similar for Indigenous peoples across the country. In many Indigenous communities, there are recognized specialists trained in traditional medicine, and their practice often reflects spiritual aspects of healing as well as physical outcomes. In many cases, the therapeutic properties of Indigenous medicines are attributable to particular compounds and their effects on the body, but in other instances, their application is little understood by western medical practitioners. Within Indigenous communities, specific methods of harvesting and preparation of medicines are considered intellectual property of particular individuals or families.

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Sweat Lodge

Sweat lodges are heated, dome-shaped structures used by Indigenous peoples during certain purification rites and as a way to promote healthy living.

Macleans

Treating Schizophrenia

Inspired by the realization that schizophrenia is a biochemical brain disorder - and not, as doctors once believed, the result of family influences during childhood - a growing number of scientists are studying the disease.

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Tommy Douglas and Eugenics

Tommy Douglas — the father of socialized medicine in Canada and one of the country’s most beloved figures — once supported eugenic policies. In 1933, he received a Master of Arts in sociology from McMaster University for his thesis, “The Problems of the Subnormal Family.” In the thesis, Douglas recommended several eugenic policies, including the sterilization of “mental defectives and those incurably diseased.” His ideas were not unique, as two Canadian provinces (and 32 American states) passed sexual-sterilization legislation in the 1920s and 1930s. However, by the time Douglas became premier of Saskatchewan in 1944, he had abandoned his support for eugenic policies. When Douglas received two reports that recommended legalizing sexual sterilization in the province, he rejected the idea.

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Communications in the North

Communications have played a special role in the North. Terrain, climate and distance made it difficult for northerners to communicate with each other or with southern Canada before the advent of electronic media. In traditional times, Inuit messages were passed through personal contact.

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Linguistic Anthropology

In Canada linguistics exists as a fully autonomous discipline, represented by about 12 independent programs, as well as by linguistic research within departments of English, various other language areas, education, philosophy, psychology, sociology and anthropology.

Macleans

Canadian Health Worsening

Sarah Hamid considered herself a "happy-go-lucky person." A straight-A student with a loving family and a scholarship at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C., she loved the campus clubs and thrived on sports.

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Pipelines in Canada

Pipelines are systems of connected pipes used to transport liquids and gases — namely oil and natural gas — across long distances from source to market. More than 840,000 km of pipelines criss-cross the country. They represent part of the oil and gas sector which directly and indirectly employs approximately 740,000 people. According to Natural Resources Canada, the sector earns the government an average of $20 billion in royalties, fees and taxes each year (see Natural Resources in Canada). It also contributes nearly 11 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product.

Pipelines, however, have been controversial in Canada. Pipelines help transport fossil fuels and research indicates that fossil fuel use, is significantly contributing to climate change. In recent years, Indigenous groups, environmentalists, municipalities and labour unions have opposed numerous pipeline projects due to the risk of contaminated local waterways from spills and leaks. (See also Environmental Movement in Canada).

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Childbirth in Canada

Childbirth is the beginning of a child’s life and a powerful rite of passage for the mother. Methods vary according to culture and time periods. Before the 19th century, Canadians relied mostly on the help of midwives, as well as prayers and even superstitions, to face the intense pains of contractions. Advances in the field of obstetrics in the 19th and 20th centuries introduced new ways of shortening the length of childbirth and managing its pains. Those developments also resulted in the transition of childbirth from homes to hospitals. Today, the different methods of childbirth can involve the help of physicians, midwives and doulas.

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Soil Classification

Classification involves arranging individual units with similar characteristics into groups. Soils do not occur as discrete entities; thus the unit of measurement for soil is not obvious.

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Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada is the nation’s central statistical agency. It was established in 1918 as the Dominion Bureau of Statistics and adopted its present name in 1971. Under the Statistics Act of that year, it has the responsibility to “collect, compile, analyse, abstract and publish statistical information relating to the commercial, industrial, financial, social, economic and general activities and condition of the people.” The agency works with government departments to develop integrated social and economic statistics for Canada and the provinces and territories. In addition, Statistics Canada is a scientific research organization that develops methodologies and techniques related to statistics and survey design.

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SkyTrain

The SkyTrain is the rapid transit rail system serving Metro Vancouver, British Columbia. It uses mostly Advanced Light Rapid Transit (ALRT) technology, an automated rail system that operates mainly on a raised guideway, although some sections run underground or at street level. Regular service began 3 January 1986. The SkyTrain’s opening coincided with Expo 86, the world’s fair hosted by Vancouver as part of its 100th anniversary celebrations. The system is run by TransLink, the provincial transit agency for the South Coast of British Columbia. It was the world’s first driverless urban rail system. Now, it is one of the longest fully automated rapid transit systems in the world. The SkyTrain has three lines connecting 53 stations in seven municipalities. In 2018, it had more than 495,000 boardings per weekday, on average.