Vitality of First Nations Cultures Remains the Same or Shows Improvement: Regional Health Survey
June 20, 2012
The majority of adults (83%) taking part in the First Nations Regional Health Survey (RHS) say they feel their cultures on-reserve and in northern communities had either improved or stayed the same. This is encouraging news after decades of government policies that sought to eradicate First Nations languages and cultures.
67% of First Nations adults "sometimes" participated in cultural events in their territories. The RHS found that adults who frequently participated in community cultural events "were less likely to be depressed, more likely to perceive control over their lives, more likely to perceive greater social support, and less likely to use licit and illicit substances."
4 out of 5 First Nations adults considered traditional ceremonies or spirituality at least "somewhat" important, although young adults were less likely to feel the same way.
Jane Gray, the National Projects Manager of the First Nations Governance Information Centre and national coordinator of the RHS, says that while the results are encouraging they are also fragile.
"We've seen a lot of hard work on the part of First Nations to stop the erosion and rebuild their languages and cultural practices over the years. Our Health survey shows that First Nations have made some gains but questions remain whether the support will be there for language programs to introduce another generation of youth to their own ceremonies and beliefs."
A minority of respondents (21%) said they had visited a traditional healer in the 12 months prior to this survey. Despite the low numbers, adds Gray, "these figures are up from 15% in our previous RHS in 2003. It shows that First Nations are making progress to revive their own cultural practices despite the almost constant pressures to give them up."
For more information:
To download the full report, go to the "Downloads" page: www.fnigc.ca
First Nations Youth Bring Vitality to Languages: Regional Health Survey
June 19, 2012
Ottawa – According to the CBC, "Statistics Canada says only three aboriginal languages in Canada — Cree, Ojibwa and Inuktitut — remain viable." That may be so, but apparently not if First Nations youth on-reserves and in northern communities right across Canada have anything to say about it.
According to the latest national report of the First Nations Regional Health Survey (RHS), 86% of youth (12 to 17 years old) living in nearly every First Nation and northern community felt that learning their own Indigenous language was "very important" or "somewhat important."
In fact, more than half (56.3%) of First Nations youth across Canada reported speaking or understanding their own languages.
RHS is produced by the First Nations Information Governance Centre, an Ottawa-based non-governmental organization. The RHS findings indicate that while pressures continue to threaten First Nations languages, youth on-reserve and in northern communities are committed to learning their own languages.
More than one-third of First Nations youth spoke their own languages sometime during each day.
"Our survey shows that First Nations youth seem to have a hunger for, a longing to learn their own languages," says Jane Gray. She's the National Projects Manager for the First Nations Regional Health Survey, or RHS.
"More than 4 of every 5 First Nations youth feel that learning their own First Nations languages is either 'very important' or 'somewhat important' to themselves and to their First Nation," says Gray.
"Young people have been telling us this for some time now at meetings and gatherings. Our Health survey shows that this isn't just wishful thinking. It's a reality, and it's being driven by those First Nations youth."
For more information:
For the full report, go to the "Downloads" page at: www.fnigc.ca
Not just Attawapiskat, Confirms National Report on First Nations Health
June 14, 2012
OTTAWA -- A new report released today by the First Nations Information Governance Centre paints a dispiriting national picture of the housing deficits that exist for many First Nations communities.
“It’s disconcerting to note that there has been little change on many key housing issues over the last five years”, says Jane Gray, National Project Manager for the First Nations Regional Health Survey, or RHS. "In fact, some indicators have gotten worse. It's not just Attawapiskat or northern communities that have poor housing."
According to the findings, there has been a significant increase in the presence of mould and mildew within homes – now at a striking 51% of homes compared to 44% in 2002/03. Further, more than two-thirds (70.8%) of First Nations adults reported that their household was in need of some type of repair compared to one-quarter (25.7%) of the general Canadian population. Of those reporting their household needed repairs, 37.3% stated the needed repairs were major.
“These are critical issues, impoverished housing conditions have been shown to be linked with a variety of health indicators, such as increased rates of chronic disease” adds Ms. Gray.
Approximately one-quarter (23.4%) of First Nations adults reported living in over-crowded housing, defined as more than one person per habitable room, which represents a substantial increase from 2002/03 at 17.2%.
Many adults indicated that their household did not have basic safety equipment, such as working smoke detectors (22.6%), fire extinguishers (53.1%) and carbon monoxide detectors (78.1%).
When it comes to water quality, 35.8% of First Nations adults reported the main water supply in their homes to be unsafe for drinking year round.
Jane Gray says, "This is the unfortunate reality for many First Nations reserves across Canada."
Designed as a companion to the RHS, a community survey was conducted across 235 First Nations communities, in an attempt to complement the results from 2008/10 Regional Health Survey for Adults, Youth and Children.
Ms. Gray added, “Community level factors play an important role in better understanding individual health and well-being outcomes”.
Results from the 2008/10 community survey report will be released in the near future. The provision of quality housing is a complex issue. The RHS process, through the collection of sound information, will play an active role in informing policy and programming, with the ultimate goal of improving housing conditions for First Nations living on-reserve and in northern First Nations communities.
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For more information:
To view the Final National Report: National Report on the Adult, Youth and Children Living in First Nations Communities.
June 12, 2012
"Our work can improve lives on First Nations."
OTTAWA — That's the message from Jane Gray, the National Projects Manager of the First Nations Regional Health Survey, or RHS. "Nearly every indicator of the quality of life on-reserves has gone down or plateaued," Ms. Gray says. "But there's hope because we find improvement in some very important areas. And we can tell you what they are."
The FNIGC released its National Report of the RHS Phase 2 (2008/10) on Parliament Hill before a group of politicians, government officials and health organizations .
"We've been measuring the health and living conditions of First Nations since the mid-1990s," says Gray. "There are more people reporting an annual income of less than $10,000 a year in this survey than our previous one. Poverty on-reserves is getting worse."
"Nearly 50 per cent of children on-reserves live in poverty – a significant increase," says Gray. "Nearly half of adults live in homes contaminated by mold – again a significant increase. The percentage of people reporting only one source of income went up to 43% from 36% in that same period. This is the real story."
The Regional Health Survey began in the mid-1990s after the Federal Government commissioned seven national surveys on health and living conditions which excluded First Nations. First Nations decided to take the initiative, develop their own surveys with the support of Health Canada and Regional partners. This was the birth of the RHS process 17 years ago.
The RHS has built a solid reputation of trust with First Nations across Canada. Today, it is the most extensive and accurate snapshot of on-reserve health and living conditions anywhere. The RHS has also become a worldwide model for Indigenous research.
For more information:
Telephone: 613-733-1916 Ext. 101
To read the two most recent publications just click on the titles "RHS Phase 2 (2008/10) National Report on the Adult, Youth and Children Living in First Nations Communities" and the "RHS Phase 2 (2008/10) Key Findings from the National Report", or visit the "Downloads" section of our Web site.