Health and Well-Being for Métis Women in Manitoba

Bartlett, Judith G.
January 2005
Canadian Journal of Public Health;Jan/Feb2005 Supplement 1, Vol. 96 Issue S1, pS22
Academic Journal
Background: Continuing compromised Aboriginal health status and increasing opportunity for new Aboriginal health surveys require that Aboriginal understandings of health and well-being be documented. This research begins exploration of whether the Aboriginal Life Promotion Framework may increase culturally pertinent planning, collection and analysis of health survey data. Methods: A quasi-phenomenological tradition of enquiry was employed to gain understanding of the lived experience of participants. Data were collected through focus groups utilizing a 'talking circle' methodology. A participatory research approach involved three large Aboriginal organizations. Results: Conceptions of health and of well-being are different entities for these Métis women. Health was most often more reflective of physical issues. Well-being was much broader, holistic and inclusive of the dimensions of spiritual, emotional, physical and mental/intellectual aspects of living, consistent with the first circle of the Aboriginal Life Promotion Framework. Conclusions: The implications of this study should be important to health providers, and policy developers regardless of sector. Métis women in this study show significant strengths in the spiritual, emotional and intellectual/mental aspects of life, areas that could be incorporated into health promotion approaches. Physical health was focussed on ensuring a healthy diet and exercise, yet most adult women in the study experienced stress around goals that are seen as relatively unattainable. The data produced in this study should be utilized to develop and test survey questions that can be applied to a larger portion of the Métis population. The Aboriginal Life Promotion Framework is useful as an organizing tool for systematically exploring elements of living.


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