Oral Presentation The 26th International Nursing Philosophy Conference 2023

Circling Back: Asserting Indigenous Health Sovereignty (#71)

Leanne Kelly 1 , Lisa Bourque Bearskin 1
  1. UVIC, Ladysmith, BC, Canada

Background: Anti oppressive and anti racist pedagogy is finally on the nursing education agenda in visible ways.  In Canada, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission published 94 Calls to Action1 to address the inequities entrenched in our Canadian society.  Of those, Call # 24 is specific to Schools of Nursing to address Indigenous specific racism. Since the Calls to Action were published, the quality and quantity of discourse and work to define and create ‘Indigenous content’ in our curriculum has grown significantly.  Fervent pursuit of Indigenous nursing content runs the risk of performativity and erasure of local community knowledge.  Existing patterns of pathologizing Indigenous community experience and data as justification for institutional responses to the TRC implicitly obliterate strength based Indigenous perspectives and sovereignty discourse.  Indigenist worldviews, methodologies and methods of knowledge gathering, interpretation and translation take intentional understanding of the underlying principles of Indigenous engagement.  Critical theories which unpack slices of oppression and invite equity discourse and intersectional analysis serve those of us in the academy with ways to analyse from a position outside the Indigenous standpoint.  This position limits and can sometimes uphold invisible stereotypes as novice knowers search for checklist guideposts that can inadvertently separate the whole person into aspects of anti-oppressive positionality.  Non-Indigenous researchers whose voices have traditionally been privileged in the academy run the risk of perpetuating deficit narratives in the pursuit of Indigenous content through solely considering anti racist approaches. Assertion:  The pursuit of Indigenist processes in the academy must be Indigenous lead, move beyond deficit and equity discourse and center Indigenist worldviews that foreground sovereignty, distinction based knowledge and relational reflexivity.

  1. Truth and Reconciliation Commission. (2015). Truth and reconciliation commission: Calls to action. Winnipeg: Truth and Reconciliation Commission.