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Book Chapter

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Indigenous health governance, self-government initiatives


This chapter explores these dynamics of Indigenous health governance in Canada. It opens by describing how Indigenous peoples have successfully used constitutional arguments to assert their own vision of well-being, within the broader context of colonial oppression and attempts to erase Indigenous knowledge and culture. The chapter then tracks federal initiatives on Indigenous health, in their design and outcomes, and how they evolved into the contemporary state governance regime. The next part turns to provincial and self-government initiatives that have expanded, but also complicated, Indigenous health governance in Canada. The chapter closes by considering different ways in which provinces, territories and First Nations governments approach the regulation of traditional healers and midwives. In an effort to recognize the human lives at the centre of state governance regimes, the chapter embeds stories of Indigenous children, their health and lives, within its exploration of Canadian law and policy on Indigenous health.


This is a pre-print version of a chapter published in Joanna Erdman, Vanessa Gruben & Erin Nelson, eds, Canadian Health Law and Policy, 5th ed, (LexisNexis Canada, 2017).