Utilization of traditional health care systems by the native population of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Layman, Mellisa Margaret
Little research has examined the role traditional health care systems play today among Native populations. The present research examined the role these systems play among the urban Native population of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The research was conducted at the Westside Community Clinic, located in the downtown core area of Saskatoon. This area of the city has previously been identified as having a high concentration of Native people. The present study represented one component of a much larger project which examined both Native and non-Native utlization patterns of the Western health care system at the Westside clinic. An interview schedule was used to gather data, with a total of 103 Native and 50 non-Native interviews being conducted. Since no sampling frame exists for the Native population of Saskatoon, an availability sampling technique was used. "Native" was defined in this study as status Indian, non-status Indian and Metis. It was discovered that traditional health care systems play an important role in the health care of this population, with the use of these systems being quite extensive. It was determined that the variable of language was a somewhat useful predictor of the utilization of traditional health care systems, although language retention (the ability to speak a Native language) was found to be more important than the frequency with which a Native language was spoken. It was also discovered that use of traditional health care systems was not found only among older respondents, but rather was generalized among the respondents. The economic variables of income and education levels were also found to be related to utilization of traditional health care systems, with those respondents with higher income and education levels reporting greater use of these systems. Use of traditional health care systems was not found to be restricted to respondents with Indian status; rather, use was generalized among status Indian, non-status Indian and Metis respondents.Respondents who utilized traditional health care systems also fully utilized the Western health care system. Further, use of traditional health care systems was not found to be related to difficulty respondents may have encountered in using the Western health care system, such as language or economic problems, or experiences of racism, although such problems were found to exist. Clearly, respondents did not turn to traditional health care systems because of difficulties in utilizing the Western health care system. Rather, traditional health care systems were used to supplement the Western health care system. It was further found that the majority of the respondents in the study desired access to traditional medicines and healers within the city of Saskatoon-and, again, this finding was not confined to any sub-group (I.e. older respondents) of the study but was generalized. The extent to which this access is presently available is questioned, and this could represent an important unmet health need of this population.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
SupervisorWaldram, James B.
CommitteeErvin, Alexander M. (Sandy); Bolaria, B. Singh; Barron, F. Laurie
Copyright DateJanuary 1989
traditional health care systems