Being alive well? Power-knowledge as a countervailing force to the realization of mental well-being for Canada's aboriginal young people

Williams, Lewis and Mumtaz, Zubia (2008) Being alive well? Power-knowledge as a countervailing force to the realization of mental well-being for Canada's aboriginal young people. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 10 (4). pp. 21-31. ISSN 1462-3730


The First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Health Canada, commissioned a review of the current evidence on efforts to promote mental health in Aboriginal young people in Canada. A systematic review of the literature reveals that peer-reviewed 'evidence-based' evaluations of mental health promotion interventions with Canadian Aboriginal young people are virtually non-existent. The few published studies on mainstream young people, with their focus on those at risk, addressing individual-level factors within Western positivist conceptualizations of reality, have limited applicability to a colonized people with constructions of health that place emphasis on wholeness, connection, balance and harmony.
This paper reviews several inter-related forces shaping
mental health promotion discourse and programming as they pertain to Aboriginal young people in Canada today. They include colonization and neo-colonial relations, Aboriginal world views, meanings of health and selfdetermination, the conceptual and methodological confusion besieging mental health promotion as a discipline, and the tensions between what qualifies as 'evidence' in Western positivist conceptualizations of reality and Aboriginal worldviews, paradigms and realities. The paper locates the marginalization of Aboriginal knowledge relative to Western notions of 'evidence' in dominant cultural-power relations with respect to how they structure the production of formal
'knowledge', potential funding and programming and,
ultimately, opportunities for the mental health and wellbeing of Canada's Aboriginal young people.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: 2008 © The Clifford Beers Foundation. Permanent restricted access to published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Nursing
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2014 06:25
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2014 02:42
Uncontrolled Keywords: Aboriginal young people; mental health promotion; evidence-based practice; power knowledge; Canada
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170113 Social and Community Psychology
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111714 Mental Health
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920307 Pacific Peoples Health - Determinants of Health
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1080/14623730.2008.9721773

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