Although health issues persist for the Indigenous population in Toronto, numerous Indigenous initiatives have been established to support this population and help regain culturally informed practices. One of these is Anishnawbe Health Toronto who seamlessly integrate traditional healing and medicines into Western medical practice.
Anishnawbe Health Traditional Healing Video Youtube (5min31sec)
Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction (TIHR) offers outreach support to homeless people in the city, focussing on the Indigenous population. TIHR runs the Native Art Society and pop-up markets to fundraise and showcase Indigenous art in the city, as well as promoting awareness of the Every Child Matters campaign. In addition to fundraising for local needs, the organization also offers donations to northern communities.
Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, championed Jordan’s Principle, ensuring that Indigenous children can access the health and welfare services they require on reserve. This means children aren’t separated from their families and communities when they are most vulnerable due to illness. For more information on Justice initiatives follow the linked text.
The Call Auntie Clinic provides Indigenous sexual, reproductive, and birthing health support, as well as midwifery. Their team consists of medical doctors, social workers, birth workers, and midwives. They also provide COVID-19 vaccinations and testing, supported by advice from a non-judgmental perspective to address hesitancy in the community. Their Community Places and Spaces page links to numerous Indigenous resources throughout the city.
The Our Health Counts report on Mental Health indicated that of the Indigenous adults who were able to more successfully handle their life stresses, 65% participated in ceremony, 47% incorporated Indigenous medicines or practices into their routines, 80% had a strong sense of belonging within their Indigenous community, and 96% felt positively about their heritage (Our Health Counts 2018c). These statistics clearly indicate that the reinvigoration of traditional practices within the Indigenous community has a profound positive impact on individual and community mental health.