College Banner University of Saskatchewan College of Nursing College of Nursing

Aboriginal Health &
Cultural Diversity Glossary

Aboriginal Glossary
illness & misfortune “Ojibwe”
illness theories
Indian Act, 1876
Indian and Inuit Health Careers Program
Indian and Inuit Nurses of Canada, 1975
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)
Indian and Northern Health Service (INHS)
Indian agent
Indian band
Indian corn “maize”
Indian Diploma Nursing Program (IDNP)
Indian Health Policy (1979)
Indian Health Transfer Policy (see Health Transfer Policy)
Indian reserve
Indian reservation
Indian status
“Indian Time”
Indigenous Peoples
Indigenous Peoples' Health Research Centre, (IPHRC), Regina, SK
infant mortality rate (IMR)
infectious diseases
inherent rights “self-government”
Institute of Aboriginal Peoples' Health (IAPH), 2000
Inuit women
Iroquoian people
ischemic heart disease (IHD)


I – Definitions

incidence rates:
“new cases collected over a continuous period of time. The new cases which occur are added to the numerator. It is a cumulative count of a population at risk over a specified time period (e.g. month, year, decade)” (Clark, 1996, p. 103).

Back to Top

“A dishonourable, shameful, immoral, or reprehensible act, behaviour or event” (Thesaurus, 2003).

Back to Top

“Illnesses or sicknesses are the subjective element of feeling ill. An illness will lead to change in behaviours derived from changes in the body which are not measurable. Diseases are generic categories which have specific symptoms and characteristics across the human species. Illness refers to the political, social and emotional experiences of the disease” (Woods, 2003).

illness & misfortune “Ojibwe”:
“Improper living is thought to break "the rules of the universe, and was avenged by the manitos" (Vecsey, 1983, p. 149) resulting in illness and misfortune. Thus, illness creates a situation whereby the Ojibwe person reflects on the meaning of the illness, including what wrong may have occurred and how it could be corrected (Hallowell, 1941, 1977). Illness may also be interpreted as a result of "bad medicine" (sorcery) or "wishing someone ill” (Reynolds, 1993; Garro, 1990; as cited in Reynolds Turton, 1997).

Back to Top

illness theories:
“There are five illness theories identified by anthropologists and associated with tribal people: sorcery, breach of taboo, disease-object intrusion, spirit intrusion, and soul loss” (Reynolds Turton, 1997).

illness theories:
“Ritzenthaler (1953) found that Ojibwe beliefs of illness causation included all five illness theories identified by anthropologists and associated with tribal people: sorcery, breach of taboo, disease-object intrusion, spirit intrusion, and soul loss. Ritzenthaler labeled these beliefs a "preoccupation with sickness" because few cultures are thought to incorporate all five theories into their health world” (Reynolds Turton, 1997).

Back to Top

immunization “vaccination”:
“Inoculation differs from vaccination in that it introduces pus or powdered scab material to induce a mild infection, but renders the individual infectious” (Lux , 2001, p. 16)

see "vaccination" >>

Back to Top

“Instill, indoctrinate, program, train, repeat over and over” (Thesaurus, 2003).

Back to Top

“In Canada, Indian people identify themselves as First Nation people. It is acknowledged that First Nation people have a special relationship with the federal government by virtue of the Treaties” (Alberta Justice, 2002).

“In the United States, the situation is pretty straightforward: if you carry a tribal identification or have one issued to you through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, you are an "Indian." Without the card, you can call yourself an Indian, but governmental agencies will not recognize you as such” (Bellfy, 2001).

“In Canada, by contrast, and as Ovide Mercredi, former Grand Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, has pointed out, the Canadian government recognizes seventeen different categories of "Indians" under the Indian Act. [1] Without detailing these seventeen categories--a daunting task in any case--in Canada there are "Status Indians" which, more or less, corresponds to the U.S. definition of "Indian"; that is, they all carry a tribal identification. Other "Indians" in Canada who are Aboriginals without specific tribal membership are called "Non-status Indians." In addition to these First Nations people, there are those Aboriginal people who are of mixed "Indian" and European descent--called Metis. And to complete the official governmental recognition scheme, Canada certainly includes the Inuit of the Arctic under the "Aboriginal" umbrella” (Bellfy, 2001, p. 11).

“A term that describes all the Aboriginal people in Canada who are not Inuit or Métis. Indian peoples are one of three groups of people recognized as Aboriginal in the Constitution Act, 1982. The act specifies that Aboriginal people in Canada consist of Indians, Inuit and Métis people. In addition, there are three legal definitions that apply to Indians in Canada: Status Indians, Non-Status Indians and Treaty Indians” (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 2000).

Back to Top
Indian Act, 1876:
“Historically, the Act evolved to protect the small share of Canada's land base which remained to our original peoples. The first federal legislation about Indians after Confederation was the 1868 Secretary of State Act, soon followed by An Act for the Gradual Civilization and Enfranchisement of Indians. These statutes were consolidated in the Revised Statutes, 1876. Amendments can be traced through succeeding editions of these consolidations to about 1990” (Henderson, 2001).

Indian Act, 1876:
“The Indian Act is the Canadian federal legislation that sets out certain obligations of the federal government and includes management of Indian reserve lands (Health Canada, 2003, May). It is because of section 89 of the Indian Act that Aboriginal people are prohibited from mortgaging the land therefore collateral for bank loans to Aboriginal businesspersons is not available.

Indian Act, 1876:
“This is the Canadian federal legislation, first passed in 1876, that sets out certain federal government obligations, and regulates the management of Indian reserve lands. The act has been amended several times, most recently in 1985. Among its many provisions, the act requires the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to manage certain moneys belonging to First Nation First Nations and Indian lands, to approve or disallow First Nations by-laws” (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 2000).

Indian Act, 1876:
“The Indian Act, first passed in 1876, was designed to facilitate the administration of programs to Indians, as well as the assimilation of Indians into mainstream Canadian society. In includes definitions of who was an 'Indian,' and how such status could be gained or lost. We can identify two broad legal categories of Aboriginal peoples: those with Indian 'status,' and those without” (Waldram, Herring, & Young, 1995, p. 10).

Back to Top

Indian and Inuit Health Careers Program:

Indian and Inuit Nurses of Canada, 1975:
(see Aboriginal Nurses Association)

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC):

Indian and Northern Health Service (INHS):

Back to Top
Indian agent:
“The Indian Agent system was a quasi military approach to handling the administration of Indian affairs. Although agents were used by the colonial government prior to confederation, the era of the ‘Indian agent’ really commenced after the treaties were signed in 1871 (Waldram, et al. 1995, p. 154).
Back to Top

Indian band:

Indian corn "maize":
(see maize)

Back to Top
Indian Diploma Nursing Program (IDNP):
“The Indian Diploma Nursing Program (IDNP) at Saskatchewan Indian Federation College (SIFC) was a Program for Nursing within First Nations, developed and delivered in partnership with First Nations Communities, First Nations Health Services, Medical Services Branch, University of Saskatchewan, College of Nursing” (SIFC, 2003).
Back to Top
Indian Health Policy (1979):
“In 1979, the federal government unveiled its new Indian Health Policy.
Central to this new policy was the belief that a simple increase in health programs and services would not result in a substantial improvement in health status. What was required was increased input by Aboriginal peoples themselves. Further more the policy emphasized that spiritual health was as important as physical health, thus setting the stage for the emergences of traditional health services” (Waldram, Herring, Young, 1995, p. 234).
Back to Top
Indian Health Transfer Policy:
(see Health Transfer Policy)
Back to Top

Indian reserve:
“Land set aside by the federal government for the use and occupancy of an Indian group or band” (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 2000).

Indian reservation:
“American term for reserve”

Back to Top
Indian status:
“An individual’s legal status as an Indian, as defined by the Indian Act” (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 2000).
Back to Top
“Indian time”:
The concept of time is a cultural difference. Appointments fit the Anglo-Saxon world where time governs all activities, but often Aboriginal people view time as being like a river, flowing in a continuum that make scheduled appointments hard to keep”
Back to Top
“The Australian governments perceived deliberate attempt to wipe out the Aborigines and their culture” (Evans & Thorpe, 2001).
Back to Top


Indigenous Peoples:
“Indigenous peoples are peoples whom: …on account of their descent from the populations which inhabited the country, or a geographical region to which the country belongs, at the time of conquest or colonization or the establishment of present state boundaries and who, irrespective of their legal status, retain some or all of their own social, economic, cultural and political institutions” (International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 169, June, 1989, as cited in International Council of Nurses, 2003).

Indigenous peoples:
“The term “indigenous” usually refers to Aboriginal people who are from other parts of the world, not Canada. The terms “Aboriginal” and “indigenous” have been used interchangeably throughout Forging New Relationships and are meant to convey inclusion of all Aboriginal peoples as part of the University’s overall initiative’ (University of Saskatchewan, 2003).

Indigenous Peoples' Health Research Centre, (IPHRC), Regina, SK: “Indigenous Peoples' Health Research Centre, is located in Regina, Saskatchewan. This research program is led by the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, in partnership with the Universities of Regina and Saskatchewan. It takes a holistic approach, focusing on 4 areas: (1) chronic disease, nutrition, and lifestyle; (2) indigenous or traditional healing methods for addictions, including fetal alcohol syndrome, and mental health; (3) health delivery and control, including ethics, community development, and governance; and (4) environmental health” (Reading & Nowgesic, 2002, p. 1399-1400).

Back to Top
infant mortality rate (IMR):
“Relates to the number of deaths in the 0-1 year of life in a population. Infant mortality rate is often cited as an indicator of development. The infant mortality rate can be further broken down into neonatal mortality rate. Neonatal mortality rate is associated with medical care measures and post natal mortality rate with socio-economical conditions” (Woods, 2003).
Back to Top

infectious diseases:
“Infectious refers to a disease cause by micro-organisms, such as bacteria or viruses. Not all infectious diseases are ‘contagious’ in the non-technical sense of the word, meaning easily passed from person to person” (Waldram, Herring, & Young, 1995, p. 74).

infectious diseases:
“There are four major factors that historically led infectious diseases to gain prominence in human populations: sufficiently large population size to enable some infections to become established and others to be amplified; social conditions, such as crowding and poor hygiene, which increased the opportunity for diseases to be spread from person to person; undernutrition, which increased overall susceptibility to disease; and close contact with animals, domesticated or not, which were reservoirs for micro-organisms” (Waldram, Herring, & Young, 1995, p. 24).

Back to Top



Back to Top
inherent rights (self-government):
“Aboriginals believe that their right to self-government is an inherent right, a right which they have always possessed and that was given to them by the Creator. There are some important "signposts" since the arrival of European settlers which are suggested as confirmation of the aboriginal right to self-government: the Royal Proclamation of 1763, the treaties, and the Constitution Act of 1982” (Industry Canada, 2003).
Back to Top
“An act that damages or hurts; violation of another's rights for which the law allows an action to recover damages” (Merriam Webster Dictionary, 2003).

“The term ‘injuries’ has replaced ‘accidents’ in the prevention literature to highlight the health impact on the person and the existence of preventable factors in their causation (Waldram, Herring, & Young, 1995, p. 74).

“Among the most serious health problems affecting Aboriginal peoples in the decades since the end of the Second World War, particularly younger age groups, are injuries sustained as a result of accidents and violence” (Waldram, Herring, & Young, 1995, p. 88).

Back to Top

“Approximately 16,000 Innu (formerly known as Montagnais or Naskapi) inhabit Nitassinan (eastern Quebec and Labrador). They are based in 13 different communities - Utshimassit, Sheshatshiu, Pakuashipi, La Romaine, Natashquan, Mingan, Uashat, Maliotenam, Betsiamites, Les Escoumins, Mashteuiatsh, Schefferville, and Kawawachikamach” (Artic Circle, 2003).

“Naskapi and Montagnais First Nations (Indian) peoples who live in Northern Quebec and Labrador” (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 2000).

Back to Top
“Inoculation differs from vaccination in that it introduces pus or powdered scab material to induce a mild infection, but renders the individual infectious” (Lux , 2001, p. 16)
Back to Top
Institute of Aboriginal Peoples' Health (IAPH), 2000:
“The Institute of Aboriginal Peoples' Health (IAPH) was formed in 2000. CIHR was presented with the group's recommendations and subsequently launched the Institute of Aboriginal Peoples' Health (CIHR-IAPH) in early 2000” (Reading & Nowgesic, 2002, p. 1396).
Back to Top

interpreter: “translator of language”

“Specialized health care interpreters can be more effective than volunteer translators in interpreting both the words and the meaning of health information in a culturally accurate context. Verbal and non-verbal communication – between client and provider can be a barrier to accessibility of services. The use of facial expressions, body language and norms related to eye contact are examples of non-verbal communication differences that need to be understood. Listening, respecting and being open are essential” (Canadian Nurses Association, 2000).

Back to Top

“The term ‘Inuit’ replaces the term ‘Eskimo’” (Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, 1996; as cited in Browne & Smye, 2002).

“An Aboriginal people in northern Canada, who live above the tree line in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, Northern Quebec and Labrador. The word means “people” in the Inuit language — Inuktitut. The singular of Inuit is Inuk” (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 2000).

Inuit women: (see women)

Back to Top
“Inuit who live in the Western Arctic” (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 2000).
Back to Top

Iroquoian people:
“The Iroquoian people lived in sedentary agricultural villages throughout southern Ontario” (Aboriginal Women, Industry Canada, 2003).

Iroquois: (See also Six Nations)

Back to Top

ischemic heart disease (IHD):
“Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) is the leading cause of mortality in most Western countries. Hospitalizations for IHD have doubled in the Native population despite declining rates in the general population” (Shah, Hux, & Zinman, 2000).

ischemic heart disease (IHD):
“Disease of the heart organ where there is localized tissue anemia due to obstruction of the inflow of arterial blood” (Merriam–Webster Dictionary, 2003).

Back to Top
Back to Top

For the full references of works cited above, please see the Glossary References page >>

UofS Hompage