M – Definitions
“Mad as a hatter”
“Few people who use the phrase “mad as a hatter” today
realise that there’s a story of human suffering behind
it; the term actually derives from an early industrial occupational
disease. Felt hats were once very popular in North America
and Europe; an example is the top hat. The best sorts were
made from beaver fur, but cheaper ones used furs such as rabbit
instead. A complicated set of processes was needed to turn
the fur into a finished hat. With the cheaper sorts of fur,
an early step was to brush a solution of a mercury compound—usually
mercurous nitrate—on to the fur to roughen the fibres
and make them mat more easily. Finishing processes included
steaming the hat to shape and ironing it. In all these steps,
hatters working in poorly ventilated workshops would breathe
in the mercury compounds and accumulate the metal in their
bodies. We now know that mercury is a cumulative poison that
causes kidney and brain damage” (Quinion, 2003).
“Although mercury may have been good for making felt hats, it
turned out to be the cause of what became commonly known
as the Hatter's Disease or mercury poisoning. What are the symptoms
of mercury poisoning? Depression, mood swings, temper tantrums,
loss of motor control, schizoid tendencies, and brain damage,
just to name a few. In short, it causes one to appear quite "mad." No
doubt making hats was considered to be a profession fraught
with madness before medical science was able to determine the
source of the problem. It was not until 1941 that the use of
mercury was banned from the hat industry in the United States” (West,
maize “Indian corn”:
“The Spanish word maize from 1555; Indian corn” (Merriam-Webster
maize “Indian corn”:
“By 3,000 B.C., a primitive type of corn was being grown in
the river valleys of New Mexico and Arizona. Then the first
signs of irrigation began to appear, and by 300 B.C., signs
of early village life” (An Outline of American History,
maize “Indian corn”:
“It is not known exactly when maize entered the diet or became
a widely cultivated food source, but the combined results of
carbon isotope and archaeological analysis indicate that maize
consumption increased significantly between AD 500 and 1200” (Waldram,
Herring, & Young, 1995, p. 32).
“Malnutrition is often associated with land displacement
and contamination of
food supplies” (ICN, 2003).
“Faulty and especially inadequate nutrition; word malnutrition
dates back to only 1862” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary,
”Relegated to a marginal position within a society or
group; word origin 1970” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary,
“Matrilineal is a term meaning that descent is traced
through the female line” (Aboriginal Women, Industry
Medical Services Branch (MSB), 1962:
“In 1962, the Medical Services Branch (MSB) was formed
by merging Indian Health and Northern Health Services with
federal field services. In 2000, the Medical Services Branch
(MSB) was renamed the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch
(FNIHB)” (Health Canada - First Nations and Inuit Health
“Medicalization remains the predominant ideology underlying
current health policies and services in Aboriginal services
today” (Royal Commission of Aboriginal Peoples, 1996,
as cited in Browne & Smye, 2002).
“Aboriginals understand this term in the traditional sense where
it means each person enjoys power flowing directly from spiritual
and natural sources. However, the term connotes images of
doctors, hospitals and pills” (Kuptana 1994:106; as cited in
medicine ‘bad medicine’:
“Illness may be interpreted as a result of "bad medicine" (sorcery)
or "wishing someone ill” (Reynolds, 1993; Garro,
1990; as cited in Reynolds Turton, 1997).
|‘medicine chest’ clause:
“The only Treaty which specifically mentions medical
care is Treaty six, which contains two clauses: “That
in the events hereafter of the Indians comprised within this
being overtaken by any pestilence or by a general famine, the
Queen, on being satisfied and certified thereof, by her Indian
Agent or Agents, will grant to the Indians , assistance of
such character as to extent as here chief Superintendent of
Indian affairs shall deem necessary and sufficient to relieve
the Indians of the calamity that shall have befallen them.
And, that a Medicine chest shall be kept at the house of the
Indian agent for the use and benefit of the Indians at the
discretion of the Agent” (Waldram, Herring, & Young,
1995, p. 143).
“The term ‘medicine man’ denotes a healer “who
has supernatural sanctions to make a person well and whom follows
supernatural dictates in his healing activities” (Hultkrantz,
1992:17-18, as cited in Waldram, Herring, & Young, 1995,
“The medicine shield is an expression of the unique gifts
that it's maker wishes to impart about his or her current life
This can be a new level of personal growth, or illustrate the
next mountain a person wishes to climb. Every shield carries
medicine through it's art and self-expression. Each shield
is the essence of a time and space that carries certain aspects
of knowledge. All persons carry shields of the lessons they
learned from the four directions on the medicine wheel. They
are the healing tools we give ourselves to sooth the spirit
and empower the will. The truth needs no explanation, just
reflection. This allows intuition to guide the heart so that
humankind may celebrate more than it mourns” (Native
American Spirituality, 2003).
“The Medicine Wheel is an ancient North American Native
symbol that stands for "the sacredness of four" (Canadian
Health Network, 2003).
“The Medicine Wheel is representative of American Indian
Spirituality. The Medicine Wheel symbolizes the individual
journey we each
must take to find our own path. Within the Medicine Wheel
are The Four Cardinal Directions and the Four Sacred Colors.
The Circle represents the Circle of Life and the Center of
the Circle, the Eternal Fire. The Eagle, flying toward the
East, is a symbol of strength, endurance and vision. East
signifies the renewal of life and the rebirth of Cherokee
unity” (Native American Spirituality, 2003).
“The medicine wheel is a symbol for the wheel of life which
is forever evolving and bringing new lessons and truths to
the walking of the path. The Earthwalk is based on the understanding
that each one of us must stand on every spoke, on the great
wheel of life many times, and that every direction is to
be honored. Until you have walked in others' moccasins, or
stood on their spokes of the wheel, you will never truly
know their hearts” (Native American Spirituality, 2003).
“The medicine wheel teaches us that all lessons are equal,
as are all talents and abilities. Every living creature will
one day see and experience each spoke of the wheel, and know
those truths. It is a pathway to truth, peace and harmony.
The circle is never ending, life without end” (Native
American Spirituality, 2003).
“The Ojibwe cultural image of balance is the medicine wheel.
Within this wheel, each aspect of being is situated in perfect
balance with all other aspects. Each direction and its associated
plants, spirits, animals, colors, minerals, and "ages
of man" (ie, childhood, adolescence, young adulthood,
elder) are balanced by those of the other directions” (Reynolds
“The Natives believed “all people and creatures are
equally important in this perfect circle of understanding
growth and connectedness. Like the Medicine Wheel which represents
life itself, learning is a continuous everchanging process
of growth” (Medicine Wheel, n.d.).
medicine wheel as an assessment tool:
“Health care professionals can assist families in viewing
the four dimensions on the medicine wheel, and can facilitate
reclaiming harmony as individuals, family and community members.
The Medicine wheel can be used as an assessment tool throughout
the interviews phases” (Napoli & Gonzalez-Smith,
“An infectious disease that strikes particularly hard
at Aboriginal communities is ‘meningitis’, an infection of the
lining of the brain which can have serious often fatal consequences” (Waldram,
Herring, & Young, 1995, p. 79).
“Mental disorder includes mental illness, mental subnormality,
psychopathology and any other disorder or disability of the
mind” (Mental Health Act, United States, 1959, cited
in Prins, 1981, p. 421).
“A mental disorder is a substantial disorder of thought,
mood perception, orientation, or memory that grossly impairs
behavior, capacity to recognize reality, or ability to meet
the ordinary demands of life” (Mental Health Act of Alberta,
“Mental health includes normal behavior, absence of mental
disease, adjustment to the environment, a perception of reality
personality integration” (Scheller-King & Finneran,
1982, p. 58).
“Mental health is a difficult concept to define. There
is, however, some agreement in the literature that mental
is evident in the following personal characteristics: self-awareness
and accurate self-perception; self-actualization (realizing
one's full potential); autonomy (independence in thought
and action); accurate perception of reality; commitment;
possession of "mastery" skills (social and occupational
ability to deal with the environment); and openness and flexibility “ (Health
“Mental illness refers to the behaviour of a person who
displays some or all of the following characteristics: social
impaired reasoning or intellectual functioning; disorders of
thinking, memory or orientation; delusions or disorders of
perception; exaggerated, inappropriate or otherwise impaired
emotional responsiveness; impaired judgment or impulse control;
and unrealistic self-appraisal. Unlike the diagnosis of most
physical disorders, diagnosis of a mental illness does not
often imply a specific cause” (Health Canada, 2003).
“The Métis are mixed "Indian" and European
descent” (Bellfy, 2001, p. 11).
"The term refers to Aboriginal people of mixed First Nation
and European ancestry who identify themselves as Métis
people, as distinct from First Nations people, Inuit or non-Aboriginal
people. The Métis have a unique culture that draws on
their diverse ancestral origins, such as Scottish, French,
Ojibway and Cree" (Government of Saskatchewan- Government
Relations and Aboriginal Affairs [GS-GRAA], 2003, ¶ 28).
“People of mixed and European ancestry who identify themselves
as Métis people, as distinct from First Nations people,
Inuit or non-Aboriginal people. The Métis have a unique
culture that draws on their diverse ancestral origins, such
as Scottish, French, Ojibway and Cree” (Indian and
Northern Affairs Canada, 2000).
“The Métis are a post-contact phenomenon with roots in
both the northern Aboriginal (Cree, Ojibwa, Chipewyan) and
European cultures (especially French). Métis were the
product of intermarriage between Aboriginal peoples and fur
traders throughout the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth
centuries. Out of these relationships, a distinctive Aboriginal
culture emerged (Waldram, Herring, & Young, 1995, p. 10).
missionary activities (Jesuits):
“Disciple, follower or messenger” (Thesaurus, 2003)
model(s): (See theories,
Mohawk women: (see women)
“Morbidity is the ratio of the number of cases of disease or
condition to a given population. Morbidity is described in
terms of incidence or prevalence rates” (Clark, 1996,
“Morbidity is defined as the state of ill-health produced by
a disease” (Dictionary of Epidemiology, 2002).
“Mortality is defined as the ratio of the number of deaths
in various categories to a given population. Mortality rates
deaths” (Clark, 1996, p. 101).
“Mortality is defined as the per capita death rate in a population.
The mortality rate is the reciprocal of the population life
expectancy” ” (Dictionary of Epidemiology, 2002).
“Vecsey emphasized the importance and validity of myths
in the following definition: “A mythological corpus consists
of (1) a usually complex network of myths which are (2) culturally
important (3) imaginal (4) stories, conveying by means of (5)
metamorphic and symbolic diction, (6) graphic imagery, and
(7) emotional conviction and participation, (8) the primal,
foundational accounts (9) of the real, experienced world, and
(10) humankind's roles and relative statuses within it.(p2)” (Reynolds
“The prominent themes from Ojibwe myths are as follows: "all
life must be honored; the quality of life for one order depends
on another; take life but not in anger; life for one means
death for another. By honoring death, life itself is honored.
Animal beings deserve life. They deserve honor"  (p57)” (Reynolds
For the full
references of works cited above, please see the Glossary
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