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Aboriginal Health &
Cultural Diversity Glossary

Aboriginal Glossary
S
Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (SIFC), 1976
Saskatoon berry
scarification
scarlet fever
scrofula “tuberculosis”
scurvy
self-determination
self-efficacy
self-government
semma “tobacco”
senior “Aboriginal”
sexually transmitted disease (STD)
sexually transmitted infection (STI)
shaking tent ceremony
shaman
shame
sharing circle
shkodawabuk (sage)
Six Nations
skyworld
smallpox
smoking “tobacco”
smudge/smudging
smudging ceremony
social justice
socioeconomic
sovereignty
Special Committee of Indian Self Governance
Spirit Dancing
spouse abuse
staple foods
starvation
status
status Indian
stereotype(s)
stigma
‘stolen generation’
substance abuse
sucking or cupping
suicide
Sun Dance (Thirst Dance)
surrender
susceptibility
sweat bathing
sweat lodge
sweet grass (Wiingashk)
 

 

S– Definitions

sachems (leaders):
“While the sachems (leaders) in Iroquoian communities were men, women selected and named them and it was the women's role to ensure that sachems exercised their responsibilities” (Aboriginal Women, Industry Canada, 2003).

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Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (SIFC), 1976
“In May 1976, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations entered into a federation agreement with the University of Regina, creating the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (SIFC). The Agreement provides for an independently administered university-college, the mission of which is to serve the academic, cultural and spiritual needs of First Nations’ students. (Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, SIFC, 2003).

Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (SIFC), 1976
“When SIFC opened its doors, in 1976, there were less than 10 students at the College. Today, the College has grown dramatically with over 1,300 students registered at SIFC” (Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, SIFC, 2003). The SIFC offers its programs and services on three campuses; Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert (Northern Campus). On June 21, 2003, name changed to First Nations University of Canada” (Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, SIFC, 2003).

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Saskatoon berry:
“The plains and parklands were a rich source of berries and wild fruits. Most important was the Saskatoon berry, which was mixed with fat and dried meat to make the pemmican that literally fuelled the fur trade” (Lux, 2001, p. 11).

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scarification:
“Scarification one of the commonest surgical practices among Aboriginal North Americans. Practiced by many groups, Morice (1900-1) reports that the Denes would sometimes treat rheumatism, local aches and sprains by scratching numerous lines on the affected limb with a sharp instrument, then applying herbs which acted as an antibiotic” (Waldram, Herring, & Young, 1995, p. 114).
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scarlet fever:
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scrofula:
“Scrofula is a 14th century word; a progressive wasting away of the body especially from pulmonary tuberculosis” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2003).

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scurvy:

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self-determination
“Self-determination is the right of a people or a group of peoples to choose their own destiny without external compulsion. It is a right to be sovereign, to be a supreme authority within a particular geographical territory. Self-government, on the other hand, is used to describe when a group of people exercise significant choices concerning their own political, cultural, economic and social affairs” (Industry Canada, 2003).
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self-efficacy:
“A recent addition to the health belief model is the concept of self-efficacy, or one's confidence in the ability successfully to perform an action; this concept was added in 1988 to help the model fit the challenges of changing habitual unhealthy behaviours, such as being sedentary, smoking, or overeating” (Rutter, 2003).
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self-government:
“The rubric of self-government is commonly seen as a fair and reasonable transition from government limitations imposed on Aboriginal communities and individuals to a modern, community-based self-actualizing form of government. This has many legal implications in terms of constitutional, legislative and jurisdictional issues: all complicated by an almost theological reliance upon a theory of "inherent rights" of self-government” (Henderson, 2001).

self-government:
“Self-government, the term, is used to describe when a group of people exercise significant choices concerning their own political, cultural, economic and social affairs” (Industry Canada, 2003).

self-government:
"Self-government is the ability of peoples to govern themselves according to their values, cultures and traditions" (Government of Saskatchewan- Government Relations and Aboriginal Affairs [GS-GRAA], 2003, par 35).

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semma “tobacco”:
“Semma (tobacco) is used to offer prayers at the Sacred Fire where you burn your Semma and tobacco ties. The Semma is also smoked in Sacred Pipes" (Canadian Health Network, 2000).
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senior “Aboriginal”:
“Not all elders are seniors, nor are all old people elders. Some are quite young. But elders have gifts of insight and understanding, as well as communication skills to pass on the collective wisdom of generations that have gone before” (Royal Commission of Aboriginal Peoples, 1996, as cited in Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 2003).

seniors “Aboriginal”:
“Seniors currently make up a relatively small proportion of the Aboriginal population in Canada but that proportion is estimated to almost triple from 1996 to 2016” (Health Canada, 2003).

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sexually transmitted disease (STD):
(see also chlamydia, gonnorrhoea, HIV infection, syphilis, venereal disease)
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sexually transmitted infection (STI):
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shaking tent or conjuring lodge:
“A widespread healing ceremony. The shaking tent ceremony had a variety of functions. Communication with the spiritual world was integral to all ceremonies, and through such contact the shaman, among other things, was able to predict the future, locate lost objects, and diagnose the cause of illness. Characteristically the shaking tent was a small often conical lodge made of branches and skin covering, in which the shaman was seated or knelt” (Waldram, Herring, & Young, 1995, p. 108-109).
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shaman:
“Ojibwe spiritual activities such as sweat-lodges and pipe ceremonies are conducted by a spiritual leader commonly called by those outside the culture as a "shaman” (Reynolds Turton, 1997).

shaman:
“Many Westerners equate the work of shaman with magic, rather than with religious experience. This characterization has led many native groups to decry the application of the term to any of its spiritual leaders or healers. The term "shaman" is not a North American Indian word, but rather is thought to originate as a transliteration of a Tunguisic word that means both "one who is excited, moved, raised" and "to know in an ecstatic manner" (Grim, 1983, p. 15, as cited in Reynolds Turton, 1997).

shaman:
“The shaman is an individual, with the ability to fall into a deep trance or ‘ecstasy’ and undertake spirit flight or summon spirits to counsel him” (Hultkrantz, 1992:17-18, as cited in Waldram, Herring, & Young, 1995, p. 103).

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shame:
“A painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety, the susceptibility to such emotion; a condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute: ignominy; something that brings censure or reproach; also something to be regretted” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2003).
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sharing circle:
“The Sharing Circle celebrates people who have embraced their dreams like the light of the sun that rises before them. Harmony, integrity, respect, pride: The Sharing Circle welcomes all” (Sharing Circle, 2003).
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Shkodawabuk (sage):
“Shkodawabuk (sage) is also used for smudging. Sage and cedar are women’s medicines. They are the only medicines that women on their moon can use to smudge with" (Canadian Health Network, 2000).
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Six Nations Reserve:
“The Six Nations Reserve in Brant County, Ontario, Canada which is located 30 km from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The Six Nations Reserve took its present form of 20,000 hectares in 1847, and is home to 10,000 Aboriginal people” (Anand, Yusuf, Jacobs, Davis, Yi, Gerstein, Montague, & Lonn, 2001).
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skyworld:
”This is the place where your spirit travels after you die” (Canadian Health Network, 2000).
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smallpox:
“An acute contagious febrile disease that is caused by a poxvirus (genus Orthopoxvirus), is characterized by a skin eruption with pustules, sloughing, and scar formation and is believed to have been eradicated globally by widespread vaccination; word origin 1518” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2003).
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Smoking “tobacco”
(Waldram, Herring, & Young, 1995, p. 84, 86).
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smudge/smudging:
”A ‘smudge’, refers to the smoke that is used to cleanse ourselves. It is meant to get rid of negativity or "bad spirits" that might be around us. According to Native tradition, a person must smudge before taking part in a sacred ceremony. Otherwise they may bring these spirits with them into the ceremony” (Canadian Health Network, 2000).
smudging ceremony:
"The smudging ceremony, in which sweetgrass, sage, cedar and/or tobacco are burned in a small bowl to create smoke, is a ritual of spiritual purification often requested by First Nation patients” (College of Nurses of Ontario, 2000, August).
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social justice:
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socioeconomic:
“Relating to, or involving a combination of social and economic factors” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2003).

socioeconomic:
“Socioeconomic characteristics of First Nations communities are: education, employment, income, housing, industrial structure, population structure, and percent speaking an Aboriginal language at home” (Kendall, 2001).

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sovereignty:
“Dominion, rule, power, control” (Thesaureus, 2003)
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Special Committee of Indian Self Governance:
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Spirit Dancing:
“A Coast Salish healing ceremony” (Waldram, Herring, & Young, 1995, p. 119).
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spouse (wife) abuse:
“Wife abuse is the physical and sexual assault, emotional and psychological intimidation, degradation, deprivation and exploitation of women by their male partners. The physical consequences can include bruises, broken bones, disfigurement, even death. Less visible are the painful emotional and psychological scars” ” (Family Violence, Situation Paper, Government of Canada, 1991, as cited in Health Canada, 2003).
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Staple foods: see diet >>
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starvation: see diet >>
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status: see Indian Act >>
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status Indian “registered”:
“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" (Bellfy, 2001, p. 11).
Status Indian:
“An Indian person who is registered under the Indian Act. The act sets out the requirements for determining who is a Status Indian” (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 2000).
status Indian “registered”, “treaty”:
“Some of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada signed treaties with the British and Canadian governments. These individuals are often referred to as ‘treaty Indians. A ‘treaty Indian’ is always a status or registered Indian. However, the converse is not always true: there are many registered Indians in Canada who are not ‘treaty’ (Waldram, Herring, & Young, 1995, p. 10).
status Indian
“The Indian Act, first passed in 1876, 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).
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stereotype(s):
“To repeat without variation; to develop a mental stereotype about [syn: pigeonhole, stamp]” (WWWebster, Online).
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stigma:
“a mark of shame or discredit; a symbol of disgrace or infamy” (WWWebster, Online).

stigma:
“Every culture attaches a special meaning to certain diseases. Stigma is attached to certain diseases which are linked to the violation of social norms of behaviour or normality” (Woods, 2003).

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‘stolen generation’:
“In Australia, one of the greatest assaults on Aboriginal cultural and family life was the forced separation of Aboriginal children from their families. This occurred from the late 1800s to 1969 when the practice officially ended. The many thousands of children taken have become known as the 'Stolen Generations'” (NSWALC, 2002).
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substance abuse: (See alcohol and substance abuse?)

substance abuse:
“Substance Abuse is defined as the overindulgence in and dependence on a stimulant, depressant, or other chemical substance leading to effects that are detrimental to the individual’s physical or mental health, or the welfare of others” (Glanze, Anderson & Anderson, 1990, p. 1128).

substance abuse:
“Excessive use of a drug (as alcohol, narcotics, or cocaine): use of a drug without medical justification” (Merriam Webster Dictionary, 2003).

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sucking or cupping:
“A practice common to Plains-Cree Indians where the curer sucks on one part of the body to remove something lodged in another part. Fine day describes sucking more generally with the passing of hands by the doctor over the body or the laying of hands on the body of a sick person and feeling where the sickness is. When the spot is located, they take a buffalo horn, put some sweet grass in it, put an amber on it and clap it over the place. It sucks out the matter and has to be taken odd sideways. You can see a yellow stuff in the horn after it is taken off” (Waldram, Herring, & Young, 1995, p. 106-108).
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suicide:
“The act or an instance of taking one's own life voluntarily and intentionally; one that commits or attempts suicide” (Marriam-Webster Dictionary, 2003).
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Sun Dance [Dakota] (Thirst Dance [Cree]):
“The Sun Dancing of the Plains Indians was also subjected to the both legislative and formal discouragements by government and by the churches. This dance also known as the ‘Thirst Dance’ was a multi-day ceremony held in the summer to honour the sun and other spirits” (Waldram, Herring, & Young, 1995, p. 119).
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surrender:
“A formal agreement by which a First Nation consents to give up part or all of its rights a reserve. Reserve lands can be surrendered for sale or for lease, on certain conditions” (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 2000).
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susceptibility:
“the ability to be affected by factors contributing to a particular health condition” (Clark, 1996, p. 101).
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sweat bathing:
“According to Lopatin (1960) sweat bathing is common to many societies throughout the world, including those in other Nordic, areas such as Russia, and Scandinavia” (Waldram, Herring, & Young, 1995, p. 110).
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sweat lodge:
“A sweat lodge is a small hut made of willow which is bent to form a dome and then covered with robes or pine boughs. Sweetgrass is burned inside and tobacco is offered and water is sprinkled on the hot stones to make steam. Prayers rise up with the steam. Sweat lodges also have therapeutic value to treat specific illnesses. Herbs and roots are sprinkled on the stones to create a healing steam. The heat also releases active ingredients from the willow branches and pine boughs, creating a soothing mist that is beneficial for respiratory problems” (Lux, 2001, p. 77).

sweat lodge:
"The sweat lodge is used mainly for communal prayer purposes, but may also provide necessary ceremonial settings for spiritual healing, purification, as well as fasting" (RCMP, 2003, 43).

sweat lodges:
“A sweat lodge is a common healing tradition, even more common than the shaking tent. The function of the sweat lodge for North American Aboriginal peoples was multifaceted: it was used for purposes of prayer, to maintain health, and to address particular health problems or social concerns. The sweat lodge is built in the shape of a rough hemisphere, three or four feet in diameter. The frame is usually of willow branches and is covered with cowskins and robes. In the centre of the floor is, a small hole is fug out, in which are to be placed red hot stones” (Waldram, Herring, & Young, 1995, p. 110).

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sweetgrass (see Wiingashk):
“Wiingashk (Sweetgrass) represents the hair of mother earth, so it is often braided. Wiingashk is known for its beautiful aroma when people use it for cleansing. They do this by lighting the braid on the end, producing a smoke that is used to cleanse and purify" (Canadian Health Network, 2000).
sweetgrass:
“Holy, or Seneca, grass” (Dictionary.com online, 2003).
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For the full references of works cited above, please see the Glossary References page >>

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