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Mental Health and Healing with the Carrier First Nation: Views of Seven Traditional Healers and Knowledge Holders

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) Ed.D.
Date created
The Carrier First Nations people are the original inhabitants of Central Northern British Columbia. Along with First Nations throughout Canada, the Carrier people have endured years of hardship as a result of European colonization. Over time, this has resulted in erosion of traditional practices and decline in overall health. The focus of this research is the mental health of Carrier First Nations. In present day, Western European mental health services are provided to Carrier people. There is ongoing concern that these services are not meeting the needs of the Carrier people because they are not provided from within a Carrier cultural framework. As a Non-First Nations mental health practitioner working in Carrier communities, the researcher has seen this struggle first hand. In efforts to understand what culturally appropriate mental health services for Carrier people are, the researcher looked to Carrier people. Using an ethnographic framework, the researcher explored Carrier First Nation views of mental health and healing through discussions with seven traditional healers and knowledge holders who live and practice in Carrier communities. The resulting data provides a rich description of Carrier worldviews with respect to health and healing. It also describes the work of traditional Carrier healers, historically, as well as in present day. While this worldview is similar to other First Nations across the country, it is uniquely Carrier. This research has implications for mental health practice in Carrier communities.
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Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Horvath, Adam O.
Thesis advisor: Schmidt, Glen
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etd8040cdobsonbrazzoni.pdf 6.63 MB

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