The geographies of Indigenous health

Authored by: Chantelle A. M. Richmond , Katie Big-Canoe

Routledge Handbook of Health Geography

Print publication date:  June  2018
Online publication date:  June  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138098046
eBook ISBN: 9781315104584
Adobe ISBN:


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The geographies of Indigenous health is a relatively new sub-discipline of critical human geography. The fields of health geography and Indigenous geography explicitly influence this emerging research area, as both have identified the need for research to examine the complex and changing relationship between Indigenous peoples’ health and the environment. Key questions asked by researchers in this area of health geography include: How is the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples and communities shaped by the environments within which they live? What processes are affecting the health and environments of Indigenous peoples, and how so? And can Indigenous engagement in research support positive change for Indigenous well-being and environmental protection? While the field of health geography has provided important theoretical frameworks for exploring the complexity of health and its multiple inter-related determinants, including the ways health may be shaped by current and historical processes (Kearns and Gesler, 1998; Luginaah, 2009), Indigenous geography supports a methodological imperative that places Indigenous communities and their concerns at the forefront of research about Indigenous health determinants, most particularly those related to the environment and processes of environmental change (Coombes et al., 2011; Herman, 2008; Louis, 2007). This relatively new area of study garnering attention among geographers from around the world has its roots in the Canadian experience. This chapter places emphasis on the ways Canadian scholars have informed the development and growth of this field and on the ways it has been taken up globally.

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