AIDS in Aboriginal People from Canada

August 25, 2008 at 3:06 pm | Posted in Blogging, Health | Leave a comment
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A very interesting post from the blog “Back on this side of the door“. The author, Meghan J. Ward, explains some facts about the situation of the AIDS in Canada:

As I take a break from writing an essay for AIDS, Power and Poverty, the last of the assignments I will ever write for my minor in International Development Studies, I can’t help but want to express to you something that has really convicted me. As many of you know, I am an active advocate for raising awareness and funds for HIV-related issues in Africa. However, I recently became convicted of my lack of personal knowledge about issues with HIV in Canada. While HIV rates are increasing on the whole within Canada, research led me to an interest in Canada’s First Nations populations, a sector of Canadian society that has already been ravaged by high suicide rates, unemployment rates, a lack of adequate housing, and alcoholism, to name only a few. Is this the Canada you know?

To give you some data that I am currently using for my paper, Aboriginal groups make up approximately 3.3% of the total population of Canada, however, they represent 5-8 percent of people currently living with HIV in Canada (2,3). Furthermore, in 2002, aboriginal people comprised 6-12 percent of the new infections found in Canada (2). The Assembly of First Nations projects that infections in the aboriginal community actually represents 16% of new infections (1). Faced with these numbers one finds a dire situation occurring in the First Nations communities in Canada. But these are only numbers, and numbers are not completely accurate, so let us remember that there are people behind the statistics who feel and think and emote just like everyone else.

As the 2006 World AIDS Day approached, Dr. Pierre Duplessis, Secretary-General of the Canadian Red Cross, brought the news about HIV back into focus in the Canadian context:

“It is a devastating reality that Canadian aboriginal communities are plagued by HIV infection rates mirroring some of those in developing countries. We are responding to this global pandemic around the world and see the effects of it on communities around the world, but we are also deeply concerned about our on First Nations communities in Canada.” (4)

Likewise, I am deeply concerned about our First Nations communities and so I am extending that concern to you, as awareness is the first step to taking serious action in the face of such devastation. That is the sole purpose of this entry – maybe you knew all this already, but if you did not, now you do. What you will do with that knowledge is up to you.

(1) AFN. (n.d.). Fact Sheet: The Reality for First Nations in Canada. Retrieved February 28, 2007, from click here.

(2) Health Canada. (2006). First Nations and Inuit Health: HIV and AIDS. Retrieved February 28, 2007, from click here.

(3) PHAC. (2003). HIV/AIDS Among Aboriginal Persons in Canada: A Continuing Concern. Retrieved February 27,2007, from click here.

(4) Canadian Red Cross. (November 28, 2006). Canadian Red Cross calls for awareness of HIV rates among First Nations. Retrieved February 28, 2007, from click here.

© Meghan J. Ward, 2007

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Talking Alaska

April 1, 2008 at 7:30 pm | Posted in Alaska, Blogging | Leave a comment
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This is the title for an interesting blog I discovered yestarday: Talking Alaska. It is written by Dr. Gary Holton, a research for the Alaska Native Languages Center. Here you have the blog presentation:

Welcome to Talking Alaska!

This blog covers topics related to Alaska Native languages, including language documentation, language revitalization, language activism, and language endangerment. We may touch on other related topics as well. Guest authors are welcome; contact the admin if you would like to contribute.

We are now well into the 21st century, and all of Alaska’s twenty indigenous (Native) languages are extremely endangered. The knowledge of the Elders risks being lost as young people in Alaska grow up speaking English, with little or no knowledge of the languages of the ancestors.

This is not a new situation. The decline of Alaska Native languages and the shift to English began shortly after the purchase of Alaska from Russia. As the The first General Agent of Education in Alaska, Sheldon Jackson began implementing English-only policies as early as 1884, believing that Native languages were an impediment to educational progress in the state. It was nearly one hundred years before the devastating legacy of these policies began to be reversed with the passage of the Alaska Bilingual Education Act on June 9, 1972. The remainder of the 1970s saw a surge of interest in Alaska Native language work, with many speakers learning to document and teach their Native languages. The decade culminated with the production of Talking Alaska, a series of ten 30-minute videos exploring the “priceless heritage of Alaska’s Native languages.”

The 21st century has seen a resurgence of interest in Alaska Native languages and Native language revitalization. Language programs have been started across the state, ranging from intensive summer language institutes to public immersion language schools. A new generation of speakers — many of the second language speakers — is emerging. These efforts provide testimony that Alaskans have recognized the “priceless heritage of Alaska’s Native language.”

A really think that Internet is a very useful tool for minorities, as it gives them the freedom to communicate annd claim for their rights to the whole world, and this is what this blog is doing. It is now om my RSS reader, so both you and me will keep in touch with them 🙂

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