At the Alzheimer Society of Canada, it is important that we commemorate and acknowledge this tragic and painful history, the intergenerational trauma and the continued impact of Canada's residential school legacy as we build towards reconciliation.
We acknowledge Canada’s colonial past and continued systemic influences that have eroded communities and destroyed ways of life, knowing and connection to the land
We must work to ensure history never repeats itself by respecting and supporting Indigenous land claims, Indigenous rights, culture and self-determination and governance.
The effects of colonialization and the legacy of residential schools are significantly felt as part of the social determinants of Indigenous health. When health is viewed through a holistic lens, we understand how the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual work together to achieve optimal wellness and balance.
Dementia in Indigenous communities is affected by the historical and continued impact of colonialism
As Indigenous researchers Dr. Jennifer D. Walker and Dr. Lindsay Crowshoe have noted, “It is critical … to comprehend that dementia is influenced by intergenerational social traumas experienced as pervasive poverty, accumulative psychosocial adversities, racism, cultural genocide and social exclusion.”
And while in Canada there is no Indigenous word for dementia, its presence has become a growing concern as more people are living longer and, in some case, getting dementia at younger ages.
As Canada works towards reconciliation for the effects of the residential school system, we also honor the resistance and resilience of Indigenous communities, and we stand by them to support healthy living and healthy aging.
“Education is what got us into this mess, and education will get us out.” - The Honourable Murray Sinclair
The Alzheimer Society of Canada is recognizing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a day to reflect and learn
On September 30th, Alzheimer Society of Canada staff will take the day to continue our ongoing education, and we encourage others to do the same as well.
A good place to start is the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR). NCTR is a place of learning and dialogue where the truths of the residential school experience will be honoured and kept safe for future generations.
Helpful information and resources
Here are more resources you can use to learn more about the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada, and how dementia affects Indigenous Communities in Canada:
- Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action.
- Read the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Calls for Justice.
- Read the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- Learn about residential schools and take a tour of former sites, such as those offered by the Woodland Cultural Centre.
- Research First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in your area to understand their history and contributions to society.
- For people living in Manitoba, Ontario or Quebec, learn more about the Honour treaties and the history of the land you live on.
Books and film
- The Toronto Public Library has curated a list of Indigenous must-read books.
- The National Film Board of Canada has also compiled Indigenous-made films available to stream.
Information on dementia in Indigenous Communities
- Indigenous Cognition & Aging Awareness Research Exchange (I-CAARE): International Indigenous Research Dementia Network
- National Collaboration Centre for Indigenous Health (NCCIH): Webinar: Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias in Indigenous Populations
- Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC): NWAC Toolkit: Addressing Dementia Related Stigma with Indigenous Specific Strategies
- Alzheimer’s Association: Canadian Indigenous Cognitive Assessment (CICA)
- Cambridge University Press: Cultural Understandings of Dementia in Indigenous Peoples