Facilities accomadating sucided in 1945
Black psychologists have identified constructionism as a culturally relevant paradigm that goes beyond redefinition of Eurocentic models for use among people of color (or oppressed peoples) but that constructs unique psychological models and practices from the homogenous individual cultural and historical experiences of oppressed peoples (Jones, 1998). To this end, I would like to outline several key elements researchers, educators, practitioners and policy-makers must consider in enhancing the psychological well-being of First Nations peoples. That the protection was in their "best interests" does not alter the reality that they were designated as a separate legal class of persons - minors in law - with all the attendant disabilities of that status.Accordingly, they were physically isolated, segregated, relocated and institutionalised.Indigenous people are just as much a part of the complex modern world as any of us, and Indigenous psychologies are equally complex and important. They may not look like our psychologies; they may be different, they may be unique, but they must be nurtured, respected and allowed to emerge. We cannot regard this behaviour as merely a part of the national youth suicide problem.To do so will certainly obfuscate this particular issue, would probably bury it, and would culminate soon enough in a regret or lament that yet another costly national approach to "prevention" or alleviation had failed to "take" in Aboriginal communities.
In other words, our mental health frameworks, when applied among First peoples, may result in further trauma and perpetuate, rather than address, their problems. I call on psychologists to take a leading role in promoting evidence-based, culturally relevant mental health practices that emerge from a constructionist framework rooted in Indigenous psychologies. There is little question that mental and physical health are top priorities for Indigenous and First Nations' peoples' well-being globally. Ask First peoples themselves: On a National Aboriginal Health Association survey undertaken in Canada (Silversides, 2010), Inuit, Metis and other First Nations peoples identified mental health and substance abuse among their top five health issues (with cancer, diabetes and diet and nutrition). Indian Health Service consistently reports that suicide rates are much higher (i.e., up to 70% higher) among American Indians and Alaska Natives than the general population, particularly for young men and boys (see IHS suicide prevention website). Their biological, cultural, political, economic and social lives were regulated by state and church "gatekeepers", mostly in secret, with permit systems to keep Aborigines in and outsiders out of the areas known as reserves or missions.Regardless of regional, linguistic, tribal, clan, and "degrees-of-blood" differences, Aborigines were, and are, perceived as one people.
Keep in mind that globally, there is wide diversity among First Nations' peoples and their cultures.