On June 21st, CMHA Waterloo Wellington joins individuals and organizations across Canada in celebrating National Aboriginal Day. This annual event is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. The Canadian Constitution recognizes these three groups as Aboriginal peoples, also known as Indigenous Peoples, each with their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.
Ontario has the largest Aboriginal population in the country, accounting for 21 percent of Canada’s total Aboriginal people. And according to the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres (OFIFC), Aboriginal explanations of mental health and illness differ from Western definitions, which tend to focus on pathology, dysfunction or coping behaviours that are rooted in the individual person. Aboriginal mental health is relational; strength and security are derived from family and community. The OFIFC states that in the Aboriginal community good mental health is holistic and interconnected with the life cycle and a continuum of care. This includes the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of well-being, with the understanding that good mental health cannot exist in the absence of the other three aspects.
To learn more about National Aboriginal Day, visit the event website.