Key Findings

DemographicsDemographics

  • 13, 735 people in Hamilton report Aboriginal ancestry (Census 2006) - likely a significant underestimation
  • First Nation’s people represent 2.8% of Hamilton’s population
  • OHC population much younger than general population
  • 51% report being Registered Indians (Indian Act)
  • 95% most often speak English at home



Social Determinants of Health

  • First Nation people have less access to the social determinants of health
  • Structural & institutional inequalities can’t be solved at individual level - policy, practice & legal changes needed


Housing Impacts Health

“I live entirely off food banks, that’s where nutrition comes in, no choice over food…”

  • 90% moved at least once in 5 years - vastly higher than non Natives
  • 50% have moved 3 or more times
  • 13% report being homeless or in ‘transition’
  • 74% live in crowded conditions (using Stats Canada definition)

Housing is inadequate and in disrepair

  • 70% people live in poorest neighbourhoods in Hamilton (3% general pop.)

High mobility tied to a cycle of poverty

  • 63% give up important things - food - to afford housing
  • 22% report they do not have enough to eat
  • Stresses families, health, interferes with employment and education


Education / Employment

  • Low levels of formal education:
  • 57% First Nations adults over 18 completed some high school
  • 20% report completing high school
  • 5%  completed some/all university
  • Women trend to more education


Income & Employment:

  • 28% income from wages & salaries,  8% from self-employment
  • 69% provincial/municipal social assistance, 10% EI, 17% Child Tax Benefits,
  • 13% other income sources
  • 18% earn less than $4,999,  22% between $5,000 & $15,000,
  • 15% earn between $15,000 &  $20,000   
  • Only 22% earn over $20,000 (compared to 57% of Hamilton residents)  
  • Only 2% First Nations in highest income quartile


Striking Levels of Poverty

  • Housing & food instability
  • Lower levels of education & employment
  • Less access to public transportation - impacts employment/inclusion
  • Poorer health status - more chronic illnesses
  • Racism, social exclusion & discrimination
  • Unequal access to health, supports & services
  • Socio-economic stressors likely to be under reported


Impact of Colonization

Legacy of colonization & residential schools  impacts health, wellbeing & family cohesion

  • 6% participants were students at residential schools  
  • 40% have family member who were at residential schools
  • 65% felt personal negative impacted
  • 34% felt negative impact as a family member
  • 40% report child protection was part of their childhood care
  • 35% report their children have been involved with child protection
  • 49% felt this has negatively affected their overall health/wellbeing

High levels of violence & abuse reported

  • Violence is part of their community - 58%
  • Violence related to crime with neighbourhood - 95%
  • Lateral violence is common amongst First Nations peers - 81%
  • Violence is related to racism & discrimination - 67%
  • Family violence is common - 60%
  • Mental/emotional abuse - 96%,
  • Physical abuse - 90%,
  • Sexual abuse - 52%
  • Women report experiencing more violence than men


Chronic Disease & Disability

First Nations people carry a greater health burden, at a younger age, & that limits functional activity

  • 16% have diabetes (3 x general pop.)
  • 26% high blood pressure (20% general population)
  • 31% have arthritis (20% general population)
  • 9% Hepatitis C (> 1% within the general population)
  • 36% report their health is ‘fair to poor’
  • 1/2 - 3/4 of adults have limitations due to illness
  • First Nations men feel their health is better than women do
  • 18% of First Nations women feel health is ‘excellent/good’
  • Compared to 61% for women within general population

Children’s Health

  • Rates of asthma for FN children twice the rate of children in general population of Hamilton
  • Higher rates of chronic ear inflections
  • 22% of parents are concern with their child’s development
  • 83% of parents took their children to a general practitioner / pediatrician in the last year
  • Wait lists are reported to be a significant barrier to care


Health Care Access

“Our health deserves appropriate and dedicated care”

  • There is an urgent need for improved health care access
  • 40% rate access to health care as ‘fair to poor’

Barriers to care reported:

  • Long waiting lists - 48%
  • Access to transportation - 35%
  • Can’t afford direct costs - 32%
  • Doctors are not available
  • Lack of trust in health care providers - 24%
  • Stigma & discrimination play a contributing role

“We need more Aboriginal people in health care, education, places where people are looking up to other people.  More native role models.”


Emergency Room Use

First Nations people are more likely to use Emergency Room for acute & non-acute illness

  • 50% report using ER in past year (22% general Hamilton population)
  • 11% had more than 6 visits per year  (<2% general population)
  • ER use is consistent for both children and adults

Children less likely to be admitted

  • Compared to non native children in Hamilton - have lower rates of admission
  • With comparable or more severe symptoms of illness
  • Raises the question: “Is there a systemic bias toward admitting non-native children?”


Challenges & Strengths

Main challenges people identified

  • Drugs & alcohol are major concerns - 68%
  • Housing - 61%  
  • Crime, poverty & employment - 60%

Community strengths

  • Strong family values - 53%
  • Awareness of First Nations culture - 41%
  • Community health programs/ traditional ceremonies - 38%
  • Presence of elders within community - 36%
  • Social connections within the community - 35%

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Cultural Identity

  • Community has a strong sense of identity as First Nations people
  • Over 93% of people feel it is import/very import for their children learn their language & culture
  • 94% of parents feel including children in traditional cultural events was very/somewhat important
  • 1/3 people report using traditional medicine
  • Hamilton’s First Nations community has remarkable cultural continuity, resilience & hope - despite alarming inequalities

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