Panel Presentation Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2016

Indigeneity in four countries: International Group on Indigenous Health Measurement, identification workgroup (#16)

Michele Connolly 1 , Alexandra King 2 , Kalinda Griffiths , John Waldon , Bette Jacobs
  1. International Group Indigenous Health Measurement, Columbia, Maryland, USA
  2. Lu’ma Medical Centre, Vancouver, Canada

The purpose of this proposed Interactive Panel is to better address national and global policy agendas for Indigenous people by improving how Indigenous people are identified in studies and censuses. These studies, in turn, form the basis of health policy on needs and outcomes. Indigeneity, which is based on culture, is difficult to measure statistically. Yet, such measures are critical for Indigenous people. Inaccurate, incomplete and culturally inappropriate measures may yield flawed results of little or no benefit to Indigenous communities. It is anticipated that this panel could contribute to better national and international outcomes for Indigenous people. 

The International Group on Indigenous Health Measurement (IGIHM) has members from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA. The IGIHM provides a forum for ways to improve health care measures in the four countries and around the world for Indigenous people. The Identification Workgroup in IGIHM was formed to understand how Indigenous people are identified in the four countries, including factors such as race, Tribe or community, ancestry, language, cultural ties and geography.

Specifically, panel presentations would be given from the four countries in IGIHM. Audience discussion, led by a facilitator, would be an integral part of the panel. The presentations will focus on overall identification and cultural identity, how Indigenous people are identified in each country and how we are connected across countries. For example, many countries report demographically impossible trends where more and more people identify as Indigenous, while others are reluctant to report themselves as Indigenous. Presenters will discuss specific factors in identification; such as, how measures were developed, consultation with Indigenous communities, legal issues, self-reports, cultural and community networks, language, child welfare, geography, remoteness and colonial history. Besides these factors, Indigenous identification based on recent technologies of DNA mapping and biomarkers present new challenges.

Facilitator: Bette Jacobs (USA). Panel Members: Kalinda Griffiths (Australia), Alexandra King (Canada), John Waldon (New Zealand), Michele Connolly (USA)