First Nation Model on HIV/AIDS and the immune system
D M Everette
Anishinaabe Mino-Ayaawin, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Issues: The HIV/AIDS pandemic continues to grow and threaten Aboriginal
Peoples throughout the world. The last decade has seen a steady rise in Aboriginal AiDS cases in Canada. Some studies have shown that as many as 20% of 16,000 cases in this country may be Aboriginal. Infection rates in Aboriginal women and two-spirited (gay) people are rising rapidly. The economic and social power imbalance between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in the country plagues our communities with a host of social problems. HIV is rapidly becoming one of them. Studies in mainstream society also show that instances of HIV infection occur more frequently where poverty, violence, drug abuse and alcoholism are present. The high degree of movement of Aboriginal people between inner cities and rural on-reserve areas may bring the risk of HIV infection to even the most remote First Nation Communities.
Description: The proposed First Nation model will present the immune system and its components by unfolding two stories simultaneously: The first story provides the medical version and the second story correlates it to a First Nation version. In the First Nation version, the model consists of story telling from the traditional Plains Ojiway perspective but it is adaptable to any First Nation or Indigenous people teachings. The model is a teaching tool and it can be used in providing HIV and AIDS prevention and education as well as an understanding for care and support.
Lessons learned: The participants will gain an understanding of the role of the immune system specifically when infected with HIV. The participants will also learn about the Plains Ojibway traditional stories and how they can incorporate their own Indigenous teachings.
Recommendations: It is recommended that any Indigenous group can adapt this teaching tool and apply their own traditional teaching to HIV/AIDS programs