This invisibility of Indigenous children’s pain and hurt, and the long-term impact of under-treated pain, means we need to find alternate ways for these children to express their hurt.
We know from our early research that Western methods of pain assessment may not always be appropriate for Indigenous children. In our research, we looked for other, more culturally-safe ways for Indigenous children to express themselves.
Improving pain care
The first step to improving the pain care for Indigenous children and youth is to acknowledge that ways of expressing pain may be different, therefore ways of assessing and interpreting pain may need to be different as well.
Research participants described their pain and hurt through art and storytelling, preserving the right oral traditions of First Nations People. These sessions became a critical way for us to collect stories and hear first-hand how these experiences impacted them. This section of our website provides highlights of the stories we gathered.
“I don’t know if it’s just in our culture… we’re taught to keep our pain inward and not outward so we’re able to deal with more”
–First Nation youth
“Sometimes people can be emotionally sick and feel almost physical pain from it ”
–First Nation Elder