Deficit-Based Indigenous Health Research and the Stereotyping of Indigenous People
Health research tends to be deficit-based by nature; as researchers we typically quantify or qualify absence of health markers or presence of illness. This can create a narrative with far reaching effects for communities already subject to stigmatization. In the context of Indigenous health research, a deficit-based discourse has the potential to contribute to stereotyping and marginalization of Indigenous Peoples in wider society. This is especially true when researchers fail to explore the roots of health deficits, namely colonization, Westernization, and intergenerational trauma, risking conflation of complex health challenges with inherent Indigenous characteristics. In this paper we explore the incompatibility of deficit-based research with principles from several ethical frameworks including the Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS2) Chapter 9, OCAP® (ownership, control, access, possession), Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami National Inuit Strategy on Research, and Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (CCGHR) Principles for Global Health Research. Additionally we draw upon cases of deficit-based research and stereotyping in healthcare, in order to identify how this relates to epistemic injustice and explore alternative approaches.
Copyright (c) 2019 Sarah Louise Hyett, Chelsea Gabel, Stacey Marjerrison, Lisa Schwartz
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
The Canadian Journal of Bioethics applies the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License to all its publications. Authors therefore retain copyright of their publication, e.g., they can reuse their publication, link to it on their home page or institutional website, deposit a PDF in a public repository such as PubMed Central. However, the authors allow anyone to download, reuse, reprint, modify, distribute, and/or copy their publication, so long as the original authors and source are cited.