Cultural continuity as a hedge against suicide in Canada’s First Nations


(For resources, this is the publication date. For programs, this is the date posted.)


Chandler MJ, Lalomde C.
University of British Columbia

This research report, which is about self-continuity and its role as a protective factor against suicide, comes in three parts. One of these, told as a cautionary tale against all loose generalizations about aboriginal society as a whole, works to make the point that, while certain indigenous or First Nations groups do suffer rates of youth suicide that are among the highest of any culturally identifiable group in the world, it is also true that the incidence of such suicides varies dramatically across British Columbia’s nearly 200 aboriginal groups. A second part goes on to demonstrate that these variable incidence rates are strongly associated with the degree to which BC’s 196 bands are engaged in community practices that are interpreted here as markers of a collective effort to rehabilitate and vouchsafe the cultural continuity of these groups. The remaining part reviews efforts to get clear about the axial notions of personal and cultural continuity.