Indigenous populations are disproportionally affected by chronic pain.
Among Canadians surveyed in the 2000-01 cycle of the Canadian Community Health Survey aged less than 65 years, Indigenous Peoples had the highest prevalence of chronic pain in Canada (Meana et al., 2004). Among Indigenous adults, diabetes (15.9%), arthritis (18.3%), and chronic back pain (12.4%) are commonly reported chronic conditions (First Nations Information Governance Centre, 2018).
Indigenous Peoples often articulate the experience of physical pain as being secondary to emotional pain. Emotional pain as a result of racism, colonization, premature death of kin, dispossession, dislocation, and community violence deeply impacts the health of Indigenous Peoples (Allan & Smiley, 2015).