Raven’s Children II: Aboriginal Youth Health in BC

Raven’s Children and Raven’s Children II were both published by the McCreary Centre Society (MCS).  MCS is a nongovernment, non-profit organization involved in improving the health of B.C. youth through research, education and community-based projects

In 1992, MCS conducted the first Adolescent Health Survey (AHS) with close to 16,000 youth in schools throughout B.C.  In 1998, MCS conducted the second AHS with approx 26,000 students.  In 2003, MCS conducted the 3rd AHS with over 30,500 youth.  Raven’s Children II, combines the data from responses of more than 4,800 Aboriginal students who took part in province-wide youth health surveys in 1992, 1998 and 2003.

The report was written under the direction of Kim van der Woerd of the Namgis First Nation.  Kim is a Ph.D. Candidate at Simon Fraser University.  Here are some interesting findings from the 2003 AHS that was published in 2005:

  • Most Aboriginal students rate their health as good or excellent.
  • Most Aboriginal students feel strongly connected to their families and school.
  • Nearly two-thirds want to continue their education beyond high school.
  • Almost three-quarters regularly participate in organized extracurricular activities.

The authors of Raven’s Children II noted that while Aboriginal youth have made some progress in rates alcohol consumption, smoking, pregnancy, there are issues that continue to pose a significant challenge for youths, parents, educators, Aboriginal leaders, and government: Problem Areas –

  • One in five Aboriginal students experienced racial discrimination.
  • Too many Aboriginal youth think about or attempt suicide and rates have not improved in the past decade.
  • Too many Aboriginal students, especially girls, continue to experience sexual and physical abuse.
  • Fewer youth reported feeling safe at school in 2003 than in 1998.

Raven’s II is a very comprehensive report, but it’s also very easy to read.  I recommend it for anyone who is searching for up-to-date and extensive information about the health of BC’s Aboriginal children

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