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|May 30, 2023
Experiences with Disabilities and Autism for Indigenous Women, Girls, Two-Spirit, Transgender, and Gender-Diverse+ (WG2STGD+) Peoples
With funding from Employment and Social Development Canada, NWAC completed two projects advocating and increasing understanding for the many issues and systemic barriers faced by Indigenous WG2STGD+ Peoples living with disabilities. We conducted extensive research and held a series of Sharing Circles, where participants shared their lived experiences and talked about their barriers and challenges. The outcome of these projects are two final reports, one to help inform the federal government’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP) and the other to help inform the National Autism Strategy (NAS).
Overall, Indigenous Peoples are more likely to have a disability than non-Indigenous people. They are also more susceptible to living with mental and physical disabilities because of the social and political climate as well as the retraumatizing impact that colonialism continues to have on Indigenous communities. In addition, Indigenous WG2STGD+ Peoples are more likely to live with pain- and mental health-related disabilities than both non-Indigenous women and Indigenous men.
Key findings from the DIAP Sharing Circles include the following:
Participants in the NAS Sharing Circles were primarily Indigenous WG2STGD+ Peoples who have family members with autism. Similarly to the DIAP Sharing Circles, participants noted a lack of recognition of Indigenous ways of healing and the absence of available resources and supports for those who are diagnosed with autism.
Key findings from the NAS Sharing Circles include the following:
NWAC’s reports include a set of recommendations that call for a more holistic approach to wellness and for recognition that Indigenous WG2STGD+ Peoples have a right to access free, timely, and quality health services, as well as education, housing, employment, and safety. These approaches should be rooted in Indigenous Traditional and cultural values.