This webpage is intended to provide a collection of resources that have particular relevance to Indigenous peoples. This is in acknowledgement that FASD among Indigenous peoples is the result of a unique set of historical and ongoing colonial systems, policies and practices. We also acknowledge that many Indigenous peoples have led efforts to resist these colonial circumstances, and to push back against deficit-focused narratives. This webpage is intended to highlight resources that provide examples of culturally safe practice, uplift Indigenous-guided work, and foster understandings that begin to address the structural health inequities that impact Indigenous peoples and communities.
Dorothy Badry is a professor in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary, and Annie Goose is an Inuvialuit Elder, language expert, and craftsperson from Ulukhaktok, NT. They collaborated on the Brightening Our Home Fires project to address women's health and FASD prevention, which took place in four communities in the Northwest Territories, including Yellowknife, Łutselkʼe, Behchokǫ̀, and Ulukhaktok (2011-2012), using the Photovoice methodology described below. The chapter included here is based on their collaborative research project report and was revised for inclusion in Walking Together, Working Together.
Development of an Australian FASD Indigenous Framework: Aboriginal Healing-Informed and Strengths-Based Ways of Knowing, Being and Doing
Aboriginal culture intuitively embodies and interconnects the threads of life that are known to be intrinsic to human wellbeing: connection. Therefore, Aboriginal wisdom and practices are inherently strengths-based and healing-informed. Underpinned by an Indigenist research methodology, this article presents findings from a collaboration of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples to develop an Australian Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Indigenous Framework during 2021 to 2023. The FASD Indigenous Framework unfolds the changes that non-Aboriginal clinicians and Aboriginal peoples each need to make in their respective ways of knowing, being and doing in order to facilitate access to healing-informed, strengths-based and culturally responsive FASD knowledge, assessment, diagnosis and support services among Aboriginal peoples. Drawing on the Aboriginal practices of yarning and Dadirri, written and oral knowledges were gathered. These knowledges were mapped against Aboriginal cultural responsiveness and wellbeing frameworks and collaboratively and iteratively reflected upon throughout. This article brings together Aboriginal wisdom (strengths-based, healing-informed approaches grounded in holistic and integrated support) and Western wisdom (biomedicine and therapeutic models) in relation to FASD. From a place of still awareness (Dadirri), both forms of wisdom were drawn upon to create Australia’s first FASD Indigenous Framework, a new practice in the assessment and diagnosis of FASD, which offers immense benefit to equity, justice, support and healing for Aboriginal families with a lived experience of FASD.
The Eastern Door Center: re-balancing the wheel–a Two-Eyed Seeing approach to FASD and other disorders related to transgenerational adversity
The Eastern Door (ED) Center, located in an Indigenous community in Atlantic Canada, offers a model of health service delivery for conditions related to transgenerational trauma such as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). It uses a Two-Eyed Seeing (TES) approach to FASD service delivery. TES is a concept developed by Elders Murdena and Albert Marshall: if one eye looks from a traditional perspective and the other from a scientific one there is more depth in perception.
Alcohol consumption and pregnancy in American Indian and Alaska Native women: A scoping review of the literature
American Indian and Alaska Native communities have diverse cultures, histories, and contemporary experiences. Grouping them together masks the differences in health and lifestyle behaviors, chronic disease rates, and health outcomes among them. This is particularly true for data on drinking during pregnancy among American Indian and Alaska Native women. The goal of this article is to describe how generalizing findings from data gathered from often small, geographically specific samples, combined with inferior research methodologies, has led to misunderstandings about drinking among preconceptual and pregnant American Indian and Alaska Native women. We conducted a scoping review using PubMed and the “PCC mnemonic” (population, concept, and context) as our guide. Our search terms included the population (American Indian and Alaska Native women), concept (alcohol), and context (immediately before or during pregnancy) and focused on PubMed articles in the United States. Using these search terms, we uncovered a total of 38 publications and eliminated 19, leaving 19 for review. Methodologically (i.e. how data were collected), we found most previous research on prenatal or preconceptual alcohol use with American Indian and Alaska Native women used retrospective data collection. We also assessed who data were collected from and noted two groups: studies that sampled higher-risk women and those that focused on American Indian and Alaska Native women in specific geographic areas. Restricting data collection to higher-risk American Indian and Alaska Native women or conducting small studies in specific geographic areas has generated an incomplete and inaccurate picture of American Indian and Alaska Native women as a whole as well as those who consume alcohol. Data from select groups of American Indian and Alaska Native women may overestimate the true prevalence of drinking during pregnancy among this population. Updated and accurate data on drinking during pregnancy are urgently needed to inform the development of interventions and prevention efforts.
Aboriginal Kinship Carers and Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in Western Australia: Advancing Knowledge from an Indigenous and Disability Lens
Children and youth with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) have limited access to assessment, diagnostic, and treatment resources – a distinct disadvantage in meeting their care needs in Australia. Limited knowledge exists on the intersection of FASD, Indigeneity, racism, trauma, and child welfare involvement. Notably, the lack of support for children with FASD increases the risk of adverse outcomes, including incarceration, homelessness, mental health problems, and early mortality. Children with FASD are often cared for in the child protection system by kinship carers, many without a diagnosis or the benefits of FASD informed care. Rarely considered is the Australian response to FASD or the Aboriginal worldview on disability. Qualitative research was utilized to conduct semi-structured interviews with six carers of Indigenous children with FASD–three foster carers and three relative or kinship carers. Seven core themes identified by carers included: FASD awareness, caregiver health, advocacy for the child, mothers of the children with FASD, loss and grief experienced by the carer, social costs, and children in child protection care. Carers identified that limited resources existed to address the disabilities and care needs of children, including training and respite. Financial disparity exists with relative carers receiving less income than foster carers. Carers demonstrated advocacy, resiliency, and resourcefulness in providing care. A lack of knowledge of FASD and core resources in child welfare services were identified as major challenges in providing care. This research examined the caregiving experiences of foster and Aboriginal kinship carers, caring for children with FASD in child protection.
Keywords: FASD, child welfare, Australia, foster care, Indigenous, Aboriginal, kinship care, colonization, disability
Risk, rights and deservedness: Navigating the tensions of Gladue, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and settler colonialism in Canadian courts
In 2008, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada engaged in a public project of national reconciliation to address the ongoing impacts of settler colonialism including the disproportionate number of Indigenous adults and youth who are held in remand facilities awaiting trial or sentence as well as those who are convicted and sentenced to periods of incarceration. Efforts to further reconciliation by reducing Indigenous incarceration rates have relied largely on the courts and their application of a sentencing principle rooted in the Supreme Court’s ruling in R. v. Gladue  1 SCR 688. In this article, we argue that the Gladue sentencing principle is being fundamentally undermined in the courts through risk models that actively displace the very context that Gladue reports seek to illuminate. Included in the analysis are the compounding impacts facing Indigenous individuals struggling with a complex disability like Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.