Accepted Paper:

Barriers in bringing medical anthropology to medical practice: Adrian Tanner, the Sioux lookout zone hospital, and cross-cultural miscommunication  

Author:

Ian Puppe (University of Western Ontario)

Paper short abstract:

In the summer of 1971 anthropologist Adrian Tanner submitted a specially commissioned report entitled “Sickness and Ideology among the Ojibway” to the authorities of the Sioux Lookout Zone Hospital. The authorities promptly ignored the clear and cogent suggestions Tanner put forth, shelving his report.

Paper long abstract:

In the summer of 1971 British born Canadian anthropologist Adrian Tanner submitted a specially commissioned report entitled "Sickness and Ideology among the Ojibway" to the authorities of the Sioux Lookout Zone Hospital. The authorities promptly ignored the clear and cogent suggestions Tanner put forth, shelving his report. Rediscovered in the sealed archives of the University of Toronto by medical anthropologist Gerald McKinley in 2014, this paper has never been published. During his doctoral studies Tanner ethnographically explored the experience of illness and health he found among northern Ontario community members through first hand interviews and participant-observation in various locales. The newly formed Sioux Lookout Zone Hospital Archives Project will (among other work) reassess the reasons for the report having been undervalued, and will reconsider the original report in the wake of the "ontological turn" in anthropology. Tanner identified two distinct "ideologies" relating to illness and disease in the northern communities that he visited. One followed a Western or bio-medical model of the causes and cures of many common ailments. The other constructed a relational perspective on the vectors and treatments of issues arising from transgressions against "others," broadly understood by Ojibwe and Cree to include other-than-human persons. Tanner's proposal of a long term research project with the aim of tracing culturally situated notions of being-well, or Bimadaziwin, is only now becoming a reality with several projects converging in the area, each working to return stories to the people who have been affected by them.

Panel WIM-AIM06
Indigenous movement and anthropologists