Access, Clocks, Blocks and Stocks: Resisting Health Canada’s Management of Traditional Medicine

By: Michael Hankard, PhD


This groundbreaking work exposes controversial flaws within Health Canada’s Non-Insured Health Benefits program for First Nations people.Written by a First Nations author in northern Ontario, Access, Clocks, Blocks and Stocks examines, from a First Nations perspective, how neoliberal policy and federal accountability initiatives hinder the wellness of Indigenous peoples within Canada. Access, Clocks, Blocks and Stocks offers an understanding pertaining to how the Canadian healthcare system is actively undermining and transforming traditional medicine; and by extension, culture. No longer is the process organized around tobacco, gifts, and traditional protocols. Access to traditional medicine has now become a process implemented under surveillance and regulated by bureaucratic texts, managerial systems and accounting practices. From this process, we are beginning to witness differential access for on- and off-reserve First Nation individuals. As such, Health Canada policy is dividing First Nation communities.The government of Canada continues to exert pressure toward separating First Nations, Inuit and Métis people from their culture in order to further their assimilation. Dr. Hankard documents such pressure, this time not through the Indian residential school system but from within health care. While the mechanism of delivery has changed, processes of colonization remain.

  • ISBN: 978-0-9919441-8-7
    Price: $32.00
    Binding: Paperback
    Date: 2014
    Rights: World
    Pages: 195
    Size: 6″ x 9″

  • Table of Contents

    Dedication & Acknowledgements


    1. Introduction

    2. Access

    3. Clocks

    4. Blocks

    5. Stocks

    6. Resisting

    About the Author

  • Michael Hankard, PhD

    Michael Hankard, PhD is Abenaki/Métis and an Assistant Professor within the Department of Indigenous Studies atUniversity of Sudbury

  • Access, Clocks, Blocks, and Stocks exposes deep patterns of administrative control and cultural colonization in Health Canada’s management of Elders and traditional medicine, while documenting sites of Indigenous resistance, and suggesting. In its integrative use of Indigenous Knowledge and Institutional Ethnography, this comprehensive study makes an important contribution to Indigenous Resurgence movements in Canada and is a must read for educators and students in the disciplines of Indigenous Studies, Political Science, Law, Health Studies, and other areas concerned with questions of equity and the concealment of oppressive power relations.

    Kevin FitzMaurice, PhD

    Associate Professor / Chair of Indigenous Studies
    University of Sudbury

    Compelling personal stories inform Michael Hankard’s insightful ethnographic investigation of the many barriers off-reserve First Nations people face when accessing travel funding to see traditional healers. Despite official claims that traditional healing is available to First Nations people, Hankard details how in practice this is not the case for those living off reserve and how state regulations produce divisions between First Nations people living on- and off-reserve. Taking up the standpoints of Indigenous people themselves his exploration is informed by the narratives of the people he talked to and learned from. Grounded in knowledge of, and respect for, traditional Indigenous healing, Hankard allows us to see how Canadian colonialism is making access to traditional healing very difficult, especially for off-reserve First Nations people. Bringing together Indigenous knowledge with institutional ethnography in creative ways Hankard captures the context of a broader movement against colonialism and racism. Concluding with important suggestions for change and transformation this book is a crucial resource for those accessing transportation funding for traditional healing, those involved in Indigenous struggles and studies and all those interested in ethnographic investigations of health and other institutional relations.

    Gary Kinsman, PhD

    Professor Emeritus
    Laurentian University

    Access, Clocks, Blocks, and Stocks opens vital, rich understanding of the ways that the everyday lives of Indigenous people continue to be shaped by colonial administrative practices, precisely at the points at which access to traditional healing ceremony and practices is granted or foreclosed. Hankard compellingly makes the case that seemingly simple sites of difficulty – such as getting access to travel funding for off-reserve First Nations people to be with Elders for healing practices – in fact hold all the complexity of and promise for resisting generations of injustice. This is essential reading for anyone interested in the practice of decolonization on the level of personal healing, collective resistance, or solidarity with Indigenous struggles for self-determination.

    Alexis Shotwell, PhD

    Associate Professor Sociology and Anthropology
    Carleton University