24 Postcolonial Theory, its Applicability to Attain a Better Understanding of Modern-Day Problems, Including Lack of Proper Access to Healthcare for Indigenous People and Uninsured Groups in Canada and its Potential for Applied Formulation of Solutions

Walter Alvarez Bardales


Postcolonial theory indicates that in the current era, the absence of foreign nation-state colonizers does not imply that the structures of colonization are a thing of the past. They are very much alive. These structures of power, which are engrained in Canadian institutions, and through the prism of postcolonial theory, may provide a better understanding of social phenomena.

Specifically, the issue of systematic barriers to accessing healthcare by indigenous peoples in Canada, and also by other vulnerable groups, including but not limited to undocumented workers, the poor, immigrant communities, and refugees, can be better understood as a symptom rather than the proverbial disease of systemic inequality, which has foundations in Canada’s colonial past.

This understanding at the macro-level of systemic structures of power imbalance, of which barriers to healthcare are only a micro-level representation of the bigger problem, may serve the applied purpose of formulating sustainable and long-lasting solutions to the specific problem of lack of healthcare access by traditionally marginalized groups.

This solution may present itself in the form of listening to those marginalized voices, which have been silent and silenced by epistemic violence even in academic circles, including indigenous, feminist, and immigrant scholars and their knowledge. This approach may prove to be contributory to the scientific pursuit of essential answers not only to the problem of lack of access to healthcare by marginalized groups but also to other scientific questions, as this inclusivity could propel the discovery of new knowledge forward, paradoxically by leveraging old knowledge, in the form of postcolonial theory frameworks.