Ragged Company: Individual Social Determinants Of Health

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It is clear that individual social determinants of health have the ability to significantly impact the lives of many people. However, one might not immediately understand that these social determinants of health are not separate entities, but rather, they interact with each other in order to determine an individual’s quality of life. According to Davidson (2011), income is defined as a social determinant of health because the amount of money an individual possesses is a major factor in determining their health. Comparably, social exclusion is based on a person’s “economic hardship” in which they are marginalized by society excluding them from various aspects of “community life” (Davidson, 2011). In the novel, Ragged Company, these two social…show more content…
Growing up as an Aboriginal person forced him to be placed into residential schools which explains why alcoholism is relevant in the first place. These residential schools were created in a way that socially excluded Aboriginal people and stripped them of their rights and opportunities, thus, also taking away the majority of their potential to gain income. The majority of the people living on reserves are residential school survivors in which their traumatic experiences in these schools correlate to the high proportion of alcoholism within the community (Davidson, 2011). As stated by Davidson (2011), “sixteen percent of on-reserve Aboriginal people [drinking] heavily” and “is associated with depression and loss of meaning.” Davidson’s statement fits in with Dick’s life as he experienced living in residential schools where drinking was common among Aboriginals. His first alcohol drink was when he was six years old in which he described it as, “real nice and warm” where his father would let him drink as much as he wanted (Wagamese, 2008, p. 288). The fact that his father exposes alcohol to Dick at such a young age shows how alcoholism is a common activity in which it helps the family get through stressfulness of the residential schools and overall, their lives as Indigenous people. As Dick grows older, his experiences of being socially excluded and having a lack of income leads to his addiction to alcohol. According to the documentary, “Civilized to Death”, Dr. Gabor Mate states that all addiction comes from early childhood trauma and he even tells the audience they should be asking the question, “Why the pain, not why the addiction” (Martens, Ridgen, Wong, & Moore, 2012). It is not a matter of why Dick is addicted to alcohol, but rather, it is about the underlying cause of his addictions. There were many instances where Dick

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