The main objectives of this paper are to compare Aboriginal and Canadian health status and physician use and to identify the factors associated with the use of physician services. Data are drawn from the 1991 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS) and the 1991 General Social Survey (GSS), which are weighted random samples of the Aboriginal and total Canadian populations, respectively. The results demonstrate that Aboriginals were much less likely to use physician services, even though Aboriginals rank their health similarly to the total Canadian population. Location becomes an important aspect of both physician use and health status, with Aboriginals residing on-reserve generally having lower levels of self-assessed health and less likely to have seen a physician. While Aboriginals with the poorest health status were more likely to have seen a physician, other factors including education were found to be barriers to use of health care. Aboriginal identity and cultural orientation provided mixed results. © 1997 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.