2013-17

Researching Arts-Based Wellness Promotion for Suicide Prevention Among Aboriginal Youth

Canadian Institutes of Health Research - Institute of Aboriginal Peoples' Health Operating Grant (2013)

Youth suicide is one of the most conspicuous examples of the inequalities that exist between the health of Aboriginal peoples and of other Canadians. Not only are suicide rates among Aboriginal youth much higher than those of their non-Aboriginal peers, Aboriginal youth in Canada have the highest suicide rate among all Indigenous groups in the world. Since youth comprise more than half of the Aboriginal population in Canada, youth suicide is a serious health issue that must be addressed. This grant, funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research – Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health, will build on an existing arts-based research project in partnership with the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council (FHQTC) Health Services.

The team is composed of FHQTC health professionals and a diverse group of researchers with expertise in Aboriginal youth health, arts-based methods, pubic policy, and quantitative research. The project will build the capacity of Aboriginal youth, community members, knowledge users, and researchers to investigate, identify, and address conditions leading to Aboriginal youth suicide and other self-harming behaviors through the development of culturally appropriate arts-based methods of research. The team will also study the short and long-term effectiveness of arts-based approaches in supporting Aboriginal youth wellness. Lastly, this study will formulate policy recommendations on Aboriginal youth suicide that are culturally appropriate and have the potential to increase the health and well-being of Aboriginal peoples over the coming generations.

Research Team:

Principal Investigators: Dr. Jo-Ann Episkenew (U of R), Dr. Linda Goulet (FNUniv), Dr. Warren Linds (Concordia University), Dr. Greg Marchildon (JSGS School of Public Policy/U of R)

Community Knowledge Users: Karen Schmidt, Health Educator (FHQTC Health Services), Gail Boehme, Executive Director (FHQTC Health Services)

Co-Investigators: Dr. Kim Anderson (Wilfrid Laurier University), Dr. Suzanne Christopher (Montana State University), Dr. Colleen Dell (U of S), Jonathan Dewar (Algoma University), Dr. Bonnie Janzen (U of S), Dr. Rosemary Jolly (Queen’s University), Dr. Charity Marsh (U of R), Dr. Sam McKegney (Queen’s University), Dr. Patti Ranahan (Concordia University), Dr. Charlotte Reading (UVic), Dr. Nuno Ribeiro (U of R), Dr. Felice Yuen (Concordia University)​

Funded by: Canadian Institute of Health Research

2013-16

Using Indigenous Knowledge For A Healthier Aboriginal Youth

Funded by the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF Health Group Grant 2013)

The health of Aboriginal peoples in Canada ranks alarmingly low in a variety of indicators. These measures paint a bleak picture for Aboriginal youth, especially in rural and remote areas. Wide gaps in Aboriginal youth health research exist, particularly in regard to culturally-relevant research methodologies, capacity building, and policy formulation.

A new group grant by a team of our health researchers will give continuity to, and expand on, the work of IPHRC in the area of Aboriginal health, with an emphasis on Aboriginal youth health. The proposed research seeks to capitalize on existing work done by the IPHRC to develop culturally-appropriate, cost-effective health interventions among Aboriginal youth using Indigenous and arts-based methods.

The group grant, Iyiniw-Oskâtisak Pamihisowak: Using Indigenous Knowledge for a Healthier Aboriginal Youth, will receive $750,000 over three years from the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF). It is a series of projects that will use everything from theatre improvisation to hip hop to empower youth and help communities address health disparities among Aboriginal young people in the province, particularly in rural and remote areas. The project is a partnership with the File Hills Qu’Appelle (FHQ) Tribal Council Health Services, Battleford Tribal Council Indian Health Services, Inc., and Northern Sport, Culture, and Recreation.

Research Team: Dr. Jo-Ann Episkenew, Team Leader (IPHRC/U of R), Dr. Linda Goulet (FNUC), Dr. Warren Linds (Concordia University), Dr. JoLee Blackbear Sasakamoose (U of R), Dr. Jennifer Poudrier (U of S), Dr. Carolyn Brooks (U of S), Dr. Charity Marsh (U of R), Dr. Charlotte Reading (UVic), Dr. Greg Marchildon (JSGS/U of R), Dr. Nuno Ribeiro (U of Illinois)

Project 1: Expanding the use of arts-based and Indigenous methods in Aboriginal youth health research to rural and remote populations

The purpose of this project is to expand current work being done on Aboriginal youth health by IPHRC researchers with Indigenous and arts-based research in two ways: a) methodologically, by framing the workshops as health interventions, that provide culturally-safe spaces wherein Aboriginal youth can critically reflect on wellness and acquire positive health-related traits; and b) geographically, by extending the IPHRC’s work beyond its current area of influence in Saskatchewan to rural and remote parts of the Province.

  • Study 1.1 – Continuing and improving arts-based Aborginal youth health research in the File Hills Qu’Appelle (FHQ) Tribal Council area (Episkenew, Goulet, Linds).
  • Study 1.2 – Expanding arts-based Aboriginal youth health research to remote Aboriginal communities in Northern Saskatchewan  (Goulet, Linds).
  • Study 1.3 – Expanding arts-based Aboriginal youth health research to rural Aboriginal communities in the region of North Battleford, Saskatchewan  (Brooks, Poudrier).

Project 2: Increasing health-related capacity among Aboriginal youth in rural and remote Saskatchewan

This project will increase Aboriginal health research capacity by training Aboriginal youth from the province (with an emphasis on rural and remote locations) as health leaders and researchers. A group of Aboriginal youth previously identified as potential health leaders by IPHRC researchers will receive training as “peer researchers” in regard to public and community health, quantitative and qualitative health methodologies, leadership, public administration and health policy, etc., with the ultimate goal of having those youth return to their communities as “health advocates” in order to make a positive impact in the communities’ overall health.
  • Study 2.1 – Increasing Aboriginal youth capacity in arts-based and Indigenous health research methodologies  (Blackbear, Brooks, Goulet, Poudrier).

Project 3: Investigating health disparities among Aboriginal youth through Indigenous and contemporary storytelling

The goal of this research is to engage Aboriginal youth in sharing their stories as they relate to the social determinants of health (physical, psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual) that affect their lives and the lives of their communities. The objective is to gain an in-depth, holistic description of the social determinants of health from an Aboriginal youth perspective, using both Indigenous and contemporary storytelling. The goal is to create an opportunity for Aboriginal youth to share their story – the struggles, the triumphs and the lessons they have learned through a distinct lens fashioned by their families, communities, and cultures.
 
  • Study 3.1 – Storytellers and story gatherers: Using storytelling to investigate social determinants of health among Aboriginal youth (Reading, Episkenew).
  • Study 3.2 – Indigenous storytelling through hip hop culture: Engaging contemporary forms of cultural expression as a strategy for articulating, understanding, and addressing the health of Aboriginal youth communities (Marsh, Linds).

Funded by: Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation

2010

Promoting Healthy Body Weights in a Métis Youth Population Through Photovoice

University Partner: Dr. Louise Humbert, University of Saskatchewan - College of Kinesiology
Community Partner: Don Favel
Location: Ile-a-la-Crosse, SK

Obesity, a chronic metabolic disorder that has reached epidemic levels, is associated with an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes (T2D). First Nations and Métis adults experience overweight and obesity at a rate 1.6 times that of the average Canadian adult population. First Nations and Métis children also experience overweight and obesity at higher rates than the national childhood population. Five percent of the Métis population have been diagnosed with T2D and the full extent of the impact of obesity and T2D on the Métis population will not be realized for years to come because of their young age. Engaging and empowering Métis children to be directly involved in issues concerning their health is an important lesson to teach and encourage in order to provide youth with the tools and knowledge to build on throughout their lifetime.

Photovoice is a qualitative research method that uses photographs taken by participants as a way to engage them in discussions for change. It is a form of participatory action research which enhances capacity for community-based research and encourages local Métis knowledge to be integrated into various aspects of the research process. This research project will explore photovoice as a tool for documenting and analyzing Métis children’s perceptions related to healthy body weight (BW), physical activity (PA) and nutrition (N), and identify various barriers and enablers to engage children in healthy PA and N practices. The project will also examine the use of photovoice as a tool to promote change in attitudes, knowledge, beliefs and behaviours related to healthy BW, PA and N practices among Métis children and among other community members. A research project such as this one will weave Métis knowledge and belief systems into the design, implementation and evaluation of this photovoice research project and will bring university and community researchers together to promote healthy body weights in Métis children.

Evaluation of the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program in Northern Saskatchewan

University Partner: Bonnie Jeffery, University of Regina - Faculty of Social Work
Community Partner: Carol Gillis
Location: Northern Chronic Care Coalition, Prince Albert, SK

The purpose of this project is to develop and test an evaluation framework that incorporates individual, cultural, and community factors relevant to assessing the effectiveness of the Chronic Disease Self Management Program in northern Saskatchewan communities. On a broader level, the research will contribute to theoretical and methodological understandings of program evaluation frameworks that incorporate community relevant indicators in Indigenous contexts. Through a process of community engagement and in collaboration with the Northern Chronic Care Coalition sub-committee of the Northern Health Strategy Working Group, this project will develop an evaluation framework, engage northern community representatives in reflecting on this framework, and pilot the evaluation approach in one northern community.

This is an opportunity for community leaders and research partners to examine programs that are designed or created by others outside of the north and to assess the relevance for northern communities. While these chronic disease management programs may be seen as best practices within an ideal situation, it is important to consider the realities of northern communities. There will be a focus on determining the factors that are most relevant in the northern context; opportunities for comparison of outcomes with other regions in the province, and an assessment of the influence of a different process of program delivery in comparison to the process that has been implemented in southern communities.

2008

Aboriginal Women Drug Users in Conflict with the Law: A Study of the Role of Self-Identity in the Healing Journey

University Partner: Colleen Anne Dell, University of Saskatchewan - Department of Sociology
Community Partner: Carol Hopkins
Location: National Native Addictions Partnership Foundation, Muskoday, SK

Drug addiction among First Nations women is a serious health concern in Canada. Little is understood about how women’s healing is impacted by their views of themselves as, and the stereotypes associated with being, a drug user, involved in crime and an Aboriginal woman in Canadian society. As health research in this area grows, it is critical that it is conducted by, for and in balance with the women and communities the research is being conducted about. Our project examines (through partnership and practice) how women’s lived experiences with drug addiction can be holistically incorporated into the process of doing research. We are specifically examining the potential for women who participated in interviews we held at addictions treatment centres across Canada (including Saskatchewan) to contribute unique and valuable insight to the analysis of the collected data. Our aim is to document the lessons we learn in doing this so they can be shared among and with other researchers, policy makers and First Nations communities to improve Indigenous Health.

Fish Parasites and Associated Health Risks for Indigenous People in Saskatchewan

University Partner: Dr. Michael Pietrock, University of Saskatchewan -Toxicology Centre
Community Partner: Tina Giroux
Location: Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN), Saskatoon, SK

Fish play an important role in the diet of Indigenous people living in Saskatchewan’s and Canada’s North. In recent times, several Saskatchewan Indigenous communities raised concerns about increasing parasitism in fish. So far, information on fish parasites in general and human pathogenic parasites transmitted by fish from Saskatchewan waters is very limited. Investigations to verify verbal reports on increased parasitism or to search for potential reasons of increasing infection rates have not been conducted. Due to the fact that a number of fish parasites are human pathogenic and thus capable of compromising human health, investigations are proposed here, which will focus on seasonal occurrence of parasites in whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis), a species which is of significance in the diet of Indigenous people of Saskatchewan, and where consumption of infected individuals may pose health risks. The proposed investigations will be conducted in collaboration with Montreal Lake Cree Nation and Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation with assistance from the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN). In addition to fish parasitological examinations, water quality and overall fish health will be investigated as well to obtain information on potential reasons for changes in occurrence of parasites and to assess overall health risks related to consumption of fish. It is envisioned to communicate results with the involved communities as well as at the Chief and Council Meeting.

It Takes a Village: Preventing Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes through a Culturally Sensitive Health Enhancing School Program for Métis Youth

University Partner: Dr. Karen Chad, University of Saskatchewan - Department of Kinesiology
Community Partner: Don Favel
Location: Métis Sakitawak Nation, Ile A La Crosse, SK

Obesity is a chronic metabolic disorder that has been classified as an epidemic due to its accelerated growth throughout the world. Metabolic changes associated with excess body fat results in an increased risk for developing such disorders as type 2 diabetes (T2D). It is therefore not surprising that the incidence of T2D is paralleling that of obesity. Some Aboriginal populations have a genetic predisposition to developing obesity and T2D and increasing numbers of Aboriginal youth and children are suffering from these conditions. It is suggested that genes interact with an environment of physical inactivity and the transition from traditional to Westernized food leads to the development of these two chronic conditions. This research project will test the effectiveness of a health enhancing school and community-based program on the physical activity levels and nutrition status of rural Aboriginal youth. The project will promote and nurture capacity for community-based research and the implementation of health promoting activities by involving key community stakeholders in the design of this project.

Promoting Health and Wellness through Community Development: Gathering Strength in the Community, One Step at a Time

University Partner: Dr. James Mulvale, University of Regina - Faculty of Justice Studies
Community Partner: Donna Poorman
Location: Yellow Quill First Nation, SK

This project of the Yellow Quill First Nation (YQFN), assisted by the University of Regina and First Nations University of Canada, will establish goals and mobilize resources related to community wellness and health promotion. It will engage in a process of community development, drawing upon First Nations cultural values and spiritual teachings. The general aim of this project is to assist the YQFN in identifying a plan of action for health promotion and community wellness.

What Happened to Our Children? Splatsin First Nations Child and family Well-Being Research Matrix

University Partner: Dr. Raven Sinclair, University of Regina - Faculty of Social Work
Community Partner: Deanna Leon-Cook and Marie Tonasket-Denommee
Location: Splatsin First Nation, Enderby, British Columbia

The Splatsin (Spallumcheen Band) Child and Family Well-being Project is a multi-layered project examining several areas pertaining to child well-being, historically and presently, and how these issues have affected, and are affecting, the general health and mental well-being of the Splatsin First Nation children and community in the Okanagan Valley, BC. This community was among the hardest hit communities of the Sixties Scoop where Aboriginal children were removed from families and communities and placed for adoption into non-native homes in Canada and around the world. In the aftermath of the Scoop, Splatsin witnessed tremendous social upheaval and hypothesize that their child welfare experiences are still impacting heavily on reserve health and well-being, especially with respect to increasing levels of FASD/NAS (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder/Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome). The project will attempt to triangulate several sources of quantitative and qualitative historical and contemporary data to enable the community to get a better understanding of what happened to their children historically as they seek evidence-based ways of addressing health and well-being currently.

Dialogic Process Space with the Community of Sturgeon Lake First Nation

University Partner: Willie Ermine, First Nations University of Canada
Community Partner: Shirley Bighead
Location: Sturgeon Lake First Nation, Shellbrook, SK

Sturgeon Lake First Nation has reached a critical juncture in the delivery of its Traditional Healing Program. At present there are no ‘Ethics and Protocols” or guidelines in place to establish a sovereign foundation of how a Traditional Healing Program functions and operate. We are informed through the Cree language as to the customs and natural laws we must observe when using ancestral healing methodologies.

The Sturgeon Lake First Nation Health Services approached Indigenous Peoples Health Research Centre for research collaboration. Together they identified a practical research methodology that would be most beneficial in this initial exploratory process that enhances the core capacity of the Sturgeon Lake First Nation Health Services and the community members. A dialogic process was agreed upon unanimously. A focus group approach combined with scheduled community consultation processes was identified. The main focal point of this research project would be the ‘Focus Group’ and the data or knowledge that would be gleaned from this coordinated session. This event would involve both Alberta and Manitoba participants who coordinate Traditional Healing Programs. The focus group would seek their advice and draw upon their expertise and experience to assist in outlining the shell of what is needed in a set of Traditional Healing ethics and protocol guidelines.

How Can Communities Better Facilitate the Respect and Dignity of Elders During Chronic and/or End of Life Care? - The Peter Ballantyne Health Services Experience

University Partner: Dr. Bonita Beatty, University of Saskatchewan - Department of Native Studies
Community Partner: Arnette Weber-Beeds
Location: Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, Pelican Narrows, SK

This proposal is a joint initiative to explore community elder care services (seniors 60 years and over) in the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation communities with Peter Ballantyne Health Services Inc. This project will lay the groundwork for further work in the broader area of community health governance. The purpose is to explore elder care health services in the PBCN communities of Southend Reindeer, Deschambault Lake, and Pelican Narrows and Sturgeon Landing, which are all managed by PBCN Health Services Inc. Data will be collected through a total of 9 focus group meetings (3 in each community) with PBCN Health staff and others providing a variety of eldercare programs and services.

Perceptions of Health Body Weight and Image in Female First Nations Youth in the Battleford Tribal Council region: A Photovoice Project

University Partner: Dr. Jennifer Poudrier, University of Saskatchewan - Department of Sociology
Community Partner: Janice Kennedy
Location: Miwayawin Health Services Inc., North Battleford, SK

This community-based developmental research project will explore the social, gendered, cultural, and historical factors associated with body weight and obesity from the perspective of female First Nations youth in the Battlefords Tribal Council (BTC and BATC) region. Body weight has been identified as an area of concern by health care staff of the Miwayawin Health Services Inc. (MHS) and community members. This study has three inter-related objectives: 1) to better understand female First Nations youth’s perceptions of a healthy body and body image; 2) to pilot test the photovoice method with youth and; 3) to seek additional Tri-Council Funding for a broader research project.

Traditional uses of plants in Saskatchewan: Sharing the Knowledge

University Partner: Dr. Fidji Gendron, First Nations University of Canada - Department of Science
Community Partner: Lydia Thompson
Location: AIDS Programs Southern Saskatchewan, Regina, SK

The proposed research intends to gain a better understanding about the First Nations/Aboriginal traditional and cultural uses of native plants in Saskatchewan, especially in the treatment of symptoms of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome HIV/AIDS (Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange, 2004, 2005). The research team, which includes a male and a female Elder, will meet with First Nations communities to develop working relationships between the Elders, community helpers, and the research team. The native plants information will be collected during in person interviews conducted by a student who will approach Elders and other community members following traditional and cultural protocol. The information that is gathered will be developed into a booklet with pictures of the plants, their traditional uses, and their First Nations tribal names - Cree, Saulteaux, Dakota, Dene, Nakota, and Ojibwe.

2006

Aboriginal Women’s Health and Healing: Building Community and University Collaboration to Explore Aboriginal Women’s Experience of Breast Cancer and Survivorship

University Partner: Dr. Jennifer Poudrier, University of Saskatchewan - Department of Sociology
Community Partner: Lori Chartier
Location: Breast Health Centre, Saskatoon Health Region Saskatoon, SK

Very little is known about Aboriginal women’s experiences of breast cancer or survivorship. Our aim is to develop an understanding of the meaning of breast cancer for Aboriginal women. Important aspects of seeing and hearing Aboriginal women’s stories are empowerment (through story telling) and creativity (through photography). The first step of our project gave digital cameras to 12 Aboriginal women participants, who were asked to tell their stories through the pictures that they had taken, individually and in sharing circles (and to share in the decision about dissemination). Following the participants lead, the second step is to invite Aboriginal breast cancer survivors, interested stakeholders, community groups and University health researchers to a workshop to build capacity in the area of Aboriginal women’s experiences with breast cancer and to open dialogue about wellness issues. This workshop is intended to build a culturally appropriate research strategy for a tri-provincial proposal to be submitted to Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Institute of Aboriginal People’s Health. This proposed research will address cultural factors associated with cancer care, experience and survivorship among Aboriginal women and will bring awareness to the socio-cultural issues in developing wellness strategies.

Developing Research Capacity Within a Health and Social Service Interagency Team

University Partner: Dr. Caroline Tait, University of Saskatchewan - Deptartment of Native Studies
Community Partner: Delia Naytowhow
Location: Montreal Lake Cree Nation Montreal Lake, SK

This project seeks to document, analyze and report on the restructuring of an existing community interagency team of health and social service providers in the First Nation community of Montreal Lake, Saskatchewan. The goal of the project is to engage key community stakeholders (interagency team members) to better understand the role that the interagency team plays in the delivery of health care and social service programming. Integral to this is an examination of how the activities of the team can be enhanced through a restructuring process that revisits the goals and objectives of the team. A central aim will be the integration of self-determined community research governance into the work of the interagency team through the education of team members about community based research (CBR), and research governance, particularly the principles of ownership, control, access and possession (OCAP) of research data. As part of this process a Health Research Committee will be created as a subcommittee of the interagency team. A central goal of this project will be to build research capacity into the work of the interagency team and by doing so create a model that can be used by other First Nations communities interested in integrating community-based research into an interagency model.

Health and Water Quality: Working in Partnership with First Nations Communities in Canada

University Partner: Dr. Lalita Bharadwaj, University of Saskatchewan - College of Nursing
Community Partner: Vince Hill
Location: Prince Albert Grand Council; Prince Albert, Saskatchewan

The community members of Hatchet Lake, Red Earth and Sturgeon Lake First Nations have indicated that issues of water quality and supply are raising some health concerns in their communities. The communities would like to engage in an effective working partnership to develop a national proposal to conduct “Health and Water” research from a perspective that is meaningful to community needs and is conducted with Aboriginal perspectives and knowledge incorporated into the framework of the research methodology and activity.

Perceptions of Cancer in First Nations Communities: Developing Research Capacity through Partnership

University Partner: Dr. Rose Roberts, University of Saskatchewan - College of Nursing
Community Partner: Patrick Odnokon
Location: Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority (NITHA), Prince Albert, SK.

Research shows that a greater numbers of First Nations people are diagnosed and dying from cancer than in years past. First Nations communities are small and each of these deaths is felt by everyone in the community. Although there are better treatments available and non First Nations people are living longer, this does not appear to be the case with First Nations people. We also know that smoking causes cancer, yet there are still a lot of First Nations people that continue to smoke. This research project will look at what First Nations people think about cancer, what they know about the disease, and how it is treated so that the First Nations communities can begin to look at how they can protect and prevent their members from getting cancer. We also want to find out how many First Nations people smoke, why they smoke and see if there are ways communities can help their members stop smoking and become healthier. This project will also look at other health behaviours in First Nations communities such as alcohol use, diet and physical activity. Results from this research project will expand and build on what First Nations communities know about the prevention, detection, screening, and treatment of cancer. In addition, results from this research will be used to improve access to detection and treatment services and to create culturally appropriate cancer prevention interventions in First Nations communities.

Taking Action, Reducing Risk…Engaging community in Youth-Led Research

University Partner: Dr. Shauneen Pete, First Nations University of Canada
Community Partner: Judy Ryan
Location: Meadow Lake Tribal Council, Meadow Lake, SK

The Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) has envisioned this project for the nine member bands of the Meadow Lake Tribal Council. Youth from each community will be provided with training in regards to research development, community facilitation and leadership development. The research that the youth will conduct will measure community commitment to youth led projects and initiatives. The outcome of the research in each community will measure community commitment and interest in the production of youth led projects. The youth will measure their personal development during this research using a variety of resources from Centre of Excellence for Youth Engagement (CEYE). Each community will then be presented (by the youth) on how youth engagement in research creates health benefits for youth.

Building Capacity with Aboriginal Community-based Participatory Research for Health: A Cultural Approach to Building on Strengths

University Partner: Dr. Vivian R. Ramsden, University of Saskatchewan - College of Medicine
Community Partner: Clifford LaRocque
Location: Regina Métis Sports and Culture Inc., Regina, SK

Regina Métis Sports and Culture Inc. is an urban based Aboriginal community organization that facilitates the linking of its members through social and community activities. The organization has a membership in excess of 3,500 individuals, representing a broad cross-section of the Aboriginal (and Métis specific) population in Regina. The community and the research team intend to work together to design, articulate, and plan a research agenda relevant to the baseline and ongoing assessment of the social determinants of health with the community. The team will develop capacity in the areas of mutual and transformative learning, community-based participatory research methods, transformative action research and asset mapping as mechanisms for identifying strengths and opportunities for change. Through this process, the community and research team will work towards identification of the determinants of health relevant and specific to the strengths and opportunities for change within the community; con-jointly analyze and interpret the data; develop programs and policies that evolve from the data; and, subsequently translate the learning’s into knowledge for and with RMSC; thus, building capacity at the level of the members of RMSC, the research team and the academic institutions.

Developing Research Ethics and Protocol Through Capacity Building in Aboriginal Communities

University Partner: Dr. Diane Martz, University of Saskatchewan
Community Partner: Patrick Odnokon
Location: Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority (NITHA), Prince Albert, SK

The purpose of this project is to a) build tools to develop research capacity in Aboriginal communities, b) develop a model of research ethics and protocol, c) and test this model with a community driven research project. Health research must be guided by high ethical standards and have a clear purpose and direction to contribute to an observable improvement in Aboriginal health. Aboriginal communities need to be empowered and engaged in the entire research process to ensure that they are building research capacity relevant to their communities. Creating an awareness and understanding about health research in communities will allow for partnerships in the research process and for communities to develop their own research ethics and protocol.

A research ethics and protocol strategy developed by participatory research methods will a) ensure that research with Aboriginal people incorporates the community perspective, b) allow for participation in decision making, c) enhance health research projects conducted are relevant to the community. Capacity development and transparent communication between the two institutions of thought are essential in attaining an ethical space for a valuable understanding between Aboriginal organizations/communities and university researchers. This project will promote the capacity for community driven health research and the creation of an ethical environment that supports community-based solutions to health. This model and protocol developed would be applicable and useful for future Aboriginal community-university collaborations to adopt and implement.

Marginalization of Indigenous Women: A Photovoice Project

University Partner: Brigette Krieg, First Nations University of Canada
Community Partner: Marlene Bear
Location: P.A. Women of the Earth, Inc., Prince Albert, SK

The social and economic disadvantage experienced by Indigenous women in Canada has finally received international attention with the recognition and documentation of the social injustice that characterizes their lived experience in Amnesty International’s paper “Stolen Sisters: A Human Rights Response to Discrimination and Violence against Indigenous Women in Canada”. These issues were examined through the use of Photovoice, a participatory action methodology that enables local people to actively participate in the research process, using cameras to record their views on their own communities. The experiences of marginalization of eight Aboriginal women were the focus of a Photovoice project in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. The project: a) examined how a group of multiply marginalized Indigenous women make meaning of marginalization and how that meaning has informed their lives and communities, b) placed local people at the forefront of knowledge sharing and expertise and, c) re-examined the role of the expert in community issues. The end result is a Photovoice presentation that will inform policy makers on effects of marginalization, including violence, poverty and other health and social issues on Indigenous women in the community of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

Sokawaspine Miskisiko Wicihisowin – Diabetic Eye Health Screening Study

University Partner: Dr. W. Keith Hamilton, University of Saskatchewan - Department of Opthalmology
Community Partner: Ruth Bear
Location: Shoal Lake Health Centre, Pakwaw, SK

The proposed five-year epidemiological study on the incidence, severity and rate of the treatment of diabetic retinopathy in the First Nations Population has never been done in Canada. What differences, if any, may be established in the First Nations population compared with other existing longitudinal studies in the general population? What factors, if any, may contribute in the incidence and severity of diabetic eye disease in this population? The data gathered, from Red Earth and Shoal Lake communities, over this five-year study and subsequent analysis could provide guidelines for further allocations of resources (time and money) to extend telemedicine to all remote First Nations communities in Saskatchewan.

2005

Building Capacity in Health Research Among First Nations Communities

University Partner: Carrie Bourassa, First Nations University of Canada - Department of Science
Community Partner: Ceal Tournier
Location: Saskatoon Tribal Council, Saskatoon, SK

This research will improve Aboriginal health by having current health data and identifying health needs of each community. Saskatoon Tribal Council will assist in program development; assist in developing a strategic short and long term plan, finding resources, and developing policies and procedures to improve the health delivery of the seven First Nation communities. In addition, Saskatoon Tribal Council will focus on building capacity in health research among Aboriginal people such as Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and First Nations University of Canada to promote research on Health Delivery and Control. Furthermore, this research project will be beneficial to negotiate for future funding to improve the health conditions for Aboriginal people.

Exploring the Opportunities and Challenges of Community Based Health Research Advisory Boards

University Partner: Dr. Martin Cannon, University of Toronto - Department of Sociology & Equity Studies in Education OISE/UT (Ontario Institue for Studies in Education)
Community Partner: Carol Romanow
Location: Prince Albert Grand Council, Prince Albert, SK

The Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC), in collaboration with Dr. Martin Cannon (University of Saskatchewan) and the Northern Intertribal Health Authority (NITHA) proposes the development of a Health Research Advisory Committee. This submission to IPHRC seeks funding to meet three principle objectives. The first objective is to establish a research advisory and development group consisting of existing personnel, academics and community stakeholders. The purpose of this group will be to identify additional key members and constituents in the research process, and to explore the possibilities surrounding Community-University collaboration and co-investigation. Second, to hold a series of workshops for members surrounding technical support and networking, finding available funds and opportunities, and the legal rights of communities where research is concerned. This objective is aimed at assisting in the development of research capacity at the University, community and organizational levels. And the final objective is to establish an inventory of existing health research along with an overall survey of capacity where the community accommodation of research ethics and protocol is concerned in research. It is hoped that out of this process, and in pursuing further funding, that a Health Research and/or Ethics Advisory Committee can be put into place. This may be comprised of the collaborators as already identified.

The Cultural Context of Healthy Body Weight: Exploring the social, cultural and historical factors associated with body weight among Aboriginal women in the Battlefords Tribal Council

University Partner: Dr. Jennifer Poudrier, University of Saskatchewan - Deptartment of Sociology
Community Partner: Janice Kennedy
Location: Battlefords Tribal Council - Indian Health Services Administration, North Battleford, SK

This community based project will develop a culturally appropriate research strategy and proposal for submission to Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to study the cultural context of healthy body weight in Aboriginal communities. Aboriginal women are becoming more concerned about the health impacts of being overweight and appear to be placing more importance in trying to deal with their weight problems. Building on a partnership between community members of the Battlefords Tribal Council (BTC), the BTC Indian Health Services and a university researcher, our research goals include: community consultation; capacity building; and proposal development. We will invite Aboriginal women and female Elders to participate in a sharing circle and a focus group to explore their experiences surrounding body weight and image. These findings will provide a preliminary context for developing health services, and will also identify key themes which will be carried forward to the CIHR proposal. We anticipate that this work will generate enthusiasm and commitment to wellness initiatives, and will also have positive impacts in terms of capacity building and empowerment.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow – Reviving the Spirit

University Partner: Dr. Caroline Tait, University of Saskatchewan - Women’s and Gender Studies
Community Partner: Norman Opekokew
Location: Canoe Lake Cree Nation, Canoe Narrows, SK

The objective of this development project is to generate a knowledge base grounded in the experiences of First Nations communities, specifically Canoe Lake Cree Nation, who seek to address intergenerational impacts of colonization. The knowledge base will consist of a preliminary community needs assessment for healing that will be based upon data collected from three community focus groups and from the analysis and synthesis of data derived from the CLCN Aboriginal Healing Foundation project. An environmental scan of community-based healing projects in Canadian First Nations communities that is drawn from the published literature and 15 key informant interviews will further add to this analysis. The project builds capacity in Saskatchewan in areas of Aboriginal community and academic research partnerships, knowledge about community healing, historical trauma, resilience, resistance and restitution in Aboriginal communities, and Aboriginal student training and mentoring.

Developing Healthy Decision-Making with Aboriginal Youth Through Drama

University Partner: Dr. Linda Goulet, First Nations University of Canada - Department of Indigenous Education
Community Partner: Karen Arnason
Location: File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Counci,; Fort Qu’Appelle, SK

This project is a collaborative research project among university educators, community health workers, and Aboriginal youth to engage the community in an exploration of the health issues facing youth from a youth perspective. Using drama as a research tool, the adult leaders will facilitate a process where youth explore decisions that impact their health and well-being. Through a week long workshop, youth will give expression to health issues in their lives and represent the circumstances and factors that lead them to make the choices they do in the form of a short play. The play will be performed to the community and community members will be asked to engage in the performance by entering the play as characters that make alternative choices that will affect a different outcome or ending of the play. After more than one performance of the play in different locations, the youth will come together and again use drama to inquire into, articulate, and represent what they have learned about decision making in their lives. Collaboratively the university, community and youth partners will prepare an action plan for future initiatives.

Kweezaise Medicine Lodge – A Review of the Literature and Related Resources

University Partner: Dr. Mary Hampton, University of Regina - Department of Psychology (Luther College)
Community Partner: Yvonne Saddleback
Location: Cowessess First Nation; Cowessess, SK

Kweezaise Medicine Lodge is a proposal for conducting a health study at Cowessess First Nation. The purpose is to research and work on the development of a First Nation healing facility on Cowessess First Nation. The study will evaluate the type of structure and services that is appropriate for the revival of First Nations healing methods while also providing mainstream medical services. Through a survey, the investigators will identify the needs and aspirations of the Cowessess First Nation people for the protracted practice of recovery and health. The group will seek a funding source for the identified infrastructure and program needs.

Tools for Community-Based Program Planning and Evaluation: Developing Indicators of Community Health and Wellness

University Partner: Dr. Bonnie Jeffrey, University of Regina - Faculty of Social Work and the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU)
Community Partner: Fay Michayluk
Location: Athabasca Health Authority, Black Lake, SK

This project will focus on initiating and confirming the next stage in the work related to development of community-driven indicators of community health and wellness. This work will build on a previous project that included four First Nations communities within the Prince Albert Grand Council and two First Nation communities and three provincial communities within the Athabasca region (Athabasca Health Authority). Based on community interviews and focus groups, the first stage of this work resulted in a framework of community health and wellness that includes domains and selected indicators that were identified as particularly relevant for community-based programs. This development grant will provide the opportunity to meet with the Health Directors from the Fond du Lac First Nation and Black Lake First Nation to identify the particular focus of the next stage in the project. Specifically, we will identify which areas of the framework require additional information regarding specific community-based health indicators and also will develop the community research agreement that will accompany further research work in this area.

2004

Attaining Healthy Body Weights in an Urban Aboriginal High School Through Community- University Partnerships

University Partner: Dr. Karen Chad, University of Saskatchewan - College of Kinesiology
Community Partner: Sharon LaFlamme
Location: Joe Duquette High School, Saskatoon, SK

Obesity has become an increasing problem amongst Canadian Aboriginal youth. Obesity is a major risk factor for the development of other chronic diseases including Type-2 diabetes (T2D). Although T2D can be prevented through healthy eating and physical activity, less than 50% of diabetics can identify factors contributing to their condition. Since being overweight in adolescence predicts obesity in adulthood, interventions must be initiated during adolescence to combat the devastating effect of obesity and subsequent T2D development. Schools can provide the ideal intervention setting because they can coordinate a healthy environment, a comprehensive health education and awareness program, and youth nutrition and physical activity programs. This will in turn provide the youth with the skills, and support they need in order to adopt and maintain healthy eating and physical activity behaviours.

However, lifestyle factors such as healthy eating and physical activity cannot be addressed in isolation of cultural factors. Prior lifestyle intervention strategies targeted at the Aboriginal population have been ineffective due to a lack of understanding for cultural values and traditions. On the other hand, successful strategies indicate the community needs to be involved in a participatory manner and traditional cultures and values must be incorporated into the research project. This research program will use a participatory research approach and work alongside the highs school community to jointly design, implement, and evaluate a culturally appropriate healthy lifestyles program that addresses the growing problem of obesity and T2D development.

Building Health Equity Through Literacy, Language and Culture: The Village of La Loche

University Partner: Dr. Lewis Williams, University of Saskatchewan - College of Medicine
Community Partner: Georgina Jolibois Location: La Loche, SK

The proposed research will form a partnership of community and university researchers for the purpose of conceptualizing and developing a framework to support applied research that effectively mobilizes three interrelated health determinants (literacy, language and culture) as community resources for well-being. Indigenous centred approaches and perspectives will inform the project which focuses on Aboriginal development through a holistic approach to literacy. Objectives are: (1) increased self-determination and control over health for La Loche community members through community development activities and public policy advocacy aimed at increasing literacy levels; and (2) increased Indigenous applied research capacity in this area through theory and model building regarding the interrelationships between literacy, language and culture and the ways in which these might be mobilized in other Aboriginal communities for Indigenous development. The significance of this project is its potential to contribute to the health of La Loche communities and produce innovative approaches to health through holistic literacy paradigms.

Examination of Métis Addictions in the Prince Albert area of Saskatchewan

University Partner: Joyce Desjarlais, First Nations University of Canada - Community Development and Health Science
Community Partner: Sena Richmond
Location: Prince Albert Métis Addictions Council of Saskatchewan, Prince Albert, SK

The research team is composed of: front-line service providers from the Métis Addiction Council of Saskatchewan Inc. (MACSI) Prince Albert area; researchers from the First Nations University of Canada (Prince Albert and Saskatoon sites); researchers from McGill University, Montreal; and key Aboriginal community partners. The team is developing a research proposal related to the current demographics of Métis youth and related service delivery targeting Métis youth substance abuse in the Prince Albert area. The development of this research proposal will support capacity building in the area of community-based participatory research by facilitating a better understanding of the diversity and common themes related to substance abuse, and programming and education of Métis youth addictions.

Healing Connections: Aboriginal Children and Youth Arising Above the Gang

University Partner: Bernard Schissel, University of Saskatchewan - Department of Sociology
Community Partner: Karen Pinecheechoo
Location: White Buffalo Youth Lodge, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

The project involves the White Buffalo Youth Lodge in Saskatoon; the Sociology Department at the University of Saskatchewan; the First Nations University of Canada; and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. The research involves children and youth of Aboriginal ancestry who are at risk of being in gangs in the city. In that the research is dedicated to understanding the emotional and physical health of young people in relation to gang affiliation, we will study the lived realities of children and youth with the intention of making certain that our research expresses their reality through their eyes. Our aim is to seek understanding, knowledge, and possible directions for healing for children and youth that are based on a general understanding of what constitutes a healthy community. The White Buffalo Youth Lodge is devoted to helping children and youth and this research, based primarily at White Buffalo, will have direct implications for understanding gang affiliation and for dealing with the threats that such affiliations may pose.

Pakeeway House: Healthy Women, Healthy Families

University Partner: Dr. Caroline Tait, University of Saskatchewan - Deptartment of Women Studies.
Community Partner: Priscilla Joseph
Location: Muskoday First Nation, Muskoday, SK.

The Pakeeway proposal is to provide information and recommendations to PHBD about the addiction treatment services needs of First Nations adolescent girls and women in the province. Using the research findings to support submissions to various levels of government for infrastructure and operating funds for a multifaceted addiction treatment for First Nations adolescent girls, women and their children. The proposed research will generate information about the barriers and gaps in addiction referral, treatment and aftercare services for women, including services for pregnant women and women with children. It will also provide a contextual examination of substance abuse among First Nation adolescent girls and women in which the role of confounding variables such as gender, age and socioeconomic status are considered.

The Language of Diabetes in Three Cree Communities: Developing an Ethical Community-Based Research Framework

University Partner: Gail Laing; University of Saskatchewan, College of Nursing
Community Partner: Curtis Morin
Location: Agency Chiefs Tribal Council, Health Department, Spiritwood, SK

The preliminary phase of the language of diabetes project is a three-phase project incorporating a literature review, community consultations with Elders of three Saskatchewan First Nations, and the compilation of a solid evidence-based proposal for funding. The primary objective of the preliminary phase is to develop an ethical community-based research framework that will guide the health research practices of the language of diabetes project for which funds are being sought from the Canadian diabetes association. The preliminary phase is rooted in community involvement, consultation, and direction, and incorporates capacity building, which will serve as a health research knowledge transfer mechanism for the communities of the Agency Chiefs Tribal Council. The outcome of the preliminary phase will contribute to the current discourse on ethical research practices in aboriginal communities in Saskatchewan and may serve as a model for other communities.

Traditional Healing in a Contemporary Community: Sturgeon Lake

University Partner: Willie Ermine, First Nations University of Canada
Community Partner: Shirley Bighead
Location: Sturgeon Lake First Nation, Shellbrook, SK

The proposed research will form a partnership of community and university researchers for the purpose of conceptualizing and developing a research framework that works towards the identification and implementation of a model of community healing that incorporates Indigenous and Western knowledge systems. This proposal’s objective is to bring together a community’s consciousness and perspectives about health through a process that enables structural development of a health system driven by traditional health practices alongside Western bio-medical practices in contemporary environments. The process will involve the opportunity for the research partners to discuss and examine how a community can advance the notion of health through strategic development and practice of wellness supported by research. The significance of this project is its potential value in contributing to knowledge translation and transfer strategies for the overall health of Indigenous Peoples.

Bridging the Gap Between Environmental Contaminants and the Health of First Nations Communities

University Partner: Lalita Bharadwa, University of Saskatchewan - College of Medicine
Community Partner: Martin Paul/Alma Favel-King
Location: Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, Regional Health Survey Project; Saskatoon, SK

First Nations people have long recognized that human health is intimately connected to the well being of the natural environment and the impact of environmental contamination has been a major human health issue for many First Nation Communities. To date it is not known what kind of effect environmental contaminants have on First Nations health. The links between environmental exposures and disease within native communities remains elusive. However, FSIN has recently completed a Regional Health Survey. We propose to start analyzing these RHS data and investigating potential environmental causes of reported incidences disease. This work will then lead to a review of regional concentrations and sampling of chemicals of concern. These data will then be used in a holistic human health risk assessment to assess the potential health risks to First Nations communities that may be associated with environmental contamination. Our specific goals are to a) map both First Nation Health survey data with geochemical data on a regional basis. This will provide for the first time a link between First Nation health and environmental levels of contamination specific for each individual First Nation Community b) generate two data bases: 1) Regional Health Outcomes specific for First Nations Communities and 2) a regional geochemical data base for First Nations Communities c) and to 3) finally assess risk based on community specific data.

Community-Based Identification of Environmental Issues Affecting the Health of the Chakastaypasin First Nation

University Partner: Dr. Mary Vetter, University of Regina - Department of Biology (Luther College)
Community Partner: Lyle Opoonechaw
Location: Chakastaypasin First Nation, Melfort, SK

The people of Chakastaypasin First Nation in central Saskatchewan have identified a number of environmental issues that threaten their health and well-being: environmental contamination and disruption related to forestry and mining, and changes in plant and animal distributions and vegetation communities related to climate change. This project will initiate a community-based investigation to identify the environmental issues(s) that should receive the highest priority for future research and prepare a major funding proposal for future research on the prioritized issues. The community-based investigation will focus on the documentation of traditional ecological knowledge of community members involved in traditional cultural activities, including fish and wildlife consumption and collection of traditional medicinal and food plants. A first workshop, to be held in spring 2004, will bring community members and scientists together to discuss research priorities. Semi-directive open-ended interviews of community members will be conducted by a First Nations student research assistant, trained in interview techniques, during summer 2004. A second workshop will be held in fall 2004 to set the priorities for future research. Maps will be used to focus the discussion and provide information on the locations and changes of traditional cultural activities; these will be compiled in a database. The workshops will be videotaped and the interviews recorded on audio tape; with permission of the participants. A summary CD and hard copy documents will be compiled for distribution to the community.

Exploring the Role of Nurses in Supporting Aboriginal Women Experiencing Family Violence

University Partner: Carrie LaVallie, First Nations University of Canada - Health Medicine
Community Partner: Sandy Pitzel
Location: Community Against Family Violence, Prince Albert, SK

The goal of the larger project is to engage in research using an ecological approach to develop Nursing curriculum on family violence in Indigenous communities. This stage of the project will create a process for curriculum development and conduct two literature reviews: curriculum development using participatory research and ecological research models. The results of the research will be disseminated to the community through a committee of the Community Against Violence organization, which will regularly evaluate the results. The team plans to apply for further funding to Health Canada’s Inter-professional Education for Collaborative Patient-Centered practice.

Health and Healing: Developing an Elders Forum with the Prince Albert Grand Council

University Partner: Willie Ermine; First Nations University of Canada - Community Development and Health Science
Community Partner: Ernest Sauve
Location: Prince Albert Grand Council, Prince Albert, SK

An Elders Forum, focussed on the issues of health and healing, would provide insights into Aboriginal traditions of health and its preservation. Such a Forum might be conceived as a “think tank,” a research forum, or indeed, a great library of knowledge and history of First Nations communities and their healing traditions. The proposed development of an Elders Forum is intended to build on and extend First Nations knowledge to a format designed to inform and enhance community strategies for health, community and university collaboration, and development of public policy. As such, the planning of an Elders Forum will require a close collaboration between community and university partners.

The Investigation of the Effects of Landfill Practices on Environmental Health in Selected First Nations Communities

University Partner: Lalita Bharadwaj, University of Saskatchewan - Institute of Agricultural Rural and Environmental Health
Community Partner: Laura Parenteau/Ceal Tournier
Location: Saskatoon Tribal Council, Health and Family Services, Saskatoon, SK

The potential impacts of waste disposal practices on human and environmental health in First Nations Communities needs to be identified. The majority of First Nations communities rely on local surface or ground water for their drinking water supplies, and the potential environmental and human health impact of waste disposal into landfill sites is potentially significant through the contamination of drinking water supplies.

We propose to build on our community-based participatory research program that is to investigate the historical and current waste disposal sites on First Nations by increasing the community participation and capacity building of Aboriginal students. The increased community participation will focus on getting Whitecap Dakota First Nation, Muskoday First Nation, Mistawasis First Nation, and Muskeg Lake Cree Nation more actively involved in research aimed at the identification and remediation of their water quality concerns. The increased capacity building will allow for us to provide more students a hands-on learning experience both at the laboratories, in First Nations University of Canada and the University of Saskatchewan and in the field, collecting samples.

The Sakitawak Métis Cart – Community Wellness Model

University Partner: Dr. Roger Maaka, University of Saskatchewan - Department of Native Studies
Community Partner: Don Favel
Location: Sakitawak Métis Nation, Ile A La Crosse, SK

Aboriginal traditional knowledge-based methodology will be applied in a community initiated and driven project at Ile-a-La-Crosse, Saskatchewan. The project will address pressing health and social issues as defined by the Sakitawak Métis Nation, with the goal to reduce negative outcomes in the community over the long term. Periodic measurement and observation of community selected factors over a five to ten year period will be used to inform the community as to the success of their efforts, as the community defines success. The ultimate goal of the project is to turn over negative trends and create an atmosphere of health, wealth and prosperity. Community driven and implemented programs to address health and economic conditions will increase the capacity for the community to thrive and grow in a positive environment.

2003

A Participatory Action Research Approach to Assessing Healing Programs for Aboriginal Women at Tamara’s House

University Partner: Dr. Patience Elabor-Idemudi, University of Saskatchewan - Department of Sociology
Community Partner: Karen Wood
Location: Tamara’s House Services for Sexual Abuse Survivors Inc., Saskatoon, SK

Violence against the person affects all aspects of being and has significant health impacts. Healing from childhood sexual abuse is a journey that many Aboriginal women in Saskatchewan face and many must leave their home community for a time to focus on healing. If they can do so in a welcoming, supportive environment, it is likely that they will be able to return to their home community as a stronger member of that community. This research will test whether or not Tamara’s House, a unique, Saskatoon-based facility dedicated to the healing of adult female survivors of childhood sexual abuse, is welcoming and effective in promoting healing for Aboriginal women, including those from rural and northern areas. Participatory circles with members from Aboriginal, service provider and service communities, will help establish the direction and focus of specific areas of research. The project will foster a network of service providers and develop tools that will assist them to support the survivors. Outcomes include better access to healing for Aboriginal women survivors, a supportive network for service providers in rural and northern areas and on-going assessment of Tamara’s House programs.

Analysis of Selected Water Quality Parameters at Big Island Lake First Nation

University Partner: Dr. Suzanne Nilson, First Nations University of Canada - Department of Science
Community Partner: Vince Hill
Location: Big Island Lake First Nation, Pierceland, SK

The Big Island Lake First Nation community will form a partnership and work with researchers and students at The First Nations University of Canada and the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) to investigate water quality issues. Water quality issues concern the Big Island Lake community because of the noticeable decline of water quality that has been observed by the Elders and others in the community over time. The research partners will investigate aspects of microbial ecology, selected water contaminants at sites at the Big Island Lake First Nation and determine possible links between selected microbial/water contaminants and cellular health specific to DNA, or genetic makeup of the cell. Research activity will also involve young Aboriginal student s and Elders in the community, in cooperation with the researchers at the First Nations University of Canada and the U of S. These activities also serve to address the critical need for capacity building for Aboriginal students in the field of environmental health science. Results showing relationships between selected aspects of microbial ecology, water contaminants and cellular health will highlight the importance of water quality to the health of community members and highlight the need to prevent water contamination on the reserve.

End-Of-Life Health Care Practices: Completing the Circle in Aboriginal and Conventional Medicines

University Partner: Dr. Angelina Baydala, University of Regina - Deptartment of Psychology
Community Partner: Roxanne Boekelder
Location: Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region, Regina, SK

The proposed research seeks to generate greater understanding of the end-of-life healthcare practices of traditional Aboriginal and conventional Western medicines. Healthcare of the dying is an emerging health issue affecting Aboriginal peoples. It is vital that research into differing interpretations of end-of-life healthcare be done to eliminate existing disparities between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal experiences in quality of end-of-life healthcare. We believe that the most appropriate method to understand beneficial healthcare practices for those who are dying and the families and communities who are grieving is a participatory narrative approach that involves all participants as research collaborators. Concluding statements and further research questions generated by the research participants will then be used as the basis for applying national research funding and for developing community health education workshops. Workshops for healthcare practitioners intend to improve the holistic health of Aboriginal people dying in hospital by demonstrating ways of incorporating and/or implementing traditional Aboriginal practices that promote well-being.

Exploring the Life of Urban Aboriginal Grandmothers Caring for Grandchildren: Laying the Groundwork

University Partner: Kerrie Strathy, University of Regina - Centre for Continuing Education.
Community Partner: Betty McKenna
Location: Grandmothers Community Action Partnership, Moose Jaw, SK

This project lays the groundwork for an extensive exploration of the strengths and health and social support challenges facing urban Aboriginal grandmothers raising grandchildren. It consists of the following activities: a) training Aboriginal undergraduate students as Research Assistants, b) conducting Talking Circles to clarify issues around which the research will be focused, c) using data gathered to refine the research framework, d) participating in the 2004 conference on Grandmothers and grand-mothering and e) preparing a comprehensive application for financial support for the intended research. This project will enable Aboriginal women to contribute valuable knowledge that may otherwise be lost.

This project will begin to identify needed enhancements to support systems. Results will be of particular interest to those concerned with planning health and education policies and programs serving Aboriginal women. It is hoped that this project will initiate a program of research concerning Grandmothers caring for grandchildren.

Housing and Health in our Community: Pasqua First Nation

University Partner: Dr. Doug Durst, University of Regina - Faculty of Social Work
Community Partner: Chief Elaine Chicoose
Location: Pasqua First Nation, Fort Qu’Appelle, SK

The Pasqua First Nation has initiated this project to explore the relationships between the housing and infrastructure conditions in our community and the health of residents of our community. Housing is one of the key social factors influencing health (both physical and mental health) of individuals. The project is intended to develop the framework for a larger research project which will, through a combination of community surveys and research, consider whether the poor housing conditions in our community and the lack of adequate infrastructure, specifically water and sewer services, may be contributing to poor health conditions for residents of our community.

Northern Traditional Resource Knowledge, Science and Research

University Partner: Dr. Lee Wilson; University of Saskatchewan - Department of Chemistry
Community Partner: Northern Intertribal Health Authority
Location: Prince Albert, SK

The Northern Traditional Resource Knowledge and Science Project is a research partnership with the Northern Intertribal Health Authority and the departments of Chemistry and Research Division, Family Medicine. The research allows the partners to conduct appropriate research into the integration of northern traditional resources knowledge and science for the purposes of developing curriculum for northern summer science camps for youth. This research will ultimately improve aboriginal health by creating practical tools that will build the capacity in aboriginal health science and motivate youth towards careers in science and health sciences.

An Investigation of Best Practices in Community- Based Youth Treatment

University Partner: Herman Michell, First Nations University of Canada
Community Partner: Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier
Location: Okanese First Nation, Balcarres, SK

The Okanese First Nation is intent on improving life opportunities for the youth of our community. A key component of this will be addressing the issue of alcohol and drug abuse and addictions. Through this development project, the community will investigate “best practices” in community-based youth treatment to provide the basis for developing a research proposal and ultimately a program to meet the specific needs of the Okanese First Nation. The program developed would be relevant to the needs of the surrounding First Nations.

Bridging the Gap Between Science and Community Action to Reduce Obesity in Aboriginal Peoples

University Partner: Dr. Karen Chad, University of Saskatchewan - College of Kinesiology
Community Partner: Arnette Weber-Beeds
Location: Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, Pelican Narrows, SK.

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in Canadians. Unlike half a century ago, obesity is now prevalent in many Aboriginal populations. It is estimated that the incidence of obesity in Aboriginal women in five times that of their non-Aboriginal counterparts, with prevalence rates indicating that up to 60-80% of adult Aboriginal women are obese. This increased prevalence of obesity has also affected the younger population, with 30% of youth between the ages of 5 and 19 considered obese. This highlights the urgent need for culturally sensitive long-term community-based programs aimed at reducing obesity and maintaining health body weights.

This proposal is aimed at bringing together university and community people to address the problem of obesity, with is subsequent effect on Type 2 diabetes, in the Aboriginal population. With co-participation of members from the Aboriginal communities, strategies will be developed that are in keeping with local perceptions of health needs and are managed with the support of local people to increase community involvement and awareness. The effects of physical activity and nutrition strategies on body weight in women of childbearing age and children will be studied within the context of four research modules: Community capacity building, socio-behavioural influences, biomedical, clinical and epidemiological outcomes during pregnancy, and development of childhood body composition. This proposal will emphasize knowledge sharing and partnerships, harmonizing health promotion and specific cultural groups’ values.

Enhancing Perinatal Health Surveillance Among Saskatchewan First Nations

University Partner: Dr. Janet Smylie, University of Ottawa - Department of Family Medicine
Community Partner: Alma Favel-King
Location: Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, Saskatoon, SK

In order to improve the health of young First Nations families in Saskatchewan, First Nations Communities require health information systems that identify health needs; monitor health status; and evaluate programs. Such a health information system must be culturally relevant for First Nations communities. In addition it would be desirable if the system made use of modern health science innovations and methods where appropriate. In this project, the research team will work with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations to set up a health information system in the area of reproductive health. This system would be governed by the FSIN on behalf of First Nations in Saskatchewan. The research team will hold community meetings and interviews to ensure that the new information system reflects the cultural value systems of the First Nations communities who will use it.

Groundwater and Municipal Water Quality Sampling for Mistawasis IR#103 First Nation

University Partner: Dr. Bryan Schreiner, Saskatchewan Research Council
Community Partner: Gene Ouellette
Location: Mistawasis First Nation, Leask, SK

It is essential that the chemical composition and potential effects on human health of the groundwater and its long term use as a drinking water supply on First Nations Reserves be evaluated. The Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) is proposing that in co-operation with the Mistawasis Reserve Band Council and the Indigenous Peoples Health Research Centre the existing information on the local water wells be collected and a groundwater sampling program be conducted on the reserve. SRC staff will mentor and train an Aboriginal student in sampling techniques and oversee data compilation and reporting of this investigation. This study will address the environmental health and disease prevention of First Nations peoples on the Mistawasis Reserve. The results of this study will be presented at the band office and well owners will also receive this information.

Integrated Mental Health Service Delivery in First Nations Communities

University Partner: Dr. Bonnie Jeffery, University of Regina, the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU), and the Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre (IPHRC)
Community Partner: Angelique Haysom
Location: Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority, Prince Albert, SK

Mental health service delivery in northern Saskatchewan communities faces several challenges. First, there are a high percentage of mental health issues in northern Saskatchewan communities. Second the geographic isolation and remoteness of communities means accessibility is not always easy. Third, mental health services are offered by different agencies, in different ways and with different levels of follow-up. Fourth, traditional healing is not always a regular part of service delivery.This research study is designed to explore current service delivery in several diverse First Nation communities and to identify gaps in services. This information will then be used to develop an integrated model of mental health service delivery, one that blends the medical model with traditional community-based approaches to healing. In this project, service providers from several communities and researchers will learn together about how we can integrate traditional healing, improve mental health services and, ultimately, improve the health of northern communities.

Southern Saskatchewan/ Urban Aboriginal Health Coalition: Incorporating Aboriginal culture, healing and ways of knowing into health professional education and health service delivery in Saskatchewan

University Partner: Carrie Bourassa, First Nations University of Canada and the University of Saskatchewan - College of Nursing  (Regina Site)
Community Partner: Rick Kotowich
Location: Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region, Regina, SK.

The Southern Saskatchewan/Urban Aboriginal Health Coalition, composed of researchers from the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (SIFC), Regina site; the University of Saskatchewan, College of Nursing, (Regina site); the Native Access of Nursing Program, Regina site; the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) Nursing Division, Regina site; and the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region, in conjunction with key Aboriginal community partners, is developing a research proposal related to incorporating Aboriginal ways of knowing, healing, and culture into health professions education programs and health service delivery in Saskatchewan. The development of this research proposal will support capacity building in the academic research community by facilitating a better understanding of the diversity and common themes in the Aboriginal communities in Saskatchewan in relationship to health, healing, and culture and their relationship to health professions programs. It will build capacity within the health service delivery community in the same way. The development of the proposal will also develop research understanding and capacity within the Aboriginal community, as relationships will be developed that will continue to be nurtured in the future.