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.