Towards reconciliation efforts: The need for indigenous voice in indigenous health strategies

Theme 4. Education
Session Name 4.8 Research as reconciliation: What is the situation in Canada and the Nordic countries?
Presentation Type Oral
Author(s) Laurie-Ann Lines (University of Alberta, Canada), Cindy Jardine (University of the Fraser Valley, Canada)
Abstract text

In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released the Calls to Action to “redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation”. Many Calls are applicable to universities and researchers particularly in health faculties, where there are resources and power to enable change in education, health practices, and reconciliation. Recommendations to address the Calls will be shared from the perspective of an Indigenous PhD student studying in public health. Across the health field, there are lessons to be learned from many health interventions targeting Indigenous populations that have had minimal success. Largely, this is due to the lack of an Indigenous holistic wellness perspective and ‘voice’ in both the development and implementation of an intervention. Alternatively, there are examples of some health researchers who have let Indigenous communities and participants lead successful health interventions. In working towards addressing the Calls, there is a responsibility attached to those ‘individuals who are involved and capable of being involved’ in reconciliation action to take a step back and reconsider their approach. They must ask themselves – is there a voice missing? Reflecting on previous Indigenous health initiatives and personal experiences, the researcher will share some commonalities amongst effective research collaborations that apply to answering the Calls. Recommendations will include: mentorship of Indigenous students, self-reflection, supporting decolonization processes, and creation of new collaboration methods. This presentation is meant to encourage both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to stop participating as passive vessels in the academic systems and take action together.

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