Thesis by Michelle Saravia – “The Significance of the land in the education and health of Anishinaabe youth from the Pic River First Nation” This study shares the experiences of twenty-one Anishinabek youth from Pic River First Nation, Ontario, Canada in relation to how the Land1 is significant for their education and good health.
This thesis is meant as a small part of my family’s role in protecting the Land; my upbringing and connections to my Anishinabek community have influenced my desire to learn about traditional education and its role in supporting Anishinabek learners. Understanding the significance of Land for Anishinabek youth and what they see as its connection to their education and health is important. These findings support the position that we should continue to keep the Land the way it is so our future generations can experience this too.
This research study contributes to the need to hear from Indigenous youth. The stories shared here reflect how Pic River Youth situate themselves and thrive from the Land, community and family in Pic River. Though there is research on Indigenous ways of knowing, and how Indigenous youth learn, there are fewer studies on how Land is significant for the youth, how the Land makes them feel, and how this contributes to their education and good health. In my findings, I heard that “the Land is everything.” Miigwetch in sharing this journey with me.
Thesis by Katie Big-Canoe – “Indigenous Knowledge, Social Relationships and Health: Community-Based Participatory Research with Anishinaabe Youth at Pic River First Nation” Canada‘s First Nations youth endure a disproportionate burden of health inequalities. While patterns of First Nation‘s youth health point to distinctly social causes (e.g., lacking social support, violence and addiction), research has not adequately explored how the quality of local social environments influence First Nations youth health. Drawing from 19 in-depth interviews with Anishinabe youth, this community-based project utilized an Indigenous Knowledge framework to explore youth perceptions of health, social relationships, and the ways they interact. This research centred around four main objectives including: 1) understanding how Anishinabe youth define health & well-being; 2) exploring youth perceptions of social relationships; 3) examining how social relationships influence health; and, 4) understanding how culture shapes health. Findings suggest that youth definitions of health differ across individual, family and community levels. Youth perceive social relationships as fundamental for the provision of social support, and that good relationships influence healthy behaviours (e.g. youth participation in ceremonies). Over time, it appears that loss of Indigenous Knowledge figures strongly in the declining relationship between health and social relationships of youth (e.g. changing ways of interacting). Despite the loss of knowledge and changing lifestyles of the community however, youth spoke about meaningful connections to the land, and they identified the importance of cultural teachings related to Indigenous knowledge (e.g., moral values such as respect for land/elders) in their everyday lives, social relationships, and health behaviours.
Thesis by Kassandra Kulmann “We should be listening to our Elders” Indigenous knowledge (IK) (knowledge held by Indigenous peoples regarding local environments, ways of life and culture) can potentially improve health and environment conditions. This thesis examines IK transfer between Anishinabe Elders and youth. A knowledge translation intervention was applied to address community concerns regarding decline of IK transfer between Elders and youth.
Youth were hired to participate in a summer school and interview Elders regarding environment and health issues. Qualitative interviews were conducted with youth before and after their internships to evaluate their experiences and IK uptake. The summer school and internships were effective in facilitating IK transfer between Elders and youth. Based on the methods and findings of this thesis, a framework was developed that outlines structures and relationships necessary for IK transfer. This framework displays that the structures were not sufficient for IK transfer; relationships built between all involved in the research process were integral to knowledge transfer.
Tobias, J., Richmond, C.A.M., Luginaah, I. (2013). Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) with Indigenous Communities: Producing Respectful and Reciprocal Research. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 8 (2).
The health disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada continue to grow despite an expanding body of research that attempts to address these inequalities, including increased attention from the field of health geography. Here, we draw upon a case study of our own community-based approach to health research with Anishinabe communities in northern Ontario as a means of advocating the growth of such participatory approaches. Using our own case as an example, we demonstrate how a collaborative approach to respectful and reciprocal research can be achieved, including some of the challenges we faced in adopting this approach. Please contact for print and electronic copies.