Planting the seeds for Aboriginal-led research

September 28, 2021

Historically, Aboriginal peoples have been the subject of research rather than partners in it. This has led to mistrust and outcomes that do not always benefit the communities that are studied. Vanessa Mitchell, Aboriginal Lead and Cultural Safety Program Manager; and Leslie Bryant, Regional Practice Lead for Research are among those changing the way Aboriginal health research is conducted. 

The pair--along with former Knowledge Facilitator Christopher Macklin--partnered with Elders Eric Mitchell (Syilx Nation), Chris Marchand (Syilx Nation) and Roberta Price  (Snuneymuxw / Cowichan Nations) to create and lead a workshop for researchers interested in working with Aboriginal peoples. The workshop, titled Planting the Seeds, also led to an academic paper on the subject, published in the International Journal of Indigenous Health.

The team hopes that,

“…the seeds we planted will take root and grow among all of our workshop participants as they navigate their own personal journeys of learning, self-reflection, and allyship within research.”

Elders shared how oral histories have weight and carry validation, the importance of building bridges and making connections, and how stories have been and continue to be healing. Three themes emerged from the participant feedback: (1) bringing together the mind and the heart; (2) self-reflection and initiating change; and (3) understanding cultural safety as a lifelong journey.

Vanessa, Leslie, Elder Eric and Elder Chris recently met with podcast host Tracy Mooney to talk about their work. Tune in to Interior Voices to hear their stories.

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