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Wednesday, June 17 • 11:00am - 12:30pm
Culture as Resilience in Indigenous Communities - David Mykota, Andrew Hatala, Carol Kauppi

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Culture as Resilience in Indigenous Communities:

Abstract #86
Honouring Our Strengths: Indigenous Culture as Intervention in Addictions Treatment
Presenter: David Mykota 
Drug addiction among Indigenous peoples is a serious health concern in Canada. Indigenous knowledge shares that traditional culture is vital for client healing. However, there is an absence of empirical documentation regarding the impact of traditional cultural practices on client wellness. Our project is the first of its kind in Canada’s addictions field and is suitably timed with renewal processes underway in Canada’s First Nations treatment system for the establishment of a culturally competent evidence base to document the nature and the effectiveness of engaging cultural interventions within treatment programs. The aim of our community-based research team’s work is to evaluate the effectiveness of First Nations culture as a health intervention in alcohol and drug treatment. We involved: 1) Treatment Centre environmental scan participants (staff, clients and community members, 2) Indigenous knowledge keepers (Elders and other traditional knowledge keepers), 3) Western-trained research team members. Our work has resulted in the establishment of a wellness framework addressing physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. From this, a valid instrument to measure the impact of cultural interventions on client wellness was drafted and is currently being field-tested. We look forward to sharing this information broadly through innovative, informative and engaging knowledge translation products.

Abstract #183
Mental Illness, Resilience, And A Concept Of The "Future": Identifying Strategies Of Resilience And Mental Health Among Inner-City First Nations And Métis Youth
Presenter: Andrew Hatala
Mental illnesses enact a significant toll on Canadian youth, yet are unevenly distributed throughout the country. Estimates suggest that 15% of young Canadians between the ages of 10 and 19 cope with anxiety, depression, or addictions, while estimates among Aboriginal populations are twice the national average (35%), with addictions and suicide being five times national averages. These inequities signal a crucial need for research among Aboriginal youth. This study employed a mixed-methods approach within the inner-city contexts of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM-28) was administered to approximately 100 First Nations and Metis youth to identify sources of stress, risk, and resilience. In-depth qualitative stories and a photovoice project further occurred with 12 youth to phenomenologically elucidate successful coping strategies. The results of this research identified several strategies for successful coping, like cultural continuity and spirituality, but also highlight the importance of youth having a concept for and conception of the “future.” Those youth who could conceptualize and imaginatively project into the “future” were seen to be the most resilient. This research can inform early intervention theory and policy to promote the mental health of Aboriginal children and youth in Saskatoon and other Canadian urban contexts.

Abstract #207
Resilience among Indigenous Youth: A Retrospective, Narrative Study
Presenter: Carol Kauppi Co - Presenters: Arshi Shaikh, Honarine Scott 
This presentation describes a study conducted using a qualitative participatory action research (PAR) design and a narrative approach. This retrospective study explores resilience among Indigenous youth based on the experiences, perspectives and narratives of a Mushkegowuk Cree storyteller reflecting upon his youth. The narrative analysis was guided by a resilience model to identify themes of resilience within an Indigenous context. Issues relating to the political and cultural contexts of the participant’s early life, personal experiences of adversity and elements of resilience will be discussed. Resilience was evident in the relationships developed by the participant. Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous resources available to him in the community enabled him to survive in the face of extreme hardship. The findings underscore the importance of addressing issues that impact on youth resilience at the individual, family and community levels. Through the medium of storytelling, this study begins to address the lack of research about resilience among Indigenous youth. Storytelling, based on the experiences of individuals, is a powerful method of sharing life lessons for the benefit of the next generation. This study contributes to the on-going conversation of how to develop supportive services that foster health and well-being among Indigenous youth.


Andrew Hatala

Andrew R. Hatala was a Ph.D. student in the Culture, Health and Human Development program at the University of Saskatchewan. His Ph.D. research involved looking at how Western medical models of mental health treatment and conceptualization compare with Indigenous knowledge and approaches... Read More →

Carol Kauppi

Professor at Laurentian UniversityCarol Kauppi is the Director of Poverty, Homelessness and Migration, a five-year research project dealing with homelessness and migration in northern Ontario. She is also Professor of Social Work and Director of the Centre for Research in Social Justice... Read More →

David Mykota

University of Saskatchewan
David Mykota is an Associate Professor in the College of Education, Department of Educational Psychology & Special Education, at the University of Saskatchewan. His research areas include substance abuse, program evaluation, resiliency, e-learning, and child and youth psychopatho... Read More →


Honarine Scott

Clinical Treatment Worker at Native Child and Family Services of Toronto Honarine Scott, M.S.W, completed her master's degree at Laurentian University. Her employment has focused on child, adolescent and family services for Indigenous people. Her master's thesis explored resilience... Read More →

Arshi Shaikh

Assistant Professor, Renison University College-University of Waterloo
Arshi Shaikh, Ph.D, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Development Studies at Renison University College-University of Waterloo and an Adjunct Professor at Laurentian University, Sudbury. She is a Registered Social Worker in the province of Ontario. Dr. Shaikh’s... Read More →

Wednesday June 17, 2015 11:00am - 12:30pm EDT
Classroom 3 A&A Lower Floor, King's College

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