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Wednesday, June 17 • 1:45pm - 3:15pm
Indigenous Perspectives - Bernadette Iahtail, Nicolette Teufel-Shone, Eliana Suarez

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Indigenous Perspectives:

Abstract #193
Aboriginal Fathers Love Their Children Too!
Presenter: Bernadette Lahtail
This workshop will present the results of five focus groups with Aboriginal fathers from local reserves and urban dwellers, and with caseworkers and supervisors involved with child welfare. This process culminated with joint sharing circle where the fathers and practitioners were able to learn from each other. The workshop will highlight our findings and recommendations for policy and practice, and present a powerful film based on these life experiences, also entitled " Aboriginal Fathers are parents too!" We plan to involve the audience In deepening our knowledge of the Issue from the perspective of seasoned social work practitioners who can enrich our knowledge, with a particular emphasis on unpacking the root causes that contribute to the exclusion of fathers who desire greater involvement with their children, but who are too often kept a distance. The session will provide an opportunity for reflective casework  practice, an examination of systemic biases and attitudes, and an exploration of pragmatic alternatives to the situation.

Abstract #259
Role of Community Health Representatives in Building Resilience in Native Communities
Presenter: Nicolette Teufel-Shone Co - Presenters: Mae-Gilene Begay, Samantha Sabo, Heather Dreifuss, Kerstin Reinschmidt
In the 1960s, Indigenous communities in the US identified the need and lobbied for community health paraprofessionals to improve cross-cultural communication between Native communities and predominantly non-Native health care providers.  The federally funded Community Health Representative (CHR) Program emerged and today, CHRs provide services in most of the 556 federally recognized tribes and many Indian urban centers. CHRs share the language, socioeconomic status and life experiences of community members. They are trained to perform a wide range of tasks, e.g., home-based health assessments and culturally relevant health education. Evaluation of CHRs has focused on patient contact and services. Although their role as health advocates is clearly outlined by Indian Health Service (IHS), which serves as the umbrella organization for CHR programs nationally, their role as community leaders and change agents supporting healthy behaviors and building community resilience is less well documented.  Talking sessions with CHRs in Arizona reveal that they organize community health promotion events, provide presentations in schools, senior centers and worksites, and coordinate emergency and disaster responses. To recognize and foster this local strength, CHRs experiences and community-based strategies should be documented, shared and integrated into the standard training programs to enhance community resilience.

Abstract #252
Resilience or Resistance? Learning From the Experiences of Indigenous Women in Peru 
Presenter: Eliana Suarez
The intricate relationship between resistance and resilience is far from being understood but this paper endorses views that place resistance as a catalyst for survival and perhaps the foundation of long term resilience. Drawing upon extensive research utilizing sequential mixed methods and field work with grass-root associations of Indigenous Quechua women in Ayacucho, we examine how this group of women utilizes memories of their resistance during the Peruvian armed conflict in order to cope with their current everyday struggles and to re-affirm their new spaces of resistance in post-conflict. In particular, these stories shift the emphasis from women’s suffering during conflicts to their resistance and courage. From these narratives, we conclude that when analyzed conceptually resilience and resistance are separate units but when they are expressed as living experiences their boundaries are less defined and more fluid.


Bernadette Iahtail

Execute Director, Creating Hope Society of Alberta
She is a registered Social Worker and co-founder and Executive Director of Creating Hope Society, a society founded for the survivors of the “The Sixties and Seventies Scoop of Aboriginal Children in Care“. Her key passions are to create awareness of Aboriginal history, specifically... Read More →

Eliana Suarez

Dr. Eliana Suarez, is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University since 2011. She has an MSW and a PhD in Social Work from the University of Toronto. She has extensive experience in community mental health, specifically the nexus of trauma, resilience... Read More →

Nicolette Teufel-Shone

Dr. Teufel-Shone’s research interests are in the effectiveness of strength based approaches to health promotion. For more than 25 years, she has collaborated with tribal communities in the US. These tribe-university partnerships have developed and shared culturally relevant health... Read More →


Mae-Gilene Begay

Navajo Nation
Director at Navajo Nation, CHR Program Mae-Gilene Begay, MS is Din’e (Navajo), her maternal clan is Salt and paternal clan is Bitterwater. She manages Navajo Nation Tribal programs that provide community outreach and health education. She conducts program/policy planning and development... Read More →

Heather Dreifuss

Coordinator at College of Public Health, University of Arizona Ms. Dreifuss coordinates a research education and practicum experience for Native students. She is a skilled instructor and has collaborated on curriculum development with Din’e College, the Navajo Nation Tribal College... Read More →
avatar for Kerstin Reinschmidt

Kerstin Reinschmidt

Assistant Professor, University or Arizona
Assistant Professor at College of Public Health, University of Arizona Dr. Reinschmidt specializes in culturally relevant health promotion, predominantly using participatory and qualitative methods. She has been developing, adapting, implementing and evaluating public health promotion... Read More →

Samantha Sabo

Assistant Professor at College of Public Health, University fo Arizona Dr. Sabo’s research interests are in the social and political context of family health among Mexican immigrant and Indigenous peoples. Her work has been dedicated to the use of mixed, quantitative and qualitative... Read More →

Wednesday June 17, 2015 1:45pm - 3:15pm EDT
Alumni Hall NAB 1st Floor, King's College

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