Innu well-being: Three research articles

Access three research articles on Innu well-being by Dr. Leonor Ward, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Developing an Innu framework for health research: The canoe trip as a metaphor for a collaborative approach centered on valuing Indigenous knowledges

Indigenous communities increasingly assert their right to self-determination by requiring that participatory research approaches be used, valuing and prioritizing Indigenous knowledges, for the purpose of improving Indigenous health. While frameworks that focus on Indigenous knowledges are being developed, these must be adapted or developed by Indigenous communities because their knowledge is specific to place and inherent to their lived experience. No community-based participatory research (CBPR) framework for health research has been developed with the Labrador Innu. In addition, while the literature emphasizes the importance of relationship in research with Indigenous communities, the process of establishing relationships is underspecified....

This article is useful for non-Indigenous researchers interested in relational approaches to research with Indigenous communities, and for Indigenous leaders and researchers who seek community solutions through research.

Citation

Ward LM, Hill MJ, Antane N, Chreim S, Poker C, Olsen Harper A, Wells S. Developing an Innu framework for health research: The canoe trip as a metaphor for a collaborative approach centered on valuing Indigenous knowledges. Social Science & Medicine. 2020; 266. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.113409.

A process of healing for the Labrador Innu: Improving health and wellbeing in the context of historical and contemporary colonialism

In light of the negative effects of historical and contemporary colonialism on the Labrador Innu, healing initiatives grounded in self-determination, renewal of cultural practices, and non-reliance on Western bio-medicine, are known, taught and widely practiced among the Innu. The value of Indigenous healing practices in the treatment of Indigenous people is well-recognized in Indigenous wellness literature, yet non-Indigenous health practitioners know little about healing processes. Moreover, to our knowledge, no studies have examined any contemporary Labrador Innu healing process. The main aim of this paper is to describe the process of healing among the Innu....

We provide health professionals with valuable information for considering Innu healing as a model that expands their views for the benefit of Innu seeking mental health services. Implications for non-Innu health and social service providers are about broadening their understanding of the significant role of self-determination among Innu, learning Innu ways-of-knowing and being, recognizing one's own biases, and acknowledging the power imbalances between themselves and Innu people.

Citation

Ward LM, Hill MJ,, Picard A, Anita Olsen Harper A, Chreim S, Wells S. A process of healing for the Labrador Innu: Improving health and wellbeing in the context of historical and contemporary colonialism. Social Science & Medicine. 2021; 279: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.113973.

“The Land Nurtures Our Spirit”: Understanding the Role of the Land in Labrador Innu Wellbeing

We examined Indigenous views of wellbeing, aiming to understand how the Labrador Innu view influence of land on their health. The Innu live in two First Nation communities (Sheshatshiu and Natuashish) in the subarctic portion of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Their views on land and wellbeing are context specific and have not been studied; our research addresses this significant gap in literature. Findings highlight that the experience of being on the land with family and community, learning cultural knowledge, and gaining a sense of identity play a major role in enhancing wellbeing. Externally imposed policies and programs conceiving Indigenous land as a physical place only fail to understand that land sustains wellbeing by emplacing knowledge systems and cultural identity.

Citation

Ward LM, Hill MJ, Antane N, Chreim S, Olsen Harper A, Wells S. “The Land Nurtures Our Spirit”: Understanding the Role of the Land in Labrador Innu Wellbeing. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(10):5102. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105102

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