Current Projects

We recognize that Indigenous research must be undertaken in partnership with communities, recogize Indigenous ways of knowing and meet the highest standards of community ethics and scientific rigor.

For more information, see our guiding principles.

Visioning Health II (2015-2019)

Background

The ground-breaking results of the study, Visioning Health: Using the Arts to Understand Culture and Gender as Determinants of Health for HIV-Positive Aboriginal Women (VH), undertaken by, for and with HIV positive Aboriginal women (PAW) indicates that, when done with attention to Indigenous knowledges, cultural traditions, and individual and collective strengths, research can be healing for participants.

The proposed intervention research study builds on VH which was funded by a CIHR-IAPH Anisnabe Kekendazone Network Environments of Aboriginal Health Research (AK-NEAHR) Seed Grant in 2010 and had the full title: “Visioning Health (VH): Using the Arts to Understand Culture and Gender as Determinants of Health for HIV-Positive Aboriginal Women”. VH was a multi-site, strengths-based, culturally-grounded, arts-informed, and community-based participatory research study that involved 13 PAW from three sites (two cities and one ‘virtual’ group) across Canada. The results of VH included the importance and emergence of: 1) Resilience, 2) Self-Determination and 3) Social Support in the PAW participants.

The VH results were noteworthy as they unexpectedly indicate that, rather than being just a data collection method, the VH steps and practice had potential to be an innovative healing/wellbeing intervention for PAW with lasting positive effects - by emphasizing strength, connection, and collective resilience. The PAW participants of VH referred to the research process and activities as “life-changing”, “life-giving”, and “damn good medicine”.

Given the disproportionate burden of HIV and AIDS on Aboriginal women and the predominance of research that highlights Aboriginal women’s needs, risks, vulnerabilities and deficits, research and interventions that ‘bring life’ to Aboriginal communities is of urgent significance. As well, “evidence shows that interventions to maximize and take advantage of health assets can counter negative social and economic determinants of health, especially among vulnerable groups” such as Aboriginal women.

We, therefore, propose that the process, activities and orientation to Indigenous knowledge used in VH be used as a health asset-seeking intervention aimed to optimize the wellbeing of PAW living in Canada – this is the impetus of the current proposal.

Funder(s)

Partner(s)

Indigenous Mentorship Network of the Pacific-Northwest (2017-2022)

Background

The CIHR-Institute of Aboriginal People’s Health (IAPH) strives to advance the research agenda to improve the health of Aboriginal people in Canada. Strengthening research networks and facilitating capacity exchange for Indigenous health researchers is an integral activity to ensure systemic growth in research capacity and development. To further this goal, IAPH is interested in funding transformative and paradigm shifting proposals in the development of an Indigenous Mentorship Network Program (IMNP) which meets the needs of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis trainees and New Investigators.

There is a strong rationale for the proposed Indigenous Mentorship Network of the Pacific Northwest (IMN-PN), which possesses institutional, community, cultural, academic and research capacities to mentor and support Indigenous Undergraduate, Master’s, Doctoral and Postdoctoral trainees, as well as New Investigators, (collectively referred to as Mentees) through research training and networking. Currently in Canada, there are limited senior Mentors to support Indigenous research trainees in developing their inquiries and careers and few formal programs to enhance Indigenous students’ research skills. The IMN-PN fills this gap by providing individual and collective mentorship, support and networking.

Goals

Employing a Two-Eyed Seeing approach, the goal of the proposed IMN-PN is to create and maintain an “action-learning circle” 3 of traditional and innovative supports for Mentees, thus increasing the number, competitiveness and success of future First Nations, Inuit and Métis health researchers who can work collaboratively with and for Indigenous communities, collectives and nations. This goal will be achieved through the following objectives:

  • Prioritize Indigenous Knowledge, decolonizing methodologies, Two-Eyed Seeing, a strength-focus, and Indigenous community-engaged research.
  • Develop, implement, support and collaborate on strategies for recruitment, retention and representation of First Nations, Inuit and Métis trainees and New Investigators.
  • Develop, coordinate, support and collaborate on networking opportunities for First Nations, Inuit and Métis trainees and New Investigators.
  • Cultivate, coordinate, support and collaborate on diversely oriented academic, community and organizational research mentorship opportunities that support Mentees throughout the different stages of their training and careers.
  • Identify and address systemic and individual (including psycho-social) barriers hindering Indigenous trainees and New Investigators from pursuing health research activities and careers.
  • Members
Funder(s)

CIHR-IIPH

Partner(s)

More information

Aboriginal HIV and AIDS Community-Based Research Centre (2011-2016; 2017-2022)

Background

The CIRCLE currently accommodates the Western Research Manager of the Aboriginal HIV & AIDS Community-Based Research Centre (AHA Centre), which is co-led by Dr. Loppie (Co-PI). In collaboration with the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN) and through an extensive and established ‘network of networks’, the AHA Centre strategically contributes to an effective response to HIV & AIDS-related issues relevant to Indigenous peoples in Canada and international Indigenous populations.

Guided by CBR principles, the AHA Centre supports innovative and creative research that is grounded in Indigenous and decolonizing methodologies as well as rights, strengths and action-based inquiry. The AHA Centre also disseminates research evidence about HIV & AIDS in Indigenous communities through novel Knowledge-Translation-to-Action (KTA) approaches as well as build capacity in community and academia to actively apply research findings.

Funder(s)
Partner(s)

Hulitan Culturally Appropriate Parenting Skills Assessment

Background

This research project will be done in partnership with the Hulitan Family and Community Services Society of Victoria, BC (Hulitan). Hulitan is aware that the urban communities are comprised of many different Nations, therefore respects and values the traditional teachings of all Aboriginal people. Hulitan is mandated to provide the Kwen’an’latel Intensive Parenting Program for Aboriginal parents/caregivers who have had their children taken into foster care by the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). This program was designed specifically by the local Aboriginal community and is the first and only urban Aboriginal parenting program in the Greater Victoria area to be mandated by MCFD.

Objectives
  • To ensure Aboriginal children, youth and families are connected to their culture

  • To ensure Aboriginal children and youth remain and/or are returned to a safe and healthy environment

  • To provide individual, family and group support to urban Aboriginal children, youth and families

  • To promote cultural awareness and foster a positive cultural identity

  • To provide appropriate community and service referrals

  • To provide skills and knowledge to aid in improving the lives of urban Aboriginal people and communities.

The culturally respectful draft assessment tool will be reviewed by two Elders/knowledge keepers who have knowledge of local Aboriginal worldviews, values, and concepts. After appropriate revision based on elder and knowledge keeper feedback, we will attempt to establish content validity (i.e. determine if the measures (questions, observations) accurately assess parenting capacity) of the assessment tool through review and feedback by two independent C6 delegated social workers, who work in the area of child protection. A C6 social worker has the delegated authority of the BC Director of Child Welfare to approve the return of a child in foster care to the custody of their parents.

In fulfilling one of its mandates, to facilitate reuniting children in foster care with their family of origin, Hulitan provides the Kwen’an’latel Intensive Parenting Program, which involves education, skill development and assessment of parenting capacity, as determined by the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). However, anecdotal evidence suggests that the assessment tool currently used may not capture the cultural contexts that shape Aboriginal parents’ provision of care to their children. The proposed study aims to develop and pilot test a more culturally respectful assessment tool to inform current practice with Aboriginal families.