VOICES: Identifying safe and unsafe spaces in Indigenous communities

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Thanks to the First Nations Health Authority and the Indigenous communities of British Columbia, we are pleased to announce that we will be expanding the VOICES of Children and Youth project to BC.

The Hupačasath First Nations community will be engaging approximately 10 of their youth members to engage in the project. The youth will be asked to take photographs and provide narrative of places in their community that they believe are ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’, from an injury perspective. Ms. Carolina Tatoosh will serve as the community lead, working with Drs. Emilie Beaulieu, Ian Pike (UBC/BCIRPU) and Alison Macpherson (York). The project is scheduled to run for six months until June 2019, and will culminate in a presentation by the youth to Hupačasath community leadership.

VOICES is a research initiative currently taking place in the Mohawk community of Akwesasne, located in an area that straddles Ontario, Quebec, and New York along the St. Lawrence River. Drs. Ian Pike and Emilie Beaulieu of the BCIRPU and Alison Macpherson from York University are project leads, and Dr. Rose Alma-McDonald is the community lead. These researchers are collaborating with the community of Akwesasne to help to identify safe and unsafe spaces.

In November 2018, a reporter from the Ottawa Citizen spent the afternoon with the children and youth of Akwesasne as they participated in a photo-mapping project of their community. Students took photos of safe and unsafe spaces to learn about safety, storytelling, and their community. The children will present these photos to the Akwesasne Mohawk Council as a way of asking them to make their community a safer place to live and play.

“We really believe in the voice of the child here,” Dr. Pike told the Ottawa Citizen. “We believe that kids have a unique perspective. They travel in that space and they understand it better or in a different way than adults do. And if we are making decisions about that environment, I believe children should have a voice in it and we should listen to that voice.”

VOICES is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health and Research (CIHR) in partnership with the Akwesasne Mohawk Board of Education, Hupačasath First Nation, University of British Columbia, York University, and Katenies Research and Management Services.

MEDIA COVERAGE

Ottawa Citizen – December 18, 2018

Indian Time – December 6, 2018

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