We comprise a multi-disciplinary team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous academic and community-based researchers working together with youth, educators, social and family service professionals, and community leaders in the Nishnawbe Aski Nation in Northwestern Ontario. Our focus is on communities in the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA) catchment area, which includes rural and remote fly-in communities that range in population from ~50 to 2,500 people. We are working with these SLFNHA communities to identify their strengths and assets that can form the basis for fostering resilience and a more prosperous future for their youth.
We are taking a community-led collaborative approach to co-design, implement and evaluate contextually- and culturally-relevant programs and their outcomes. Active engagement from youth is important, in order to empower them to determine their own destinies and to be leaders in their communities. Our objective of fostering resilience and prosperity among First Nations youth creates a platform to meet the second research objective of understanding the synergies and points of contention and consensus between Indigenous and Western methodologies. To do this, our research will aim to address three levels of analysis:
(1) What communities do:
How do communities develop strategies to enhance resilience and prosperity among youth?
(2) How it is done:
How can we bring together Indigenous and Western knowledge to achieve positive change?
(3) How it is shared:
How can communities share the knowledge gained to sustain and build on what is learned, and how can they contribute to other First Nations communities?