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Research study aims to reclaim Indigenous knowledge sharing

May 8, 2019

Bernice Downey

Dr. Bernice Downey has been awarded a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for a research project that she will be conducting in collaboration with Lake St. Martin First Nation, in Gypsumville, Manitoba.

Downey is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Health Science, cross-appointed to the School of Nursing and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences.  She is also the Indigenous Health Lead for the development of an integrated Indigenous Health Initiative for the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Her research study is entitled “Chee Keykaydung [sharing knowledge] & Maamwi-Gnawending [caring together] Project”.

“This project aims to reclaim and emulate traditional inter-community knowledge sharing practices in a contemporary and innovative way, using storytelling circles and gatherings both as methods of data collection and knowledge dissemination,” says Downey.

“It is our objective to further the application of these methods to applied knowledge translation within collaborative Indigenous research. The significance of this inquiry is its potential to support and enhance Lake St. Martin First Nation’s community capacity to cope with transitional stressors. Secondly, the methodology demonstrates a traditional model of Indigenous community partnership that can enhance capacity to promote and foster wellness strategies. The knowledge produced in these activities will be mobilized in a tri-community ‘coming together’ where chee keykaydung can be facilitated and held in common by the community through a Knowledge Holder Apprentice. The partnership with Lake St. Martin First Nation seeks to share and learn more about Saulteaux nag add a wangeigan [knowledge] values, beliefs and practices regarding well-being and to understand what opportunities may arise when we bring academic and non-academic partners together to access each other's unique knowledge, expertise and capabilities to support community well-being,” Downey says.

SSHRC is providing one of year funding ($24,107), starting March 1, 2019, through their Partnership Engage Grants program.

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