On 27 March, the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health commenced its 2023 Indigenous Research Seminar Series with a Research Symposium featuring our partners at the Waakibiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health (WBIIH) at the University of Toronto. Attendees from across the Faculty of Medicine and Health and our research networks included Health Associate Dean Indigenous Strategy and Services, Mr Rick Macourt and Associate Dean (research) Professor Mac Christie.
We were privileged to begin the Symposium with traditional Ceremony led by Knowledge Keeper from Turtle Island (Canada) Clay Shirt; ceremony proceeds all of WBIIH’s academic teaching, meetings and research. Sharing this ceremony also situated the research of our Indigenous colleagues and upheld our sharing of Indigenous research within Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing.
Dr Mikaela Gabriel and Mr Roy Strebel presented on ‘Shkaakaamikwe gchi twaa miigwewin (Mother Earth’s Gifts): The Ontario Network Environment for Indigenous Health Research’, which is creating a shift from traditional biomedical approaches to mental health towards a systemic approach grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing through a cultural evidence-based research network. Poche Centre Director is an international researcher collaborator on this Network grant.
Dr Sabina Mirza and Mr Michael Brown presented on the ‘Impacts of Climate Crisis on Indigenous Young Adults’ Mental Health’, detailing their participatory approach to engaging with First Nations young adults in Ontario and the Northwest Territories to understand and express their climate concerns in order to develop recommendations to policymakers.
Dr Mikaela Gabriel and Mr Michael Brown presented on ‘The Ku-gaa-gii pimitizi-win Study: COVID-19 and Indigenous Vaccination Hesitancy, Experiences from the Streets’. This study engaged with data analysis within an Indigenous framework, as well as the narrative experiences of Indigenous people experiencing homelessness in Toronto, to understand patterns of vaccine uptake and reasons for vaccine hesitancy, as identified by community voices.