On Thursday, August 8th and Friday, August 9th my summer student, Sheryl and I will be presenting our five digital health stories to medical professionals at the Stanton Territorial Hospital in the Sacred Space from 10 am to 3:30 pm. These screening are on a drop in basis and will subject to the time constraints of the hospital staff. As stated in an email from Stanton Hospital adminstration, “Hospital staff would only be able to attend if they found themselves with available time on the floor. They would have to do this on their own time/break.”
Medical professionals are being invited to participate in this project because these digital health stories were created for healthcare professionals to gain a better understanding of Indigenous women’s perspectives on holistic health and Indigenous healing practices. Medical professionals participation includes viewing the digital stories – which are 3 to 5 minutes in length per story with five stories in total – and completing a Quality Improvement Evaluation. The purpose of our evaluation is to better understand how medical professionals are responding to the stories and if they are effective in improving cultural safety, facilitating relationships between Indigenous patients and health care providers, and addressing inequity. This quality improvement evaluation is anonymous and I will be including the feedback in the verification phase of my health research.
In my opinion, the methodology of digital storytelling is a quick and impactful way to deliver culturally informed holistic health messaging, and education about Indigenous women’s traditional healing practices, and reconciliation in healthcare. With that in mind, I submitted an abstract, Decolonizing Health Care (see below) in May about my summer research project to a special issue of Northern Public Affairs on research, Indigenous knowledge, and community-driven health care in the NWT. The special issue, Working Together for Good Health: Research, Indigenous Knowledge, and Community-Driven Solutions in the NWT will explore issues surrounding health care, services and research in the Northwest Territories and highlight innovations and areas of growing momentum. The purpose of this special issue is to allow communities, researchers, Indigenous governments, and innovators to share ideas and highlight opportunities to build and grow the NWT health knowledge and research landscape.
Decolonizing Health Care: Indigenous Digital Storytelling as Pedagogical Tool for Cultural Safety in Health Care Settings
Indigenous peoples make up 50% of the population of the Northwest Territories. They experience a disproportionately higher burden of some chronic illnesses, and health disparities in comparison to non-Indigenous residents. Indigenous women’s health stories are complex due to their intersecting identities of race and gender, their experience of colonialism, and socio-economic marginalization. Health care providers often fail to create an environment of cultural safety and understand the holistic health needs necessary to support this population. Using Smith’s (1999) framework of the Indigenous Research Agenda which depicts self-determination at the center of research with the four directions – decolonization, healing, transformation and mobilization – guiding the process, I will use the methodology of digital storytelling to co-create five digital health stories. Two participants from Treaty 6 (Onion Lake Cree Nation) and three participants from Treaty 8 (Yellowknife) – will produce their own 3-5 minute video that combines photos, narration and music. These stories have the potential to empower participants and facilitate a deep level of self-expression with themes of land, language, community and culture (holistic health). This project features an integrated knowledge translation plan with participants sharing their own stories with local health care providers. I will discuss the results from the community dialogue created from these stories, which has the potential to decrease the time between knowledge generation and knowledge implementation in the health care system. Furthermore, I will discuss how Indigenous digital stories can serves as pedagogical tool for cultural safety in health care settings.
Please contact me Shelley@womenwarriors.club if you have any questions about our Stanton Territorial screening or the community event, Legacy: Indigenous Women’s Health Stories on August 15th at 6 pm, Northern United Place, Yellowknife. Please register for our free event including a community meal of chili and bannock through email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Myself and our five digital storytelling participants have been invited to be guests on the CBC Radio show, Trail’s End hosted by Lawrence Nayally. It will be live recorded on Tuesday, August 13th at 4 pm. You can listen to the recording on their website here. We are very excited to share our experiences with digital storytelling and rally everyone to attend our community event, Legacy. Please share this radio program link with your friends and family!