Tag: Indigenous

Indigenizing research: the Wise Practices conference

By Laurie Edmiston

This past year the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN) held its annual gathering, on the theme of “transforming wholistic approaches to Indigenous health.”

It’s a gathering of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people, combining a business meeting, a gathering of Aboriginal people with HIV/AIDS, and the ‘Wise Practices’ research conference.

But more importantly, it is a gathering of colleagues who have become friends, clients who have become peers, people with HIV who have become community leaders, and an extended family.  Also present are elders welcoming delegates to their traditional lands, and children – the younger ones mostly playing with each other and the older children learning and participating with their moms.

We need to address the unique and complex issues of Indigenous people living with HIV

By Cécile Kazatchkine and Sandra Ka Hon Chu

cecile-k-2SANDRA_HI_RES- croppedIndigenous people in Canada are disproportionately affected by HIV, representing 10.8 per cent of new HIV infections and 9.1 per cent of people living with HIV in Canada.[1]  In Saskatchewan alone, the number of Indigenous people living with HIV is around twice the national average and the highest in Canada and “one of the few places in the industrialized world where people are still dying from AIDS and HIV.”

Lack of access to HIV treatment and care among other complex factors contributes to these alarming rates: in many rural or remote areas, HIV-specific services are simply not available, or the small size of the community creates concerns around confidentiality for those accessing care. Indigenous people in Canada — many of whom are surviving a legacy of colonization and the intergenerational effects of residential schools — continue to experience systemic discrimination and extremely high rates of incarceration. In this context, the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure may be perceived as yet another form of institutionalized violence and discrimination, amplifying the negative impact of the HIV epidemic on Indigenous communities.

Indigenous Youth Leaders are Taking Action on HIV in their Communities!

By Sarah Flicker and the Native Youth Sexual Health Network

Group shot

Taking Action II is a community-based action research project about building and supporting Indigenous youth leadership in the HIV/AIDS movement.  We are a group of Indigenous youth leaders, Indigenous community-based organizations and university-based researchers. We wanted to create awareness around HIV, sexual health, and decolonization in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities across Turtle Island (also known as Canada).

In Taking Action I, we worked with over 100 youth in six Indigenous communities across Canada to make art about the links between HIV and colonization. We did this as a way of broadening the conversations about HIV – to move away from the individual shame-and-blame discourse. We wanted to help communities understand and respond back to all the structural factors that have conspired to make them vulnerable to HIV: racism, poverty, land theft, residential schools, loss of language/culture, epidemics of addiction, the Sixties Scoop (the practice of taking Indigenous children and placing them in foster homes beginning in the 1960s) and ongoing child welfare involvement, incarceration, etc. Youth created a lot of amazing art that took up these themes. They loved our workshops and asked for more opportunities to get together with youth from other communities.

How The Cedar Project is using mobile phones to engage young Indigenous people who use drugs in HIV prevention and treatment

By Kate Jongbloed

Members of the Cedar Project Partnership in March 2015.

Members of the Cedar Project Partnership in March 2015.

 

How’s it going?

These three little words have tremendous power. Sent as a simple text message, it creates an opportunity for dialogue between a case manager and a person seeking health care.

It is the power of those three words that drives a new mobile phone program in B.C. that connects young Indigenous people living with or vulnerable to HIV with much-needed care and services.