UBC Theses and Dissertations
Exploring the connections to wholistic health and wellness of Indigenous peoples living in rural and remote communities Chow, Maddison I.
Indigenous peoples throughout Canada have traditionally lived active lifestyles. However, due to the lasting effects of Colonization and its institutions (such as the Indian Residential School System and the Sixties Scoop), there has been a growing concern for marked health disparities, particularly surrounding wholistic health and wellness. Specifically, rural and remote Indigenous communities may experience greater health disparities due to several factors (such as the lack of available healthcare services). However, there is a lack of available literature examining the current aspirations (and potential barriers) related to maintaining connections to wholistic health and wellness within rural and remote Indigenous communities. In partnership with an Indigenous community partner organization, this work explores the current aspirations and perspectives of Indigenous peoples living in rural and remote Indigenous communities related to wholistic health and wellness. Indigenous community members were invited to participate in a virtual sharing circle workshop that was facilitated during the 9th Annual National Indigenous Physical Activity and Wellness (NIPAW) Virtual Conference. Participants were asked to complete an electronic survey (Likert-type scale) to further examine perspectives related to community health and wellness. A total of eight participants attended the virtual sharing circle workshop and seven participants completed the electronic survey. Using thematic analysis, five themes emerged from the virtual sharing circle workshop. Community voices were highlighted to further reflect the powerful discussions and teachings that were shared during the workshop. Using the Cronbach’s alpha, the electronic survey tool was determined to have high internal reliability (α = 0.84). The findings from the electronic survey indicate that Indigenous peoples living within rural and remote communities value highly traditional and cultural practices and ties, connections to wholistic health and wellness, and inclusion and diversity of all individuals in the community. A series of knowledge translation resources will be co-created with and for Indigenous peoples to highlight and reflect the perspectives, key findings, and recommendations stemming from the virtual sharing circle and survey. This research helped to identify the current aspirations of Indigenous peoples living within rural and remote Indigenous communities, to facilitate the co-creation of future wholistic health and wellness programs and initiatives.
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