Notice: Important information about COVID-19 here.

National gathering brings together elders and youth to look at Indigenous health issues

By Dale Johnson Posted: February 19, 2016 2:00 p.m.

The First Nations University of Canada is one of the sites of the first Indigenous Knowledge and Ways of Knowing Gathering to be held in Saskatchewan.
The First Nations University of Canada is one of the sites of the first Indigenous Knowledge and Ways of Knowing Gathering to be held in Saskatchewan. Photo courtesy of Namaste Marsden

Experts in Indigenous health research from across Canada are in Regina for a conference February 19 – 21, 2016.

About 60 people are taking part in the Indigenous Knowledge and Ways of Knowing Gathering, with events being held at the First Nations University of Canada, the University of Regina and the All Nations Healing Hospital. They’re experts in Indigenous health research and are from a variety of universities, research centres and professional organizations. Attendees include elders, community leaders, students and researchers from Trent University, University of Victoria, University of Alberta, University of Manitoba and University of Quebec to name a few.

The event is co-hosted by the Indigenous Peoples' Health Research Centre (IPHRC) and the Aboriginal Health Research Network for Aboriginal Knowledge and Ways of Knowing (AHRNet-AKWK).

“It will be an intimate gathering that will give youth, students and researchers opportunities to learn from elders and knowledge holders,” explains Cassandra Wajuntah, Associate Director of IPHRC.  

“Our goal of this national gathering is to facilitate knowledge transmission, sharing and discussion between Indigenous knowledge holders, elders and youth, researchers, policy groups, and practitioners to share ideas, promising practices and lessons learned about respectful research grounded in Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing,” she adds.

IPHRC is comprised of a team of researchers, students and community members who envision thriving, healthy, self-determining Indigenous peoples, families and communities. IPHRC is focused on building capacity for community-based Indigenous health research in Saskatchewan, and creating networks of Indigenous health researchers regionally, nationally, and internationally.

The Aboriginal Health Research Network for Aboriginal Knowledge and Ways of Knowing (AHRNets-AKWK) is a national “network of networks” in Aboriginal health research that engages knowledge holders, practitioners, researchers, trainees and knowledge brokers collaborating to advance health research. The goal is to facilitate regional, national and international collaborations that support innovative research, capacity building, and forums for sharing ideas and promising practices.

This is the first time that an Indigenous Knowledge and Ways of Knowing Gathering has been held in Saskatchewan. This is the third gathering of this national network, with previous gatherings in Alberta and B.C.

For further information please contact Cassandra Wajuntah at 306-537-2043 or cassandra.wajuntah@uregina.ca

Organizers of the event will be honouring the memory of Dr. Jo-Ann Episkenew, the Director of IPHRC, who sadly passed away days before the gathering was set to begin. “It is in honour of Jo-Ann and her commitment to this event that our team felt it was important to move forward with hosting the gathering,” says Cassandra Wajuntah, one of her former students and now Acting Director of IPHRC. “We continue to walk in her footsteps as she taught us.” A tribute to Dr. Episkenew was published in the Regina Leader-Post.