Cultural Safety

Summer of 2018, we held our annual NAMHR meeting where we invited guests from across the country to talk about the upcoming year. One topic of conversation was to apply for a SSHRC funded grant, which would allow us to meet in a central location to discuss the importance of cultural safety when implementing interventions and research in Indigenous settings. Our partners agreed and there was a frantic scramble to meet the incoming deadline for the SSHRC connections grant. With much deliberation and a lot of help from our partners, we submitted the grant in time and won! The team passed the information on to our partners and they were excited to come meet again!

In February 2019, the Montreal research team, as well as partners from B.C., the East Coast, and parts of Ontario, flew into the horrifyingly frigid Winnipeg winter’s -50 degrees. Others, from Kenora and The Pas, fought through the snow to come meet us! 17 guests from across the country convened at the Sandman hotel in Winnipeg for the three-day meeting.

Over the course of the three days, we used this opportunity to catch-up with partners, but also to discuss the importance of creating culturally safe spaces throughout all aspects of program implementation and research. Over the course of three days, the LTOA team reflected on their experiences with the program and the role of cultural safety across both the implementation and research process. Only a few guiding questions were needed, as our partners eagerly discussed the attributes that are necessary in creating a culturally safe space. Three significant themes that emerged were: (1) personal and interpersonal dynamics of the partnership and collaboration between community researcher and non-Indigenous researcher; (2) structural, social, and contextual dimensions of the research process; and (3) the cultural dimensions of the process. It was an incredibly valuable discussion and one that we all left feeling enriched by the experience.

Part of this grant included a meeting space in Ottawa, with other grant holders, to discuss topics related to research in Indigenous settings. Principal Investigator, Dr. Laurence J. Kirmayer, and community partner from B.C., Erin Aleck, joined these other researchers to talk at this two-day National Dialogue! Erin expressed how strong of a team her and Laurence were during these discussions, and how they both brought different forms of knowledge to the meeting that complimented each other quite nicely.

The LTOA team would like to extend a thank you to everyone that was involved in putting together the SSHRC grant and making this meeting so successful!


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