Dr. Angela Snowshoe (co-principal investigator with Donald Gamble) is a successful recipient of a CIHR Indigenous Approaches to Wellness research grant in the amount of $138,056 for her project “(Re)Connecting Animal-Human Relationships as a Doorway to Indigenous Wellness.” Only a small percentage of grants submitted to Tri-Council are funded, so this is indeed something to be celebrated especially as Angela’s application was ranked in the top 10 of all grants submitted to this competition.
Many contemporary health care service approaches fail to reflect the importance of Indigenous peoples’ relationships to the more-than-human natural world (e.g., animals, plants, soil, water, weather, and Ancestors). Strong and healthy connections between humans and the more-than-human natural world are vital for physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance within and across communities and species. Our strengths-based research project will begin to repair the divide between humans and animals in a Saskatchewan First Nation community. First, we will develop and deliver a unique animal-human relationship workshop aimed at strengthening Indigenous ways of knowing and relating to animals. Second, we will create an Indigenous wellness model of health and healing. Third, we will model exemplary ways of working with human and more-than-human communities in research. To do this, our research team will work closely with community members to capture participants’ workshop experiences through sharing circles, open-dialogue, interviews, digital stories, and ceremony. These stories and narratives will provide insight into the importance of animal-human relationships for holistic wellness and will be used to inform health promotion programs that meet the unique needs of Indigenous youth, families, and communities.