Hotıì ts’eeda’s summer student program was launched in the spring of 2018 with the goal of building capacity for young Indigenous students with an interest in health, research and Indigenous methodologies. Three summer students were hired in Yellowknife, one in Behchokǫ̀, one in Inuvik and one in Délįne.
Three of the students reflected on what they learned working for Hotıì ts’eeda and how it has changed their thinking on health and research. Their thoughts are below.
What we learned over the summer with Hotıì ts’eeda
Joni Tsatchia, Youth Engagement Researcher
"Working with Hotıì ts’eeda was a unique experience. I learned so much about SPOR. During my work experience, I learned about knowledge translation (KT) and believe it can bring more successful research in the North, especially in the health sector. Before working with the SPOR unit I didn’t know how research contributions could make a huge difference in the health care system. I believe we can truly improve the quality of life once we start paying attention to the stories that exist right at home. Knowledge translation is about gaining insight from local people—youth, adults, and Elders. As a summer student with Hotıì ts’eeda, this is what I’m taking away because it is about revitalizing and decolonizing from a system that was never the Indigenous way from the beginning. Indigenous people need to explore their roots in order to initiate holistic approaches. I was also grateful to be part of the Ełèts’ehdèe Summit and to hear from many different researchers and Elders. I got to work with a great team of people and would encourage other summer students to apply. It has taught me the importance of research and the potential to benefit a community through connecting researchers with community members and working in collaboration with one another."
Roxanne Kotchilea, Website Database Researcher
"The Ełèts’ehdèe annual conference that connected researchers, stakeholders, health providers, organizations, and Elders to share knowledge to improve research in the NWT was an extraordinary event to be part of. Listening to everyone’s input and concerns and achievements thus far in the health and research field has been astonishing—it shows that in the north, we are slowly working to enhance the health and wellbeing of its Indigenous communities. Being part of the SPOR Unit has been such an amazing experience, knowing that I’ve been part of an organization that wants to make a positive difference in the health and wellbeing of Indigenous people gives me hope in a decolonizing health care system that will bring resiliency to our Indigenous communities."
Genevieve Bekale, Policy and Research Assistant
"Working with Hotıì ts’eeda, the NWT SPOR unit, as a summer student was a great experience. I realized how important it is to collaborate our fellow members of each community and researchers regarding health, health research and just research in general. I had the opportunity to be part of the annual gathering for the Ełèts’ehdèe gathering in Yellowknife, as well as the Academic Youth Summit that took place in Behchokǫ̀. During the summit, I learned that there are concerned youths who were able to speak with confidence in regards to Tłı̨chǫ Nawo in the schools, community health centres, and in all communities of the Tłı̨chǫ region. The outcome of all this really made me want to keep working, keep trying and help be part of voices being heard in the NWT. Hotıì ts’eeda helped me realize there could be change, change for our people and elders, especially when it comes to health care because our well being and health is very important."