Edets’seèhdzà Studentship recipients Erica Abel and Marisa McArthur took part in health research projects in summer/fall 2020 under Aurora Research Institute Manager of Health Research Programs Dr. Pertice Moffitt.
Abel is a member of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN) who wants to pursue research that deals with the crossover of modern and traditional teachings in healing. McArthur is interested in exploring research to action -how locally-driven Indigenous health research has the power to cultivate meaningful change in NWT communities.
Reflections from Erica Abel, Aurora College Nursing student, on her experience working in health research as an Edets’seèhdzà Studentship recipient.
"I had the privilege of participating as a research assistant on a project with Manitoba University. I could not resist the learning opportunity that Hotıì ts'eeda and Aurora College Edets'seèhdzà Studentship offered me. Participating in the research throughout the year allowed me to gain communication skills in ways that I did not think could improve, and enabled me to grow in patience with listening and improved people skills.
With the studentship, I worked on the Cheka Gojtì or "gift of the child". This project's main objective is to identify and describe maternity services in communities across northern Canada. Participating in this research, I came to understand many women and their families relocate during a monumental time of their live/s. The research done in collaboration with women, families, and maternity services personnel allowed me to grasp what is involved in confinement, labour, post-labour, neonatal care, and then travel back to the communities. The participants volunteered to voice their experiences. The study would not be a success without the people's trust in giving their stories. I developed a greater understanding of what women had to go through when being sent to the city to give birth. These women lose community supports such as family and friends; however, the partners have been granted escort travel during a precious time of their lives. I helped capture the participants' many feelings and the need for resources that call for personnel, accessibility, and permanent local support for these communities.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I had to reach out to interviewees without face-to-face interaction. I found a new way for the interviewees to feel comfortable without direct contact. There was a common need from each of the community people that I Interviewed - more support. The viewpoints from the interviewees were invaluable. I am a born Dene of the Northwest Territories and a proud member of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. As a future Registered Nurse, this deepened understanding of what families endure will strengthen my bedside care to lessen medical travel stress. People's voices need to be heard and supported through evidence-based research and practice for future policies to change. As a future Dene nurse, it is imperative to use my cultural understanding to guide my relationship practice. The patience I learned allows the clients to absorb what is being asked rather than putting ideas in their heads of what they need. In addition, I have adapted to rephrasing questions that would enable clients with language barriers to understand and make informed decisions without being redirected. This exciting learning opportunity with Hotıì ts'eeda and Aurora College is one that I will forever remember, and I pray for further growth for the next recipient.
A deeply honoured recipient, Mahsi Cho!"