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EcoHealth

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 472–488 | Cite as

Building International Indigenous People’s Partnerships for Community-Driven Health Initiatives

  • Tanya R. WahbeEmail author
  • Eduardo M. Jovel
  • David R. Silva García
  • Vicente E. Pilco Llagcha
  • N. Rose Point
Article

Abstract

In this article we present an international Indigenous people’s partnership project co-led by two Indigenous communities, Musqueam (Coast Salish, Canada) and Totoras (Quichua, Ecuador), as a community-driven health initiative. The Musqueam-Totoras partnership includes Indigenous organizations, universities, international agencies, government, and nongovernmental organizations to address Indigenous health concerns in both communities. Our collaborative approach provides a framework to (a) increase the development expertise of Indigenous people internationally, (b) increase skills among all participants, and (c) facilitate Indigenous knowledge mobilization and translation to promote cultural continuity. This international Indigenous people’s partnership between north and south reflects the diversity and commonalities of Indigenous knowledge, contributes to cultural revitalization, and minimizes the impact of assimilation, technology, and globalization. Indigenous people’s partnerships contribute to self-determination, which is a prerequisite to the building and maintenance of healthy communities and the promotion of social justice. The exchange of Indigenous knowledge upholds Indigenous values of respect, reciprocity, relevance, and responsibility. Given the history of colonization and the negligence of governments in the exercising of these values with respect to Indigenous communities, this contemporary exchange among Indigenous people in the Americas serves to reclaim these values and practices. International cooperation empowering Indigenous people and other marginalized groups has become fundamental for their advancement and participation in globalized economies. An international Indigenous people’s partnership provides opportunities for sharing cultural, historical, social, environmental, and economic factors impacting Indigenous health. These partnerships also create beneficial learning experiences in community-based participatory research and community-driven health initiatives, provide culturally sensitive research ethics frameworks, increase capacity building, and address basic human needs identified by participating communities.

Keywords

community-driven health initiative international Indigenous people’s partnership community-based participatory research Indigenous research ethics Indigenous knowledge knowledge transfer capacity-building 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank community members of Musqueam First Nation (Canada) and Comuna Santa Rosa de Totoras (Ecuador) for their leadership and dedication. Special thanks to the Musqueam and Totoras youth participants: Courtenay Gibson, Rebecca Campbell, Joni Sparrow, Vanessa Campbell, April Campbell, Matthew Mathison, Ana Shagñay, Elena Lema, and many others whose leadership and enthusiasm made this project a success. Project activities could not have been implemented without the commitment of our coleaders: in Ecuador: Dr. Joscelito Solano, Alicia Chela, and Carlos Llagcha, and in Canada: Coreen Mathison, Jerilyn Sparrow, Erma Campbell, Lindsay Gibson, Woody Sparrow, and Joanna Clark. We thank Quelemia Sparrow for video documentation and Heather Commodore for English lessons while in Ecuador. Numerous partners contributed to the implementation of this project and helped to strengthen our team. We are grateful for the training and support provided by Universidad Estatal de Bolívar, Ayuda de Bolívar para los Campos, UBC Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, Musqueam Ecological Conservation Society, Departamento de Salud Indígena, and many others. Sharing of traditional knowledge by the Yachaks Indigenous Healers Council and the support of local Indigenous organizations further enriched the project. We are also grateful to Vivian Campbell and Doris Fox (Musqueam First Nation), Elder Dorris Peters (Sto:lo Nation), and Dr. Richard Vedan (Secwepemc First Nation) for sharing their cultural knowledge. For funding support we thank the Canadian International Development Agency’s Indigenous People’s Partnership Program (CIDA-IPPP), UBC Institute for Aboriginal Health, BC ACADRE, and Universidad Estatal de Bolívar. We appreciate the helpful support and guidance provided by the Canadian Ambassador in Ecuador, Christian Lapoint. Comments on earlier drafts provided by Dr. Jean Barman, Veronica Robertson, Kerrie Charnley, and anonymous reviewers helped to strengthen this article.

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Copyright information

© Ecohealth Journal Consortium 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tanya R. Wahbe
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Eduardo M. Jovel
    • 1
    • 2
  • David R. Silva García
    • 3
  • Vicente E. Pilco Llagcha
    • 4
  • N. Rose Point
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Institute for Aboriginal Health and BC ACADRE, College of Health DisciplinesUniversity of British ColumbiaBritish ColumbiaCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Aboriginal Health and Natural Products Chemistry LaboratoryUniversity of British ColumbiaBritish ColumbiaCanada
  3. 3.Departamento de InvestigaciónUniversidad Estatal de BolívarProvincia de BolívarEcuador
  4. 4.Totoras Community MemberComuna Santa Rosa de TotorasProvincia de BolívarEcuador
  5. 5.Musqueam Community MemberMusqueam First NationBritish ColumbiaCanada
  6. 6.Aboriginal Elder AdvisorBritish Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT)British ColumbiaCanada

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