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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 109, Issue 5–6, pp 717–725 | Cite as

First Nations Elders’ perspectives of engagement in community programs in Nak’azdli Whut’en, British Columbia, Canada

  • Rochelle Tonkin
  • Shannon FreemanEmail author
  • Jenny Martin
  • Valerie Ward
  • Kelly Skinner
Mixed Research
  • 115 Downloads

Abstract

Objectives

Meaningful social engagement is important to reduce risk for social isolation and loneliness. First Nations Elders are a unique group and little knowledge currently exists of their preferred forms of social interaction. The objective of this study was to describe the types of programs Nak’azdli Elders desire, identify barriers to participation, and improve creation of programs that address Elders’ needs and interests.

Methods

This project was co-created by the Nak’azdli Health Centre and Elders, located in Northern British Columbia, with support from academic partners when and where asked. An advisory committee selected participants perceived as able to complete the survey and available for interviewing. Participants were interviewed orally in English or Carrier in their homes or at a drop-in centre, by a well-respected Nak’azdli Elder. The Elder entered participant responses (including self-reported health, awareness and utilization for existing programs, and preferences for new programs) into a paper-based survey. Descriptive and content analysis were conducted.

Results

Nak’azdli Elders (N = 38) were interested in wisdom sharing, social programs, and health-related activities. Elders wanted to be actively engaged in programs/activity selection, helping organize programs, knowledge sharing, skills, and stories. Barriers to participation included lack of transportation, personal health concerns, scheduling conflicts, and lack of knowledge about programs/activities.

Conclusion

Nak’azdli Elders were interested in culturally relevant programs involving sharing cultural knowledge, teachings, and/or language with younger generations. Elders wanted to be engaged in all stages of activities, including planning, participation, and evaluation. Future programs should prioritize community collaboration and co-creation with Elders.

Keywords

Indigenous population Aged Social isolation Social planning 

Résumé

Objectifs

Un engagement social significatif est important pour réduire le risque d'isolement social et de solitude. Les Aînés des Premières Nations constituent un groupe unique et il existe peu de connaissances sur leurs formes préférées d'interaction sociale. L'objectif de cette étude était de décrire les types de programmes que souhaitent les Aînés du Nak'azdli Whut’en, d'identifier les obstacles à la participation et d'améliorer la création de programmes qui répondent aux besoins et aux intérêts des Aînés.

Méthodes

Ce projet a été co-créé par le Centre de santé Nak'azdli et les Aînés du Nak'azdli Whut’en, situés dans le nord de la Colombie-Britannique, avec le soutien de partenaires universitaires, au moment et à l'endroit demandés. Un comité consultatif a sélectionné les participants perçus comme étant capables de répondre au sondage et disponibles pour l'interview. Les participants ont été interviewés oralement en anglais ou Carrier à leur domicile ou centre d'accueil, par un Aîné du Nak'azdli Whut’en respecté. L'Aîné a saisi les réponses des participants (incluant leur état de santé autodéclaré, leur niveau de connaissance et d'utilisation des programmes existants et leurs préférences pour de nouveaux programmes) du sondage sur papier. Des analyses descriptives et de contenu ont été effectuées.

Résultats

Les Aînés du Nak'azdli Whut’en (N = 38) étaient intéressés par le partage de la sagesse, les programmes sociaux et les activités liées à la santé. Les Aînés voulaient participer activement à la sélection des programmes et des activités, aider à organiser les programmes, le partage des connaissances, les compétences et les histoires. Les obstacles à la participation comprenaient le manque de moyens de transport, les problèmes de santé personnels, les conflits d'horaire et le manque d’information sur les programmes et les activités.

Conclusion

Les Aînés du Nak'azdli Whut’en s'intéressaient à des programmes culturellement pertinents impliquant le partage des connaissances culturelles, des enseignements et/ou de la langue Carrier avec les jeunes générations. Les Aînés voulaient participer à toutes les étapes des activités, y compris la planification, la participation et l'évaluation. Les programmes futurs devraient donner la priorité à la collaboration communautaire et à la co-création avec les Aînés.

Mots-clés

Population autochtone Âgés Isolation sociale Planification sociale 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Snachailya and thank you to the Nak’azdli Elders who participated in this study. We express our heartfelt thanks to Elder Lillian Sam for her leadership and support of this survey. We are grateful for the support from the Nak’azdli Health Centre and to Onespark for their efforts and contributions to the study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

None to declare.

Disclosure of funding

This work was funded through a Convening Grant from the Community Action Initiative.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rochelle Tonkin
    • 1
  • Shannon Freeman
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jenny Martin
    • 3
  • Valerie Ward
    • 1
  • Kelly Skinner
    • 4
  1. 1.Northern Medical Program, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.School of NursingUniversity of Northern British ColumbiaPrince GeorgeCanada
  3. 3.Community Health ServicesTachieCanada
  4. 4.School of Public Health and Health Systems, Faculty of Applied Health SciencesUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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