The NWT Aquatics Program: A Case Study of Leadership Development

Regions: Dehcho Region

Tags: social sciences, skills training, leadership, swimming

Principal Investigator: Giles, Audrey R. (17)
Licence Number: 14177
Organization: University of Ottawa
Licenced Year(s): 2007
Issued: Jun 12, 2007
Project Team: Davina Rousell (Research Assistant, University of Ottawa)

Objective(s): To document the history of the NWT Aquatics Program in Hay River and Hay River Reserve, expand understandings of Dene practices concerning water, create documents and presentations that can help decrease water-related fatalities and physical inactivity, and expand undertstanding of Dene cultural practices to help contribute to better understandings of aquatics leadership.

Project Description: Since its inception in 1967, the NWT Aquatics Program has brought aquatic leaders from southern Canada to the north to teach northern residents the importance of physical activity, leadership and water safety from a southern perspective, in an effort to decrease high drowning rates.

The NWT Aquatics Program has escaped academic scrutiny required to learn from its successes and address its shortcomings. The NWT continues to have one of the highest drowning rates in Canada, and very few northern residents work as aquatic leaders.

This research project will use focus groups, semi-structured interviews (recorded on audiotape and transcribed) and archival research to gain understanding into the role that Dene women and their cultural knowledge can play in enhancing leadership with water safety and physical fitness in aquatic settings. An ethical review has been done by the University of Ottawa Ethics Review Board. Participants will remain anonymous if they choose. Individuals who choose to remain anonymous will be given pseudonyms in transcripts and publications, and identifying information will be removed. Data will be stored on a password protected computer and on audio cassettes in a locked house.

A bi-monthly newsletter will keep community members abreast of research developments, and articles will be submitted to local newspapers at least twice. A presentation will be given to the community and local schools. Copies of all resulting publications will go to the community and the Aurora Research Institute.
The research will take place in Hay River and Hay River Reserve from June 12 - August 31, 2007. The site was selected as this provides both a primarily Euro-Canadian setting (Town of Hay River pool) and a primarily Aboriginal setting (Hay River Reserve waterfront).