Project Jewel: Using Inuvialuit ways of Knowing to Understand How On-the-Land Programming Can Foster Wellness
Principal Investigator: Giles, Audrey R. (17)
Licence Number: 16282
Organization: University of Ottawa
Licenced Year(s): 2018 2017
Issued: Mar 29, 2018
Project Team: Francine Darroch (Co-Investigator), Tricia McGuire-Adams and Mary Ollier (Co-Investigators), Meghan Etter and Evelyn Storr (Co-Investigators)

Objective(s): To better understand how Project Jewel’s on-the-land programming offers culturally safe and trauma and violence informed programs that meet the self-identified needs of residents of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.

Project Description: The objective of this project is to better understand how Project Jewel’s on-the-land programming offers culturally safe and trauma and violence informed programs that meet the self-identified needs of residents of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.

The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) as the community partner in this research project will be the owner of the data and control the research process to ensure it reflects and benefits their communities and will help to promote mutual accountability and interaction between all members of the research team. The research team, which includes an Elder and community members, will also serve as the advisory group. Prior to commencing the research, all members of the research team will participate in a two day training event in Inuvik. During the meeting (May), the academics will familiarize the non-academics with the research methods that will be used. The non-academics will teach the academics more about their work, Inuvialuit cultural practices, and the nuances of Project Jewel. This two-way training will be an on-going, iterative process that will continue throughout the year of research, and which will include publications co-authored by non-academic members of the research team.

We have identified the following research methods as being culturally appropriate for collecting the data the research team will need to address the research objectives: semi-structured interviews, participant employed photography (also called photo voice), sharing circles, and digital storytelling. The research team will collect data with three groups of individuals: 10 current participants at three of Project Jewel’s five to seven day long camp sessions (May, July, Sept. 2018), 10 past participants (June), 10 stakeholders (May – Sept). (N=50). Data Collection with Participants: Each Project Jewel session has ten participants from the region. The research team would like to expose these participants to a range of data collection methods so that they can help the research team to identify the ones that they believe will be best suited for use in an evaluation framework. One to two members of the research team, in addition to the research team members whose work involves facilitating the camp session, will attend three different camp sessions in at least two different locations (the camps are held outside a variety of communities in the region).

Interviews: After providing consent for involvement in the research, each participant will begin the session with a short audio or videotaped semi-structured interview concerning why he/she decided to attend the session, his/her expectations and desired outcomes of the session, and sources of concern. If participants prefer, they will be given the alternative of journaling in a provided journal that they can choose to share with the research team.

Digital Storytelling: Throughout the week, participants will be invited to use a provided video camera to create short videos of activities or experiences at the camp that they feel are important to them. The video will be played back at the end of the week and the participants will be asked to select the segments that they feel best represent the week. The research team will then work with WAMP (Western Arctic Moving Pictures) to edit a short film. Each participant will be provided with a copy of the film. The film will also serve as a knowledge translation tool to share information about Project Jewel with funders, potential future participants, local schools, stakeholders, and for use in conference presentations.

Photovoice: The participants will be invited to use provided digital cameras to take photos of their time at the on-the-land camp session. They will then select two to five photos that they believe convey especially important information about how the session has or will enable them to address and overcome trauma and individual struggles, change problem behaviours/patterns, and build resilience. Towards the end of the week, a member of the research team will then video interview each participant about his/her photos. If the participants prefer, they can instead (or in addition) journal about their photos and share their journals with the research team. These photos will then be compiled into a photo book that will include segments of the participants' descriptions of the photos. Again, each participant will be provided with a copy of the photo book and it will also serve as a knowledge translation tool to share information about Project Jewel with funders, potential future participants, local schools, stakeholders, and for use in conference presentations.

Sharing Circles: At the end of the week, the team will hold a sharing circle where participants will be asked to discuss the week’s successes, challenges, and their participation in a variety of research methods. The feedback from the first two sessions will be used to draft an evaluation protocol and framework, which will be implemented in the third session.

Data Collection with Past Participants: Ten past Project Jewel participants from a variety of sessions from the past four years, along with one to two members of the research team and the Project Jewel staff, will be invited to attend a weekend-long on-the-land aftercare session that will include a research component. While the weekend will focus on the further refinement of skills and knowledge related to the further promotion of participants’ wellbeing, the research team will invite participants to participate in sharing circles to discuss the long-term impacts on their wellness of their participation in Project Jewel. Participants will also be invited to participate in one-on-one videotaped interviews, the footage of which will be included in the edited film described above. The feedback past participants provide will be used to draft an evaluation protocol and framework, which will be implemented in the third camp session.

Data Collection with Program Staff and Stakeholders: The final ten participants will be members of Project Jewel’s program staff as well as stakeholders in on-the-land wellness programs in the NWT (e.g., employees of Government of NWT Department of Health and Social Services, local social workers). They will be invited to participate in video and/or audio recorded semi-structured interviews with a member of the research team. While these interviews will focus on their understandings of the benefits and limits of on-the-land wellness programs, their knowledge and experience will be particularly crucial in the creation and refinement of an evaluation framework. Where suitable, footage from their interviews will be included in the edited film described above. Once again, the feedback from these participants will be used to draft an evaluation protocol and framework, which we will implement in the third camp session.

Knowledge translation activities will take several forms. The research team will create photobooks and a short film from the visual and audio data that is collected. They will serve as a knowledge translation tool to share information in the form of stories about Project Jewel with research participants, funders, potential future participants, local schools, stakeholders and for use in conference presentations. The research team will also develop an evaluation protocol and framework for Project Jewel, which the team believe will be of use to other on-the-land wellness programs. The results will be shared at conferences (e.g., NWT Parks and Recreation Association Conference, Canadian Public Health Association) and in publications (e.g., News/North, Journal of Aboriginal Health) that are aimed at both practitioners and researchers. The team will also work with the Government of the NWT’s Department of Health and Social Services to identify ways in which the findings can inform their funding policies and practices.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from March 29, 2018 to December 31, 2018.