"It's a change your life kind of program": A healing focused camping weekend for urban Indigenous families living in Fredericton, New Brunswick

  • Jason Hickey University of New Brunswick
  • Hayley Powling University of New Brunswick
  • Patsy McKinney Under One Sky Head Start and Friendship Centre
  • Tristin Robbins University of New Brunswick
  • Nathan Carrier University of New Brunswick
  • Abigail Nash University of New Brunswick
Keywords: land-based healing, Indigenous families, early childhood education, Wabanaki, Mi’kmaq, Wəlastəkwey, Maliseet, parenting, program evaluation

Abstract

We present a community-driven research project designed to evaluate an innovative land-based healing initiative – a traditional camping weekend – for urban Indigenous families. The initiative was developed and implemented by Under One Sky Friendship Centre in Fredericton, NB, and involved a weekend-long celebration of culture and community. We gathered data from family members, staff, and stakeholders, and completed a thematic analysis and community review before synthesizing results into a narrative summary. Themes included Skitkəmikw (Land), Cəcahkw (Spirit), Skicinowihkw & Nekwtakotəmocik (Community & Family), and Sakələməlsowakən (Wellbeing). These connections are echoed throughout the article by quotes from participants that capture the essence of the experience. Our research helps to fill a knowledge gap in this area and supports the limited body of existing literature in demonstrating that community-led, land-based healing initiatives support Indigenous wellbeing in many ways that mainstream approaches cannot. Future work is needed to scale up landbased healing initiatives that provide community-led approaches to health promotion, and to examine the effects of ongoing participation on long-term health and wellness outcomes.

Published
2020-12-03
How to Cite
Hickey, J., Powling, H., McKinney, P., Robbins, T., Carrier, N., & Nash, A. (2020). "It’s a change your life kind of program": A healing focused camping weekend for urban Indigenous families living in Fredericton, New Brunswick. First Peoples Child & Family Review, 15(2), 23-44. Retrieved from https://fpcfr.journals.publicknowledgeproject.org/index.php/FPCFR/article/view/457
Section
Articles