Apihkatatan (Weaving Our Baskets): Intersectional trauma-healing and wisdom

The project is led by Dr. Alexandra King, MD, FRCPC, Nominated Principal Investigator (NPI) and primary supervisor to graduate students involved. Patti Tait, cultural advisor and knowledge keeper with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Saskatchewan, will be involved in the project as a Principal Knowledge User.

Co-investigators of the project include Elder Sharon Jinkerson-Brass with Pewaseskwan -the Indigenous Wellness Research Group, Alana Cattapan, an adjunct professor at USask, Jamesy Patrick, a child welfare lawyer and Chad Hammond, program coordinator for Sask Stories.

Rebecca Zagozewski is the Research Manager with the Waniska Centre, the organization which will be spearheading the Apihikatatan project. Camay Coghlan-Cameron, Interim Executive Director of the FSIN Women’s Secretariat, and Delee Charette, who holds a joint appointment as Health Research and Analyst at FSIN and Research Associate for the Pewaseskwan Indigenous Health and Wellness group, will represent the FSIN as a collaborator to the research.

This research will focus on Indigenous women whose lived experience includes involvement with the criminal justice system (CJS) and will support their wholistic wellness journeys.

Waniska will design and deliver a land- and culture-based healing curriculum, which includes gender affirming and trauma-informed expressive therapy for Indigenous women residing in Saskatchewan, (primarily in the city of Saskatoon), involving partnerships with the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Women’s Secretariat and the Elizabeth Fry Society of Saskatchewan.

A life course approach will be used to investigate the gender-specific strengths and needs of Indigenous women with CJS lived experience. The research will be collaboratively designed and evaluated through a wholistic healing and wellness program grounded in cultural, traditional and expressive therapy.

Existing community assets will be relied upon to establish a research approach that privileges and advances Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing. This project parallels the CIHR-funded Stamsh Slhanay Lhawat II, which focuses on Indigenous women in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) of Vancouver, and as such, will enjoy significant benefits in knowledge sharing and exchange. Knowledge Holders and Indigenous scholars will ensure activities are appropriately contextualized, linked, laddered, and culturally safe and responsive.