Mission & Vision
That every Indigenous infant is born into a context that promotes health and wellbeing — at the individual, family and community levels.
We are a group of Indigenous health researchers, health practitioners and community grandmothers who are working together to improve the health and well-being of Indigenous infants, children, and their families in Canada and around the world through applied knowledge work. We have identified three areas of priority response:
1. Addressing health outcomes
- Address inequities in health determinants and outcomes for Indigenous children and their families in Canada;
- Address barriers to access to care;
- Help to collect and apply local First Nations, Indian, Inuit and Métis health knowledge and practices before they are lost;
- Put traditional knowledge and community-based approaches at the foundation of Indigenous health care;
- Help to inform policy and expand practices and programs that are working;
- Over time, support mainstream healthcare practices/providers to serve Indigenous people in effective and well-informed culture-based ways.
2. Advancing science
- Deliver quality science that can be accepted by scientists and knowledge users by drawing on dual cultures (Indigenous and western) of inquiry to advance both;
- The degree of health inequity facing Indigenous children and their families is such that it is necessary to give priority to solution-focused science – intervention studies, evaluation, integrated KT, building shared knowledge repositories, building maternal/child cohorts and databases;
- Advance innovative research/knowledge translation (KT) methods with community partners (ie. KT using social networks, respondent driven sampling (RDS), concept mapping and digital media);
- Influence/redefine the measurement (outputs and outcomes) of success given the context (ie. early childhood development, bonding, parenting);
- Serve as an effective bridge between Indigenous science and knowledge work and western science and knowledge work (ie. developing partnerships that support Indigenous governance and management of Indigenous knowledge and data).
3. Building research and community capacity
- Address recognized need (recent report on Aboriginal maternal and child health released by the Health Council of Canada) for enhanced research and evaluation capacities;
- Expand infrastructure (CIHR recent recommendation) funding for research addressing health needs of Indigenous people in Canada;
- Address the Indigenous community acknowledgement that they cannot do this on their own and want to partner with academic institutions;
- The discussion about how best to undertake this task has been ongoing for many years. Care is being taken to build the WLH in a way that advances knowledge and science AND operates in a manner that honours and feeds Indigenous communities in meaningful and important ways. The Counsel of Grandparents is essential to support this intent.
Care is being taken to build the Well Living House in a way that advances knowledge and science AND operates in a manner that honours and feeds Indigenous communities in meaningful and important ways. The Counsel of Grandparents is essential to support this intent.
Values to guide the operation of the WLH and its work in the community (ies) include the following commitments:
- We will work collaboratively with other Indigenous groups and organizations and encourage the sharing of resources.
- We will cultivate a welcoming, culturally secure environment.
- We will encourage cross-jurisdictional and cross-nation collaborations and partnerships that respect our diversities.
- We will uncover, innovate and apply traditional and novel Indigenous knowledge methods and technologies.
- We will further develop/articulate and follow Indigenous protocols regarding the sharing, protection, and application of Indigenous knowledge.
- We will facilitate the coming together of Indigenous knowledge keepers to review and integrate knowledge that has been gathered.
- We will develop a resource library of traditional knowledge and public health materials regarding infant, child and family health that is relevant, accessible and useful to Indigenous communities and organizations – library to include Indigenous curriculum materials.
- We will draw on technology and develop tools to support the sharing, protection, and application of Indigenous knowledge.