Drug addiction among Indigenous peoples is a serious health concern in Canada. A group of researchers and addiction treatment service providers through the University of Saskatchewan are involved in a project to evaluate the effectiveness of First Nations culture as a health intervention in alcohol and drug treatment.
The research team is working with 12 National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program (NNADAP) and Youth Solvent Addiction Program (YSAP) treatment centres across the country.
The research questions are:
1. What are the indicators of healthy client wellness as an outcome of participation in traditional Indigenous cultural interventions while in treatment for problematic substance use?
2. Drawing on this understanding, what is the validity of a culturally competent instrument developed to measure change in wellness among clients in treatment for problematic substance use?
Take a look at a brief video clip introducing the project here.
The project team is using a ‘Two-Eyed Seeing’ lens to guide the course of evidence gathering and assessment. The use of Two-Eyed Seeing originated with Mi’kmaq Elders Murdena and Albert Marshall. Two-Eyed Seeing involves a weaving back and forth to integrate and connect the best of Indigenous and Western knowledge systems with the purpose of co-learning, generating, understanding, and finding solutions to urgent problems (see an article on this topic here).
You can take a look at a powerpoint presentation called “Culture as Intervention in Addictions Treatment: Appreciating the Evidence within Indigenous Knowledge” that the team did recently at the Chiefs of Ontario Health forum here (the list of cultural interventions below is from this presentation).
Another (fun) outcome from the project is a series of 12 recipe cards. Traditional foods are an important way to connect with culture and the team wanted to showcase some of the food knowledge that has been shared with them across the country.
Visit the project website here.
For more on culture and healing from addiction, see earlier posts:
- Native American Motivational Interviewing: Weaving Native American and Western Practices (May 8, 2014)
- First Peoples Child & Family Review journal: Special Issue on FASD (December 9, 2013)
- Brightening Our Home Fires: An FASD Prevention and Women’s Health Project in Canada’s Northwest Territories (May 6, 2013)
- From Stilettos to Moccasins (November 21, 2011)
- Honouring Our Strengths: guiding principles for addressing substance use issues among First Nations people in Canada (August 5, 2011)