The Raising Spirit Project
Raising Spirit is a collaborative transmedia project between the University of Lethbridge’s Institute for Child and Youth Studies and Opokaa’sin Early Intervention Society dedicated to supporting Indigenous children and their families. This project has evolved from its beginning as a photo-elicitation project on local child-rearing values among Blackfoot families to include a digital storytelling library, as well as arts-based education and an exhibition. The project has included the training of middle-school, high-school, undergraduate, and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the protocols of scholarly research and work with culturally significant land-based knowledge. In the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action (2015), Raising Spirit is built on reconciliation work between community and university, practitioner and scholar, Elder and the young, Indigenous and settler. The culmination of the project was the transfer of the digital storytelling library back to Opokaa’sin, which coincided with the celebration of the project in the form of a public exhibition, Elders of the Future, at Lethbridge’s community art centre, Casa. The Raising Spirit project was supported by the Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network, PolicyWise for Children & Families, the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta, and the University of Lethbridge’s Office of Research and Innovation Services.
University Project Team: Dr. Jan Newberry, Dr. Kristine Alexander, Dr. Erin Spring, Amy Mack, Taylor Little Mustache, Tesla Heavy Runner, Hudson Eagle Bear, Jimmy Vielle, Deanne Provost, Jamie Lewis, Kaitlynn Weaver, Ashley Henrickson, Cecilia Reid.
Community Partner Team: Francis First Charger, Dr. Michelle Hogue, Tanya Pace Crosschild, Edna Bad Eagle, Opokaa’sin Staff and Families.
View the Digital Storytelling Library here: https://www.thinglink.com/scene/849734173013835778
Photo credit: Opokaa'sin (left), Erin Spring (mid), Tesla Heavy Runner (right)
“Raising Spirit” in the News:
Raising Spirit on the I-CYS Podcast, November 25, 2017: http://www.uleth.ca/research/centres-institutes/institute-child-and-youth-studies/i-cys-podcast/#ep04pt1
Blackfoot child rearing part of cultural exhibit at Casa, September 27, 2017: http://lethbridgeherald.com/news/lethbridge-news/2017/09/27/blackfoot-child-rearing-part-of-cultural-exhibit-at-casa/
Elders of the Future Exhibit, September 9 - October 21, 2017: http://www.uleth.ca/research/centres-institutes/institute-child-and-youth-studies/elders-future-exhibit
Raising Spirit project receives Canada 150 grant, February 22, 2017: https://www.uleth.ca/unews/article/raising-spirit-project-receives-canada-150-grant#.Wh7Rx7YZOgQ
NEOS Highlights—Raising Spirit and Decolonizing Methods, November 7, 2016: http://acyig.americananthro.org/2016/11/07/neos-highlights-raising-spirit-and-decolonizing-methods/ Link to article here: http://acyig.americananthro.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Neos_Oct2016_final.pdf
Building rapport key to success of the Raising Spirit project, August 19, 2016: https://www.uleth.ca/unews/article/building-rapport-key-success-raising-spirit-project#.Wh7RzLYZOgQ
Raising Spirit: the Opokaa’sin Digital Storytelling Project in BILDLIDA (Belonging, Identity, Language, Diversity Research Group [BILD]/Groupe de Recherche Langage, Identité, Diversité, Appartenance [LIDA]), March 29, 2016: https://bildlida.wordpress.com/2016/05/29/raising-spirit-the-opokaasin-digital-storytelling-project/
Raising Spirit: The Opokaa'sin Digital Storytelling Project Photo Exhibit, March 15 - March 22, 2017:https://www.uleth.ca/notice/events/raising-spirit-opokaasin-digital-storytelling-project#.Wh7WRbYZOgQ
Blackfoot culture and identity explored in joint project between Opokaa'sin and U of L institute, March 11, 2016:http://www.uleth.ca/unews/article/blackfoot-culture-and-identity-explored-joint-project-between-opokaasin-and-u-l-institute#.Wh7UvbYZOgT
The Raising Spirit Project: Early Days: http://www.uleth.ca/research/centres-institutes/institute-child-and-youth-studies/raising-spirit-opokaasin-digital-childrens-library