The aim of this Catalyst Grant is to provide seed money to support research activities related to Indigenous approaches to wellness which represent the first steps towards the pursuit of more comprehensive funding opportunities (e.g., operating grants). This funding opportunity will fund researchers who, in collaboration with the Indigenous community, will develop, evaluate, and build on existing tools and methods to better incorporate Indigenous concepts of wellness in health research designs.
Indigenous Knowledge and Ways of Knowing from the perspective of wellness are complex and contextual; wellness encapsulates a balance between the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual components of a person, but also extends beyond the individual, bringing the person into harmony with others, their communities, and the spirit world. Wellness from an Indigenous perspective reflects a wholistic sensibility. This approach includes knowledge of and experience with healing practices both ceremonial and physical, in addition to the ways they interact with the environment.
As such, wellness research must encapsulate Indigenous values and Ways of Knowing. Although the need for Indigenous health research is well known, it has more often used a deficit model that focuses on disadvantages and shortcomings rather than wellness and strengths. Indigenous Peoples are increasingly asserting that research needs to prioritize Indigenous Ways of Knowing, strengths and resilience, and the aspirational goal of achieving wellness.
Indigenous Peoples and communities are calling for change in how research is done, based on achieving wellness rather than just addressing health inequities or closing a “gap”. Achieving wellness requires a wholistic, interconnected, and inclusive approach, driven by Indigenous communities, Indigenous leaders, and Indigenous wellness researchers. Impactful wellness research should incorporate perceptions of wellness from an Indigenous viewpoint. Indigenous Peoples and communities are best positioned to inform their respective wellness approaches and bring healing to their communities using Indigenous knowledge.
Researchers working with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples to advance Indigenous Ways of Knowing in wellness research methodologies and community-specific Indigenous wellness indicators represent a first step towards the pursuit of more comprehensive and meaningful funding opportunities (e.g., operating grants).