Achimok: Tell Your Stories
Indigenous health and wellness practices are diverse, and each First Nation and Métis community holds unique ways of knowing and doing that may benefit future generations. Achimok is a project that collaborates with Indigenous communities to codevelop practices for recording and documenting stories, knowledge and wise practices. This may include content related to healthy eating, traditional food practices, the use of local medicines or other land-based practices. An innovative recording studio has been set up to assist with the gathering of these stories with equipment that facilitates mobility and engagement with people and communities on the land and in the spaces where these stories are most grounded. A key component of this project is working with communities to design knowledge sharing goals as we create bundles that will form community-led and owned digital repositories, following Indigenous data sovereignty principles. Digital repositories provide a foundation that may increase communities’ access to cultural practices and facilitate continuity, while holding cultural data in ways that are accessible and useful for communities.
A critical component of this program is working with communities to identify the types of storied knowledge that relates to health and wellness that they would like to document for the benefit of Indigenous people today and so that future generations may continue to draw up on the wisdom of the past. It is equal parts focused on preservation and accessibility and we envision that this program may provide communities with a kind of time capsule for generations to come.
These robust databases of stories, knowledge and wise practices may be of benefit to various stakeholders in communities where they may be used to inform health and wellness strategies and goals, become essential components of educational curriculum, or any other kinds of knowledge sharing within a community. Achimok has developed a partnership with the University of Saskatchewan library’s digital research centre, which is providing the appropriate infrastructure for the repositories to be developed.
The aims of this project are as follows:
- To work with communities to identify and record Indigenous stories, knowledge and wise practices using high-quality digital recordings equipment (audio and visual).
- To create a sustainable and useful digital repository of the recorded Indigenous knowledge and wise practices.
- To work in partnership with communities to determine how Indigenous knowledge and wise practices promote health and wellness by developing culturally appropriate and land-based frameworks for healing, cultural continuity, and reclamation of traditional practices.
- To plan with communities how to share the knowledge in accessible and creative formats for the benefit of Indigenous individuals and communities.
- To conduct a cross-community comparison with the intention of connecting and networking communities for the purpose of sharing knowledge and wise practices so that health and wellness strategies being developed are more sustainable.
To date, the Achimok team has been involved in collaborations with Onion Lake Cree Nation and provided recording services for the Indigenous DOHaD Gathering in Vancouver in August 2022.
Contact: Luke Heidebrecht – email@example.com
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Most of our team lives and works on Treaty 6 territory and the Homeland of the Métis. The original peoples of these lands are the Cree, Saulteaux, Dene, Dakota, Lakota, Nakota, and Métis. Others are based in Vancouver, on the unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. We encourage everyone, wherever they are, to learn about the Indigenous people of the lands on which they live and work. We seek to become engaged allies together. In the spirit of truth and reconciliation, we respect the self-determination of First Nations, Métis and Inuit – in their cultures, languages and their pursuit of wellness.
© 2023 Pewaseskwan (the Indigenous Wellness Research Group) | Office of the Cameco Chair in Indigenous Health and Wellness, University of Saskatchewan.