Jennifer Mackie, Administrative Manager for the Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health (CfEIH), was invited to present at the National Gathering of Graduate Students in July. This gathering was co-sponsored by Canadian Institute of Health Research-Institute of Aboriginal People’s Health, Kloshe Tillicum, UVIC’s Centre for Aboriginal Health Research, and SFU’s Office for Aboriginal Peoples, who hosted the gathering.
The theme of this year’s gathering was “Indigenous Health Research – Learning from/on the Land.” Jen’s presentation was based on her Master’s thesis project entitled, “How Do You Measure the Loss of a Lake: Assessing Community Relevance of Health Impact Assessment Frameworks to the Tl’azt’en Nation of Northern-Interior British Columbia.” Her work was completed and successfully defended at the University of Northern BC in May 2012.
Jennifer Mackie, Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health
The purpose of her research was to critically engage a contemporary means by which impacts to Indigenous health are gauged during federal and/or provincial environmental assessments (EAs). Specifically, the interest in the utility of health impact assessments (HIAs) conducted during environmental assessments, which concern the effects of mining on First Nations communities. Through dialogue with members of the Tl’azt’en Nation, the opinions and concerns of an emerged about the impact of industrial development on health from an Indigenous world-view perspective.
From the stories and narratives gathered during this research, themes emerged that could potentially form a foundation for future health impact assessments. If rooted within the context of the Indigenous nation, the health impact assessment might accurately and justly represent Indigenous health realities in terms of the negative change(s) that industrial development may create on unceded Indigenous lands.
Jen is grateful to Kloshe Tillicum for sponsoring her while she was a graduate student undertaking this important work with the Yinka Dene peoples, and is thankful for the opportunity to present her work to other graduate students from across Canada. Musi!