Seeing Beyond Good Medicines: A Collaborative Learning Project between Innu Youth and Students of Health Care Professions at Memorial University of Newfoundland
Supported though the Public Engagement Accelerator Fund, the purpose of this project was three-dimensional: 1. To facilitate school students in the Innu communities of Sheshatshiu and Natuashish to learn about the different health care professions from post-secondary students currently studying in these various fields; 2. To provide Innu students with the opportunity to share their knowledge of Indigenous medicines and healing; and, 3. To explore ways in which these knowledges can be integrated to create new approaches that might enhance well-being among Innu populations. The project evolved from a health care profession summer camp, called Healers of Tomorrow Gathering, launched at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University in August 2015. The camp was largely funded from a generous grant from the International Grenfell Association, and aimed to increase engagement between youth from the Innu communities through outreach by the university.
Pre-departure training and post-activity reflection would be an important part of the participation. Students were selected through application by members of each of the faculties/schools.
Students from the faculties of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, social work and kinesiology travelled to Labrador in November 2016 to spend a number of days at Sheshatshiu School. University students spent time in the school facilitating hands-on activities for Innu youth in the professional areas identified above. During these sessions Innu youth actively engaged in the sessions offered to them. The learning, however, was not one-dimensional. Community members set up a tent beside the school. Each day university students had the opportunity to spend time with Innu Elders learning about Innu culture and views of health and healing.