New CIHR Project Grant for Pictou Landing Native Women’s Group and Heather Castleden

The HEC Lab is proud to announce that we have received funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to continue working with the Pictou Landing Native Women’s Group to develop a documentary film about our research in the A’se’k (known in English as Boat Harbour) estuary.

For the Mi’kmaq of Pictou Landing First Nation (PLFN), the estuary adjacent their community, known as A’se’k and the surrounding landscape have provided them with the foods, medicines, transportation, shelter, and tools they have needed to survive and thrive since time immemorial. But for 50 years, a nearby mill has been piping its effluent directly into the waters of A’se’k and pumping its particulate matter out the stacks into the prevailing winds, which directly target PLFN.

Concerned about their children’s health, the Pictou Landing Native Women’s Group mobilized in 2010 to undertake community-based participatory health research. They were concerned for their community’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health in relation to the industrial pollution. Bringing academics in, our team has worked together since then to implement a Two-Eyed Seeing approach to research the women’s question: “Are we getting sick from Boat Harbour?”

To date we have been researching the mill’s health impacts using a number of Indigenous and western research methods to meet this goal. Throughout, we have been documenting our journey by collecting film footage for the production of a documentary film. Now we want to share our novel health-related knowledge vis-à-vis a documentary film about our integrative research. Using the film as a catalyst, we can investigate how university-based and community-based researchers across disciplines, professions, and sectors can begin to conceptualize a Two-Eyed Seeing approach in their own research in the spirit of healing and reconciliation in Indigenous health.

We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Pictou Landing Native Women’s Group!