Indigenous scholar to speak on intergenerational connectedness

In 2015, McMaster University Professor Chelsea Gabel travelled to an Inuit community in southern Labrador, where she handed out cameras and a list of research questions to elders and youth. The goal was for the community to participate in photovoice, a research methodology that allows people to tell their own stories through photographs and interviews.

On Monday, Feb. 12, Brock’s Department of Political Science is hosting Gabel, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Well-Being, Community-Engagement and Innovation at its Innovation in Research speaker series.

Gabel, an assistant professor in McMaster’s Department of Health, Aging and Society, as well as in the Indigenous Studies Program, was using photovoice to explore how intergenerational relationships shape the community of St. Lewis, Labrador.

She knew that relationships between elders and youth are often negatively affected by intergenerational trauma, such as dispossession of land and the long-term effects of the residential school system.

However, Gabel’s participants were able to show that elders and youth can and do connect through the sharing of traditional knowledge and skills, which positively impact health and community wellness.

“The relationships between elders and youth promote belonging, resiliency and empowerment among Indigenous elders, and they contribute to lower levels of negative issues among youth such as substance abuse and suicide,” Gabel said.

Photovoice is the type of community-based participatory research method that Gabel, who has been studying effective policy development techniques since she was a graduate student, believes is essential in Indigenous communities.

Nicole Goodman, Assistant Professor in Brock’s Department of Political Science and organizer of this year’s Innovation in Research Speaker Series, notes that this is the second talk on photovoice in the series.

“Students and faculty at Brock might consider employing photovoice in their research if they want to adopt a more engaging approach, where participants are getting something meaningful out of the study,” Goodman points out. “That can empower social and policy change.”

Goodman also encourages everyone to come and hear from Gabel, a leading scholar in her field who is also pursuing projects on the impacts of technology in Indigenous communities, community and maternal health, and possibilities of the expansion of Indigenous research capacity in the social sciences.

“Chelsea Gabel is a community-engaged researcher and works with research participants as equals, ensuring greater benefits for communities and enhanced perspective in her research outcomes,” says Goodman.

What: Using Photovoice to Generate Indigenous Elder and Youth Understandings of the Importance of Intergenerational Communication on Health and Well-Being

Who: Presented by McMaster University Professor Chelsea Gabel, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Well-Being, Community-Engagement, and Innovation

When: Monday, Feb. 12 at 1 p.m.

Where: Plaza Building 600F

All are welcome to attend this public presentation.

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