Traveling Together? Navigating the Practice of Collaborative Engagement in Coast Salish Communities
Keywords:participatory action research, community engagement, Indigenous communities, participatory video, transportation safety
Academics widely understand participatory action research (PAR) to be relevant to communities, collaborative from project design to dissemination of results, equitable and participatory while also action-oriented in pursuit of social justice. In this article, we suggest that there is much need to address both the challenges and opportunities that researchers encounter when applying participatory tools within an Indigenous context. In September 2013, the University of Victoria research team began a transportation safety project in partnership with the University of Windsor and participating Indigenous communities across the country. This project entailed both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, including a national survey in addition to community conversations, to promote community health and injury prevention. Responsible for outreach to coastal communities in British Columbia, the interdisciplinary research team employed PAR methodologies to address local and national transportation safety concerns ranging from booster seat use to pedestrian safety. In this paper, we ask: what can participatory approaches offer the study of community-engaged research (CER) with Indigenous communities? First, we assess the promises and perils of PAR for community-engaged research when working with Indigenous communities; second, we aim to demystify the process of PAR based on our experience working with the Tsawout First Nation to “Light up the Night” through participatory video with Indigenous youth; third, we reflect on what we learned in this process and discuss avenues for further research. Our submission entails a written article and accompanying videos that illuminate the creative approach to collaborative engagement with Indigenous communities.
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