In their Own Words: First Nations Girls’ Resilience as Reflected through their Understandings of Health


Traditionally, biomedical conceptions of health primarily focus on the physical body while some First Nations conceptions of health and wellness have a broader focus, drawing on the general philosophies of balance, harmony, holism, and spirituality. In recent years there has been a shift in health models to include more holistic definitions (Bendelow, 2010). This article describes a qualitative community-based research project with twenty young/teenage First Nations girls from a Tribal Council region located in the Canadian prairies. Our overarching goal was to collaborate with the girls to co-create knowledge concerning health, healthy bodies, and body image using photovoice methodology. Emerging independent but interconnected themes of body image, loss, and addictive substances are discussed as related to resilience. The resilience of the participants was reflected in these three selected themes as well as in their definitions of health. Our findings point to the importance of acknowledging and celebrating resilience as well as viewing health holistically to better understand and address First Nations peoples’ health-related concerns.

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