Diving Beneath the Surface: The NWT Aquatics Program and Implications for Aboriginal Health




This paper examines the most popular and longest running physical activity and safety program in Canada’s North: the NWT Aquatics Program. In particular, we focus on three ways in which the Program touches Aboriginal health: physical activity and health promotion; drowning and individual and community health; and community health-related outcomes derived from leadership development. While these three areas are undoubtedly important to the facilitation of health in Northern communities, the Program’s approach is tied tightly to Euro-Canadian, Southern-based understandings of water safety knowledge, health promotion, and leadership. As such, it is necessary to build understanding about the ways in which the Program can better reflect Northern Aboriginal peoples’ lived experiences and ways of knowing and thus address their health needs.

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