Setting our Minds to It: Community-centred Research for Health Policy Development in Northern Canada





The Tåîchô Community Service Agency (TCSA) in the Northwest Territories of Canada has partnered with academic researchers to adapt qualitative research techniques to develop local policy that is consistent with cultural values. This community-initiated research project is part of a wider process to develop a unique model of service delivery for the four Tåîchô (Dogrib) Dene communities. In one workshop, the leaders and community members identified the indicators of healthy living for Tåîchô people through the analysis of values expressed in songs and stories. This workshop coincided with an intensive effort to negotiate for self-government and land claims, achieved on August 4, 2005. In a subsequent workshop, which included administrators and policy personnel in the local government, the Tåîchô revisited the research process, confirmed the indicators, and applied them to tangible policy guidelines for social services and environmental management. The research process and emergent models developed by the Tåîchô are described in this article.

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