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Building on Strengths in Naujaat: addressing communication gaps between youth and Elders - Polina Anang, Lydia Haqpi, Maria Bronson, Ellen Gordon & Nora Gottlieb

9:00 AM, Thursday 3 Oct 2019 (1 hour 30 minutes)
Sherbrooke Pavilion (SH) - Multi-purpose room (SH-4800)
Building on Strengths in Naujaat is a youth initiative that incorporates Community Based Participatory Research with a dynamic youth group active in Naujaat, Nunavut, with the ultimate goal of suicide prevention. For the past three years Naujaat youth collaborated with University of Manitoba based researchers to formulate future visions and to delineate sources of resilience for their community. A Naujaat Elder has been part of the collaborative process. In this process multiple complex dilemmas have surfaced. On the one hand, it was crucial to engage Elders in teaching Youth, and on the other hand it was important to acknowledge that Youth empowerment, increasing young peoples’ capacities to make decisions and own their future, may be at odds with the expectations of Elders. Exploration of these dilemmas and the potential risks and resolutions will be the central theme of this workshop. Youth expressed feelings of rejection by Elders while at the same time denying their own voices in the face of differences of opinion. In a respectful environment, participants will be invited to bring their own experiences with the goal of a deeper understanding of the forces underlying this dilemma. Navigating the wish to repair intergenerational communication, we will draw on the literature to provide examples of successful intergenerational dialogue. The complexity of colonization, multigenerational trauma, and scarce postsecondary educational opportunities will be utilized as points of reference to reflect on future perspectives of strengthening the understanding and sense of mutual support between youth and Elders in Inuit communities.

University of Manitoba
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist