We are excited to announce the beginning of a 13-month project entitled, Coming Together in Indigenous Praxis, an exchange between Whakauae Māori Health Research and Development and Seven Directions, A Center for Indigenous Public Health. This exchange is funded by the University of Washington, Office of Global Affairs, Global Innovation Fund, from January 2021 - February 2022.
An International Gathering Grounds (IGG), Indigenous community of practice, with Whakauae – a New Zealand based, Ngāti Hauiti (tribally-owned) research organization for Māori health and development- will involve bringing the teams together, reciprocal learning, and work in service of tribal nations and Indigenous communities.
From April – June 2021, the Whakauae and Seven Directions teams will complete the Rivers to the Ocean series, adapted from Dr. Nina Wallerstein’s River of Life participatory activity, for relationship building and collaborative planning. We look forward to sharing the knowledge and resources we identify and/or co-create with our larger Indigenous public health community in Winter 2021.
The pandemic response and current vaccine distribution by our national governments, tribal nations and Indigenous communities demonstrates the critical need for this emerging IGG. While the response by tribal nations and Indigenous communities were informed by traditional teachings and supported through tribal sovereignty, the national response highlighted existing gaps and weakness in the health system. Strengthened tribal systems that integrate Indigenous knowledge with tribal public health authority to respond quickly and effectively to population and public health crises like the pandemic can inform other key issues facing Indigenous communities, such as environmental degradation, food insecurity, and political instability.
Whakauae and Seven Directions are tribal entities with similar mandates, scope, and size. We share values, principles and commitments to Indigenous health and development. There are few entities that engage in Indigenous knowledge/ pathways, social determinants of health, and health systems research and practice. By bringing together two international tribal entities, the IGG aims to consider the shared challenges of population health from Indigenous perspectives and realities and explore aspirations towards the common goal of Indigenous health and wellbeing during these times.
For more information about this project, please contact:
Christina E. Oré, DrPH
University of Washington