Wellness Resources Connect Current Health Practices with Inuit Traditional Knowledge

Ottawa, December 9, 2010 – In partnership with Tungasuvvingat Inuit (TI) and Inuit Elder and healer Meeka Arnakaq, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) today released a four-part series of beautifully illustrated, culturally relevant wellness resources that take a holistic approach to Inuit healing, healthy living, child rearing and teamwork through illustrations and exercises that evoke traditional stories.”Providing health service and prevention programs in the north is particularly challenging,‖ said Michel Perron, CEO, CCSA. ―The Meeka series will create better integration of the traditional knowledge of Elders, family and community into current health care practices by providing resources grounded in cultural traditions.”

Research demonstrates that culture and ethnicity are critical to individual and community health because it influences an individual’s interaction with the health care system in all aspects of programs and services.

The four-part series of wellness resources was transcribed from Meeka Arnakaq’s original handwritten Inuktitut manuscripts and translated into English, coupled with vibrant illustrations that bring life to her original drawings and her vision of wellness among Canada’s Inuit.

“It was important to me to have my work translated into English as I wanted to provide opportunities for non-Inuit and Inuit health care workers and educators to learn about the cultural context of the people they are helping in Nunavut and other Inuit regions,‖ said Meeka Arnakaq. ―Understanding the history of our people is vital in supporting our needs as we move through the healing journey.”

The wellness resources equip social workers, wellness counsellors, midwives and other frontline health care workers and educators with culturally relevant tools to better serve Inuit and Nunavummiut.

The partnership between CCSA and TI, formalized three years ago, opened the door to working with Meeka Arnakaq and the Mamisarvik Healing Centre—an Inuit-specific trauma and addiction recovery program—in supporting the availability of culturally relevant resources that ultimately seek to improve wellness programming.

“We have been delighted to work side-by-side with the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse in legitimizing Inuit traditional knowledge and elevating the importance of wellness for Inuit,” said Reepa Evic-Carleton, Program Manager at the Mamisarvik Healing Centre.

The current renewal of the Memorandum of Agreement between CCSA and TI is a stepping-stone to developing partnerships with other Inuit communities, First Nations and Métis, and to provide an enriched and collaborative approach to substance abuse.

For more information on the Meeka Project or to order the wellness resources, visit:http://www.ccsa.ca/Eng/Priorities/North/MeekaProject/Pages/default.aspx


About CCSA:
With a legislated mandate to reduce alcohol- and other drug-related harms, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) provides leadership on national priorities, fosters knowledge translation within the field, and creates sustainable partnerships that maximize collective efforts. CCSA receives funding support from Health Canada.

For more information contact:
Yasmina Pepa
Communication Advisor, CCSA
Tel.: (613) 235-4048 ext. 276
Email: ypepa@ccsa.ca

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