Spider weaving: STI/HIV prevention using popular theatre and action research in an indigenous community

  • Author / Creator
    Auger, Josephine
  • A pocket of HIV infection has grown to epidemic proportions in a mostly Aboriginal1 community in Northern Alberta. At the start of the research my assumptions were that Aboriginal2 sexuality is affected by political, historical, cultural, psychological, and social factors that underpin the social determinants of health. STI/HIV is a symptom of the marginalized status of Aboriginal peoples who experienced historical trauma due to colonization. As an insider researcher, using an exploratory design I addressed the following questions: 1) is popular theatre a culturally appropriate medium for introducing information to increase knowledge of STI/HIV in an Aboriginal audience? 2) Is popular theatre an effective way to encourage audience members to express their attitudes, knowledge, and behaviours related to sexual health? 3) How are popular theatre and action research methodologically and conceptually appropriate for preventing STI/HIV? 4) How do the influence of elders and a popular theatre practitioner affect the intervention? 5) Can the use of action research and popular theatre influence the attitudes, knowledge, and behaviours to promote healthy sexual choices? 6) Is narrative analysis a good way for Aboriginal people to tell their stories or have their stories told? Completing this exploratory research was financially possible through the Aboriginal Health Strategy. The funds enabled me to recruit a popular theatre practitioner, a group of young Indigenous community members and supportive elders to answer my research questions. The data was obtained through one-to-one interviews, journals, talking circles, and field notes of the community-based theatre and action research process. Due to a lack of time in the field, narrative analysis was not used. Instead I introduced Grandmother Spider and developed a dream catcher that I refer to as the Indigenous Iterative Webbed Circle to analyze the real and fictional stories that led to the community performance of ―My People‘s Blood.‖ The methods are appropriate and effective if the principles of Community Based Participatory Research and action research are followed by all group members involved in this popular theatre project.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2010
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Dr. George Richardson, Secondary Education
    • Dr. Stan Houston, Department of Infectious Diseases
    • Dr. Sarah Flicker, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University
    • Dr. Walter Kipp, Public Health Sciences
    • B. Cameron, Nursing