Participatory video: Exploring physical activity in northern First Nations communities

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  • Introduction: Despite limited understanding, research exploring Aboriginal communities’ perception of physical activity can have significant impact on developing culturally relevant health promotion strategies. Working with youth, this research offers a participatory approach to investigate physical activity in a northern Indigenous context as a collective responsibility that confers benefits beyond illness prevention. Methods: A participatory action research framework guided this project in two phases. Phase 1 applied the method of participatory video. First Nation youths documented their communities’ experience with and perspective of physical activity in a northern setting using video cameras. Focus group with community members and leaders in phase 2 assessed the videos, facilitating critical reflection about active living and the implementation of culturally and geographically appropriate physical activity solutions. Content from the two phases were analyzed using a constant comparison approach that abstracted themes and sub-themes. Results: Through the video project, we generated various meanings of physical activity. Youths identified physical activity as more than soccer and running, but also traditional games and household chores. They also identified various traditional physical activities practiced on the land. Focus group participants further commented on the role of technology, adult and family influence, as well as resource availability in affecting youth’s physical activity level. Research outcomes and findings were disseminated during community suppers, where concrete next steps were developed to improve youth and community engagement with physical activity. Conclusion & Implications: This research demonstrated various ways one First Nation community stays active. Traditional physical activity and life on the land are critical aspects for the Dene people in terms of health and wellbeing. Knowledge generated here will contribute to the current understanding of how physical activity is perceived by Indigenous peoples. Moreover, results may potentially help to elucidate the role of health promotion in these communities, to one that reconciles different ways of life.

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    Conference/Workshop Poster
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    Attribution 3.0 International