21st Century Moccasin Telegraph Research Project

Title: Engaging the 21st Century Moccasin Telegraph: Using Cyberspace to CAAN’s Advantage


The 21st Century Moccasin Telegraph, a CIHR-funded catalyst grant aims to bring together staff and membership of the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN) from across the country in collaboration with researchers and communications specialists from the CIHR Social Research Centre in HIV Prevention, the University of British Columbia and University of Toronto, in order to identify the particular communications needs of the Aboriginal community, to understand how technology could best meet those needs and provide a rudimentary introduction to available communications tools.

With over 800 contacts and a membership of over 400 organizations and individuals throughout urban, rural and remote landscapes from coast to coast to coast, effective communication is integral to the work of CAAN. Communication not only builds community; communication serves to strengthen community. Being e-mail savvy and establishing a web-presence in the form of a static website is simply not enough. With the advent of social networking tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Skype, people are engaging in fluid and interactive communication tools which allow them to meet and conduct long-distance business more efficiently and cost effectively, in ‘cyberspace’.  Engagement in better, more effective communication strategies within the HIV and AIDS community can serve to improve the health of the Aboriginal peoples who are affected by HIV and AIDS in Canada. 


This project will advance CAAN’s research agenda through the use of innovative information communication technologies fostering new areas of collaboration, partnership, and opportunity for community engagement. This project will further strengthen the knowledge translation and exchange work central to CAAN’s commitment to community-based research by offering innovative ways to share research findings.


Engagement in effective communication strategies within the HIV/AIDS community will serve to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal peoples living with and affected by HIV and AIDS in Canada.

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