CAAN has engaged in Community-Based HIV and AIDS research for well over a decade. During this time, our role has transitioned from junior research partner on Western based projects to leadership on multi-year, multi-site projects grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing. We have asked a lot of questions, conducted focus groups, held circles, made countless presentations and developed many reports. We have learned about the research process, so that we can share our insights and engage our membership. We are committed to being a part of the change, of the healing for our Peoples so that HIV and AIDS will no longer devastate our communities.
CAAN has developed and invested so much in research that, in addition to the programs work that we do, we now have a Research and Policy Unit within the overall structure of the organization.
We have turned to research to help us to:
- better understand the impact of HIV and AIDS for Aboriginal People living with HIV and AIDS (APHAs) and within our diverse communities;
- learn about barriers to access to care and testing;
- identify solutions;
- contribute to the evidence base that our member organizations need to access funds; and
- motivate leadership and policy makers to engage in the response to HIV and AIDS.
This is a journey that is filled with hope for strong nations and good health. We are challenged by the history and difficult relationship between research, researchers and Indigenous Peoples. As an organization we continue to learn, to challenge and pull apart how to conduct research in a way that is meaningful within our context. We honour our Aboriginal researchers within academic institutions who have committed themselves to investigating HIV and AIDS. We continue to engage with allied researchers who bring important skills and dedication to working respectfully with Aboriginal Peoples.
The Research and Policy Unit is located in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, less than 20 km from downtown Halifax. Our office is on land that is part of Millbrook First Nation in Mi’kmaq territory.