The Fireside Chats series serves as a monthly opportunity to share and discuss different research projects focusing on Indigenous women and HIV in Canada, and to provide capacity-building opportunities.

This is not to replace the broader gathering but to create space for teams to come together, connect, and have meaningful discussions about the research projects moving forward.

Previous Fireside Chats

In Wise Women Canoe Journeys, the CHIWOS-PAW BC re-search comes full circle. On behalf of CHIWOS-PAW BC, Valerie Nicholson will lead us on a journey to understanding the teachings gifted to us from the Wise Women who participated in CHIWOS-PAW. Wise Women from CHIWOS-PAW will share their own personal canvases of their own personal health journey, and how they are leading future Gatherings Around the Fire. By focusing on the words, art, and teachings of the Wise Women, we will spend time during this Gathering reflecting on how we can better support the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Women living with HIV.

This project began in 2014 and concluded in 2018. It is a partnership between Dr. Carrie Bourassa (Morning Star Lodge) and Margaret Kisikaw Piyesis (All Nations Hope Network). Our goal was to focus on Indigenous women and their life experiences as part of helping the women and All Nations Hope Network develop evidence-based community solutions that are culturally safe and focused on the strengths and assets of the women we worked with. To develop models of culturally appropriate care that meet the needs of HIV and HCV-positive Indigenous women. To understand the contributing causes of HIV in Saskatchewan.

In this presentation, we will discuss how colonization and resulting systemic barriers continue to impact Indigenous women living with HIV during pregnancy and mothering experiences. We continue to collect and incorporate traditional Indigenous mothering practices into the Cradleboard Toolkit for Indigenous Mothers living with HIV. We will also lead a discussion of personal connections with traditional Indigenous practices, such as the use of a cradleboard in our families and we welcome participants to share their stories as well.

Join us for a conversation on how Building More Bridges brought community, culture, research, and data together. We will share the process of our work done in Saskatchewan on the lands of the Niitsítpiis-stahkoii (Blackfoot), Očeti Šakówiŋ (Sioux), Michif Piyii (Métis) and Cree. Our team was led by people with positive living experiences, researchers, and allies from across Turtle Island and honored a diversity of cultural teachings that guided our project. Discover how to develop a research question that is informed and led by community.

Drawing on the narrative and visual data collected through the Body Mapping workshops with Women Living with HIV, and analyzed over the course of a 3.5 day participatory analysis workshop, the WATCH team uncovered a significant number of images and words related to the broad theme of ‘Resilience & Resistance’. We attributed this to the resilience of the women who participated in WATCH and to our strengths-based approach, which grounded our Body Mapping methodology and was central to the creative exercises to which we asked participants to respond. distinct interpretations of this theme in the visual and narrative data:

i) Resilience – “I’ve accepted me for who I am”; and ii) Resistance – “Accept us for who we are.”

The SHAWNA Project includes arts-based, qualitative and longitudinal quantitative research approaches with and for cisgender and transgender women and two-spirit people living with HIV in Metro Vancouver. SHAWNA is grounded in community-based principles to meaningfully engage participants in research and works closely with a Positive Women’s Advisory Board of 15 SHAWNA participants. Long-time community partners include the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, the Afro-Canadian Positive Network of BC and YouthCo HIV & Hep C Society. In this session, we will explore key ideas related to HIV stigma, disclosure, criminalization and access to care, with a particular focus to include Indigenous women’s perspectives.

With Strong Bear Women Journey, we aimed to inform the delivery of care that supports the health and well-being of Indigenous women with HIV. We drew from community-based and Indigenist (Wilson, 2008) research methods to determine a) the healthcare needs and b) experiences of Indigenous women living with HIV. More importantly, our team aimed to build a reciprocal research process which involved teaching participants about research processes and inviting them to share what they wanted to do at the retreat. In this presentation, we share about our memorable drum-making research retreat and reflect on our learnings from the women, the experience, and healthcare overall.

Join us in discussing effective communication strategies, research with Indigenous women; what needs to be shared and promoted; what we want to understand more deeply and what we want to learn more about.

This session is interactive and consultative. We want to talk about:

  • what ‘CAAN’ can offer, highlighting our women’s research projects and partnerships
  • how we can address and communicate key findings to initiate policy change
  • hear What Women Want from diverse communities of women living with HIV/AIDS, Hep C and STIs and related comorbidities; advocates; program staff; researchers; policy makers; friends and family.

Visioning Health II (VH II) is a mixed-method, culturally–grounded, strengths-based, arts-informed and community-based participatory health intervention research project designed by and for HIV-positive Indigenous women. In this session, women and knowledge keepers share their experiences of Visioning Health, including the change that can happen in women’s lives when research is attended to in a good way.

Join us for the inaugural Fireside Chat. On behalf of the CHIWOS-PAW BC Research Team, Valerie Nicholson will lead us on a journey, illustrating how a collaborative team of Indigenous women living with HIV, Elders, and researchers came together to develop a strengths-based research study to understand how Indigenous women living with HIV living on the Coast Salish Territories understand their health through traditional ways of knowing. This arts-based and interactive gathering will describe the CHIWOS PAW BC process, with a focus on how the team Indigenized research using Water Teachings, ceremony, and art.