July – The Return, A Photo Montage

The primary purpose of the original Native TEACH project was to identify the core concepts of NATIVE Environmental Health Science, as distinct from the mainstream western understanding. Between 2008 and 2014, the Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health (CEEH) Community Outreach and Ethics Core, together with tribal partners:

  • Supported the development and piloting of a class on community-based participatory research methods at Northwest Indian College (NWIC).
  • Created a written survey exploring perspectives on the relationship between health and the environment, important issues within native communities, and the prospect of collaboration with larger universities.
  • Collected surveys from 60 NWIC students on issues related to Native Environmental Health.
  • Adapted the written survey for use in two student-facilitated talking circles at NWIC.
  • Administered the written survey to over 100 tribal college students and staff at the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) student conference in Missoula in March 2009, where 30 tribal colleges were represented.
  • Jointly with NWIC analyzed the qualitative data we had collected and identified several underlying themes and three core concepts of Native Environmental Health.
  • Used these themes and concepts to create a traditional story called “The Return”, as a way to report our findings back to the Native communities.
  • Supported two NWIC student interns who created a short photo-montage film based on the story.
  • Hosted a series of informal discussions with elders and the NWIC community, culminating in a presentation of “The Return” to a gathering of over 100 elders.
  • Presented our findings at two national and one international Native health research conferences.
  • Shared the photo-montage film of “The Return” at the AIHEC Student Conference in 2011 as way to bring the project full circle.

The Return from UW CEEH on Vimeo.


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