Urban Wellness within a Cultural Context

Wednesday, February 17, 2016. 1:30-1:40 Poster Presentations

The urban landscape is changing in the north. With more economic opportunities drawing families and individuals to larger communities, there is potential to become disengaged from their roots. The influences behind the change in the urban landscape are caused by the climate, a different social environment and population movement. Aboriginal communities make up a large portion of the population in the north. Being in an urban environment can limit access to traditional ways of food harvesting and lifestyle.

Youth that come to cities often become disengaged from traditional knowledge, culture and activities on the land. Culture, language, and knowledge are interconnected; when one is lost, others are at risk of a similar fate. Having green houses and programs that are designed to address these issues in northern communities can help aboriginal youth learn and foster traditional ways of food harvesting and plant knowledge. Garden environments are fertile spaces for the cross-pollination of ideas, skills and personal growth. This is also an opportunity to connect with elders and knowledge keepers that can provide intergenerational knowledge. These greenhouses will be grounded in the indigenous perspective that we derive wellness and community from relationship and interaction with land and territory. We can also link this with the growing trend in North American cities to develop urban farming skills. Not only is this helpful for aboriginal people to connect with each other, it also connects them with the larger North American societal trends.