Year: 2020 Source: Winnipeg, MB: University of Manitoba. (2020). 145 p. SIEC No: 20200305

This Master of Social Work thesis focuses on the personal accounts and teachings of Indigenous Knowledge Holders from Canadian communities in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and north-western Ontario. The purpose of this research study was to develop a deeper understanding of contributing factors to high rate of suicide among Indigenous youth, and to explore potential remedies found in the wisdom and experience of individuals versed in Indigenous cultural knowledge
Purposive and snowball sampling was used to recruit twelve participants from eight Canadian Indigenous communities. This qualitative research study applied an Indigenous research methodology based on storytelling, in which data was collected through conversational-style interviews. Through the stories of these individuals, it was commonly identified that introduction, connection and reconnection to Indigenous culture offers a sense of identity, belonging, self-esteem and confidence among the Indigenous youth. These traits have been shown to foster a desire to live, potentially providing protection and remedy to suicide related deaths.
The inclusion of cultural education in Social Work programs, in a both in a general sense and in those specifically related to suicide prevention, may help reduce suicide rates. The mechanism of prevention appears to be related to an individual’s connection to traditional cultural activities, such as language and spirituality. In these programs, the utilization of Indigenous Knowledge Holders is recommended, as they are believed to be the best link to this historically-obscured cultural knowledge.