A Healing Space: The Experiences of First Nations and Inuit Youth with Equine-Assisted Learning
Department of Sociology, School of Public Health University of Saskatchewan; Faculty of Social Work, University of Regina; Keystone Equine Centre; Lambton Equine Assisted Learning Centre; Nimkee NupiGawagan Healing Centre; National Native Addictions Partnership Foundation/Thunderbird Partnership Foundation

a-horse
Funded by the Office of the Research Chair in Substance Abuse, University of Saskatchewan, funded by a grant from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health

This study explored the potential benefit of an Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) program on youths’ healing at the Nimkee NupiGawagan Healing Centre (NNHC). Fifteen interviews were conducted with two intakes of male and female program participants and 6 NNHC and EAL staff. EAL facilitator and NNHC staff reflections and participants’ journals were reviewed, and the program was systematically observed. It was concluded that youths’ healing was aided through the availability of a culturally-relevant space; from within an Aboriginal worldview this understanding of space is central to individual and communal wellbeing. This understanding provides insight into the dynamics of healing for Aboriginal youth who abuse solvents. Read more here.

 

Treating Drug Addiction with Animal Assisted Therapy
BC Centre of Excellent on Women’s Health; Calder Centre; Cartier Farms; Child and Youth Mental Health and Addictions Heartland Health Region; Child and Youth Mental Health and Addictions Saskatoon Health Region; Eagle’s NestYouth Ranch; Department of Sociology, McMaster University; Department of Sociology, School of Public Health, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan; Metis Addictions Council of Saskatchewan, Inc; Faculty of Social Work, University of Regina; St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program (Saskatchewan); Twisted Wire Ranch Cultural Horse Program; University of Ottawa

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Funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (INMHA)

 

With this establishment grant, our team: (1) reviewed knowledge documented in the literature and from Indigenous Elders regarding the three key elements of Animal Assisted Interventions (human-animal-program/environment) as a drug intervention; (2) held meetings to develop reciprocal relationships and address our guiding project questions; (3) established pre-and post-meeting communications via a virtual working space; (4) attended our intervention/demonstration sites and undertook evaluations that resulted in Fact Sheets (Calder Centre, Cartier Farms, Eagle’s Nest Youth Ranch, MACSI, Saskatoon Health Region, Twisted Wire Ranch, University of Ottawa); (5) undertook knowledge translation and dissemination activities through established mechanisms and expanded on these; and (6) confirmed a solid research partnership amongst our team members for future collaboration with a clear focus grounded in both the literature and practice-based expertise.

 

The Helping Horse: How Equine Assisted Learning Contributes to the Wellbeing of First Nations Youth in Treatment for Volatile Substance Misuse
Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse; Cartier Equine Learning Centre; Department of Sociology, School of Public Health, University of Saskatchewan; Faculty of Social Work, University of Regina; Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary; National Native Addictions Partnership Foundation/Thunderbird Partnership Foundation; White Buffalo Youth Inhalant Treatment Centre; Youth Solvent Addiction Committee

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Funded by Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research

Using the richness of an exploratory case study involving the White Buffalo Youth Inhalant Treatment Centre and the Cartier Equine Learning Center, our community-based study examined the question of how an Equine Assisted Learning program contributes to the wellbeing of First Nations female youth who misuse volatile substances. Both programs are grounded in a holistic bio-psycho-social-spiritual framework of healing. Our study shares how the EAL horses, facilitators and program content contributed to youths’ wellbeing in each area of the healing framework, with emphasis on the cultural significance of the horse and its helping role. The horse is a helper in the girls’ journeys toward improved wellbeing—the horse helps through its very nature as a highly instinctive animal, it helps the facilitators do their jobs, and it also helps put the treatment program activities into practice. In addition, the role of First Nations culture in the girls’ lives was enhanced through their encounters with the horses. The findings support the limited literature on equine assisted interventions. Read more here.