Collaboratively Identifying Community Needs/Resources in Cowichan: An Intergenerational Community Assessment
Emma Elliott-Groves

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Washington State University, Pullman

Primary Discipline

Indigenous Education
First Nations' peoples in Canada have made and continue to make rich and lasting contributions to contemporary society. By identifying strategies and resources that promote their own health and wellbeing, they continue to thrive and ensure their survival across time, despite almost 300 years of attempted physical and cultural decimation. The proposed research study strengthens the research capacity within one First Nations' community, Cowichan Tribes on Vancouver Island, British Columbia by engaging Indigenous and place-based knowledges and practices to collaboratively develop an Intergenerational Community Assessment. Using land as pedagogy, Elliott-Groves' project will engage Cowichan elders, cultural knowledge keepers, and community members of all ages in walking their traditional homelands to identify local systems of relationality that ensure individual and collective livelihoods. In doing so, they will collaboratively conduct a place-based, community power analysis that aims to illuminate their specific needs, and thus propose collective directions forward. Emerging from local knowledge, this work is intended to provide a model for assessing community needs and resources by considering all relevant factors: social, historical, cultural, and political. With land at its core, this project seeks to generate theory and knowledge, where meaning is derived through a consensual and responsible web of interdependent relationships that literally emerge from the ground up.
About Emma Elliott-Groves
Dr. Elliott-Groves is an incoming assistant professor in the Department of Learning Sciences and Human Development in the College of Education at the University of Washington. She holds both a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and a Master of Social Work in Children, Youth, and Families. Much of her research centers on understanding the meanings and explanations of suicidal behavior from the perspective of Indigenous peoples. Her work grows from ethical frameworks generated by Indigenous and place-based knowledges and practices to create process-centered approaches that illuminate Indigenous pathways toward collective livelihood. By employing a strengths-based approach to recovery, Dr. Elliott-Groves rigorously engages youth, families, and communities in the development of integrated behavioral health interventions to address complex social issues. As an enrolled member of the Cowichan Tribes who was born and raised in the community, Dr. Elliott-Groves is currently partnering with her home community to design programming to strengthen its physical, mental, intellectual, and cultural health. The interdisciplinary intersections of her research include contemporary Indigenous issues; culture, learning, and human development; and trauma, prevention, and recovery.

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