Evaluation of the Kts’iihtla (“we light the fire”) project: building resiliency and connections through strengths-based creative arts programming for indigenous youth

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Date of publication:  03 Jul 2015 Author:  Sahar Fanian, Stephanie K. Young, Mason Mantla, Anita Daniels & Susan Chatwood Publisher:  International Journal of Circumpolar Health Publication type:  Report / Study / Data

The creative arts – music, film, visual arts, dance, theatre, spoken word, literature, among others – are gradually being recognised as effective health promotion tools to empower, engage and improve the health and well-being in Indigenous youth communities. Arts-based programming has also had positive impacts in promoting health, mental wellness and resiliency amongst youth. However, often times the impacts and successes of such programming are not formally reported on, as reflected by the paucity of evaluations and reports in the literature.

As a conclusion, evaluation results from K ts'iìhtła, a pilot creative arts and music workshop held in the summer of 2014 for youth in Behchok, have shown the potential for art to be used as a medium for building resiliency, forming positive relationships and stimulating discussions on community change among Tłįchǫ youth and shows potential for Indigenous youth in Northern Canada. As this was a pilot community project with a small number of participants, we encourage others to continue examining the role of creative arts as a tool for social change among youth communities and share findings. By substantiating the existing literature on arts-based health promotion programmes for youth, we hope that these results can be used to support the sustainability of arts-based programmes for Indigenous youth. Next steps will involve helping to build a knowledge exchange platform for K ts'iìhtła youth to share their artwork with others with the hope to stimulate youth-led discussions within and across communities in the circumpolar regions.

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