Exploring the Term “Resilience” in Arctic Health and Well-Being Using a Sharing Circle as a Community-Centered Approach: Insights from a Conference Workshop
The use of the term has been expanded to discussions of mental health and wellness and the human dimensions of resilience, particularly in psychology literature (Luthar et al. 2000; Rutter 1993). Kirmayer et al. (2009) state that;“Resilience is a property of social-ecological systems that relates to the capacity of the system to cope with disturbance and recover in such a way as to maintain its core function and identity, whilst also maintaining the ability to learn from and adapt to changing conditions, and when necessary to transform.”
However, as empirical research on resilience has grown, critiques have generally focused on three main arguments: (1) ambiguities in definitions and central terminology (Mohaupt 2009); (2) heterogeneity in risks experienced and competence achieved by individuals viewed as resilient (Luthar and Cushing 2002); and (3) concerns regarding the usefulness of resilience as a theoretical construct (MacKinnon and Derickson 2013).“Resilience is a broad and flexible concept, encompassing processes of risk and vulnerability, growth and transformation, culture and community, social structure and personality, and power and agency. Resilience brings together a wide array of interacting factors that are best understood in relation to each other.”
2. Materials and Methods
- What does resilience mean to you, your community, or in your language?
- What makes your community a great (thriving) place to live?
- Solutions and strengths moving forward—vision for the future?
3.1. Critical Reactions to “Resilience”
A visual representation of a heart-spirit-family concept of thriving Arctic communities is presented in Figure 1.“If there is no common language—and maybe that is ok—maybe that is the point[…] We [Arctic Peoples] share a common philosophy, heart, spirit—and family. Is that what we want to talk about, not resilience?”
3.2. Key Aspects of Thriving Communities
4.1. Lessons Learned
- First, it is very important to cultivate a safe and understanding sharing space, by explaining motivations for gathering for the circle, providing meaningful introductions, and by facilitating a welcoming, kind, and respectful environment.
- Second, when implementing a Sharing Circle, if a topic guide is used, it should primarily focus on open-ended questions in accordance with Indigenous data collection concepts and the story-telling nature common in Northern communities (Running Wolf and Rickard 2003; First Nations Pedagogy 2009; Cueva et al. 2006).
- Third, to allow rich, in-depth sharing that will capture the stories and experiences of the participants, storytelling should be embraced without limitations or interruptions (Wilson 2008).
- Fourth, if the methodology is used for research purposes, and the facilitator wants to ensure accuracy through taking notes during the Sharing Circle, consent must be obtained, and preferences should be discussed for whether quotes be anonymized or attributed to specific individuals or groups. Participants may want their identities protected, or may want to be publicly recognized for their contributions of knowledge, particularly when working in disadvantaged and colonized Indigenous contexts. Such practices might serve to empower participants living in contexts where Indigenous knowledge has been treated like a resource to extract.
4.2. Considerations and Limitations
Conflicts of Interest
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Healey Akearok, G.; Cueva, K.; Stoor, J.P.A.; Larsen, C.V.L.; Rink, E.; Kanayurak, N.; Emelyanova, A.; Hiratsuka, V.Y. Exploring the Term “Resilience” in Arctic Health and Well-Being Using a Sharing Circle as a Community-Centered Approach: Insights from a Conference Workshop. Soc. Sci. 2019, 8, 45. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8020045
Healey Akearok G, Cueva K, Stoor JPA, Larsen CVL, Rink E, Kanayurak N, Emelyanova A, Hiratsuka VY. Exploring the Term “Resilience” in Arctic Health and Well-Being Using a Sharing Circle as a Community-Centered Approach: Insights from a Conference Workshop. Social Sciences. 2019; 8(2):45. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8020045Chicago/Turabian Style
Healey Akearok, Gwen, Katie Cueva, Jon Petter A. Stoor, Christina V. L. Larsen, Elizabeth Rink, Nicole Kanayurak, Anastasia Emelyanova, and Vanessa Y. Hiratsuka. 2019. "Exploring the Term “Resilience” in Arctic Health and Well-Being Using a Sharing Circle as a Community-Centered Approach: Insights from a Conference Workshop" Social Sciences 8, no. 2: 45. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8020045