Beyond the Colonial Divide: African Diasporic and Indigenous Youth Alliance Building for HIV Prevention
Wilson, Ciann Larose
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This dissertation examines the history of and potential for solidarity building approaches in HIV prevention between Aboriginal and African, Caribbean and Black (ACB) - Canadian communities, through the utilization of arts-based research approaches. Colonization, conquest and slavery have and continue to shape the experiences of discrimination that are embodied and expressed in the health of these communities. This is exemplified by the disproportionate rates of HIV within both Aboriginal and ACB communities. In unpacking this complicated socio-historical embodied health issue, data was collected from two focus groups and a two-day mural-making workshop. Black and Aboriginal youth leaders were encouraged to think about and artistically express the possibilities for, and challenges to, HIV prevention and health promotion through cross-community collaboration. The analysis offered here situates these discussions in the history of social, political, and colonial relations between African diasporic and Indigenous communities in the Americas. It interrogates the possibilities for health promotion activism and HIV prevention that incorporates the arts as a communicative medium for honouring the lived experience of embodied health ills a direct opposition to Western, top-down, bio-medicalized and individualized explorations of health disparities. This dissertation includes an introduction chapter, three core chapters written in manuscript format, and a concluding chapter. In the introduction, I outline my dissertation, providing context for my inquiry and situating it at the intersections of HIV, public health, critical theory and arts- and community-based research. Each of the three core chapters are written from different perspectives. Chapter 2 is intended to highlight the large breadth of scholarship that informs my work. As such, it examines the history of racial formation and anti-colonial and anti-racist aims as they contribute to Indigenous-Black relations in the Americas. Chapter 3 is a reflective paper, written as a first person account of how I reconciled my personal history, world views, and community commitments with my engagement with different qualitative arts- and community-based methods. Chapter 4 highlights the voices of the youth participants and examines the empirical findings of my arts-based approach to engaging Black and Indigenous youth in a cross-community HIV focused health promotion intervention. Lastly, I conclude with the implications of my work for theory, practice and social mobilizing between African diasporic and Indigenous communities in envisioning possible futures.