First Nations Women Leaders: Building a Bridge from Cultural Identity to Healthy Youth

In British Columbia, First Nations youth are five to 20 times more likely to die by suicide than their non-Aboriginal peers. These youth suicide rates, however, are not uniformly high across the almost 200 First Nations communities in BC. Research has found that suicide rates are lowest in those communities that have been especially successful in preserving and promoting their cultural heritage and in securing local control over key aspects of community life. More recently, it has been found that suicide rates are lower in communities where women actively participate in their local government. Robin Yates is exploring the relationship between First Nations women leaders, cultural identity, and lower suicide and injury rates of youth in BC First Nations communities. The results of her research will enhance the development and exchange of knowledge regarding factors that preserve and promote healthy youth in First Nations communities.