Press Release

Kitcisakik: A Community’s Commitment to the Wellbeing of Children

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Kitcisakik: A Community’s Commitment to the Wellbeing of Children

Val-d’Or, February 13, 2012 – A group of researchers at the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) published a follow-up paper to an earlier important research-action effort carried out jointly with the Aboriginal community of Kitcisakik. The research focused on the issue of young children returning home after school. The study results have contributed in tangibly improving the wellbeing of these children.

After the progressive establishment of Mikizicec (Little Eagle) Primary School from 2005 to 2011, the children of Kitcisakik have received their elementary education in their community. However, blatant needs in terms of parental support have been voiced. This observation emerged from phase 1 of a research effort conducted by a team consisting of Marie-Pierre Bousquet PhD, Suzanne Dugré PhD, Stéphane Grenier PhD, Marguerite Loiselle PhD, and Micheline Potvin PhD The subsequent phases (II, III, IV), which were conducted by Anne-Laure Bourdaleix-Manin PhD, Marguerite Loiselle PhD, and Micheline Potvin PhD, were devoted to implement various actions to allow the members of the community to rediscover and reactivate their parental skills and learn how to be full-time parents of primary school children. According to Michel Pénosway, Coordinator Kitcisakik Community Services: "The joint effort of these researchers has proven very profitable to our community. It has allowed us to learn about the needs of parents and to reinforce their competencies."

This research work, entitled "Le retour des jeunes enfants dans la communauté algonquine de Kitcisakik : une recherche-action visant l’engagement de la communauté envers la santé et le bien-être des enfants", involved the direct participation of the members of the community to address their needs with the support of resources available within the community. The intervention programs focused on three aspects of life: affective, daily and cultural/school. The research effort was initiated and conducted in partnership with the community of Kitcisakik through the Research Follow-up Committee.

Cirque du Monde in Kitcisakik
The integration of researchers in the Algonguin community of Kitcisakik was instrumental in enabling the implementation of concrete interventions. The researchers have collaborated in setting up social and physical activities with Cirque du Monde, a subsidiary of Cirque du Soleil. The activities have contributed in enhancing parent-child bonding. According to Marguerite Loiselle: "[…] this initiative directly meets a need expressed by the youth of the community, that is, access to fun yet structured activities to counter boredom and improve self-esteem."

Thoughts on future developments
Other interventions arise from research conducted in Kitcisakik; these include the implementation of Algonquin language and culture classes, the development of initiatives promoting homework support and parent-child bonding, and the creation of a parent mobilization group (PMG). Also, recommendations were addressed to the Canadian and Quebec governmental authorities to prioritize the construction of the village of Wanaki so as to provide the Algonquin community of Kitcisakik with an appropriate living environment with sufficient adequate facilities and commodities. This very informative and insightful research work has sketched many avenues for future research.

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Marie-France Beaudry, Information Officer
Communication and Recruitment
Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue
819 762-0971 ext. 2663

Last update : 2 août 2011