Lessons from the National Indigenous Physical Activity and Wellness (NIPAW) 2019 Conference
Background: This study investigates the interactions with Indigenous elders, youth, scholars and community members and their shared experiences of Indigenous way of life through the conference and communication through social media. Purpose: This project focused on improving community engagement for the National Indigenous Physical Activity & Wellness (NIPAW) 2019 conference and on how the NIPAW 2019 platform strengthened community participation. Applications of these concepts were explored for future conferences. Methods: Informative videos, promotional posts, and an infographic were made for online promotions of NIPAW 2019 through the Indigenous Physical Activity and Cultural Circle (IPACC) Facebook page and Gmail. Conference logistics and administration were handled through the same platforms. Results: There was a 5.25% engagement rate on the IPACC Facebook page for NIPAW 2019 from the posts representing a 140% increase in engagement over previous years. Communication through the NIPAW Gmail account also allowed for improved planning with the conference speakers. Elder and youth engagement were also facilitated by the fact that the conference was held on Samson Cree reserves near a major high school. Conclusion: NIPAW 2019 effectively decolonized their conference platform through Elder and youth involvement and connection to land. These aspects of the conference improved engagement for Indigenous peoples because they create a safe space for community members to engage in reciprocal, holistic learning. NIPAW 2019 should be used a template for conference proceedings outside of the Indigenous sphere.
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