49 Langarans

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Kelley Lee

Langara Alum | Global Health Researcher

Dr. Kelley Lee has studied the need to strengthen collective action on global health challenges related to tobacco control for over two decades, largely focusing her work outside of Canada. When the Langara College alum and internationally renowned global health researcher relocated back to Vancouver, she soon noticed that many of the tobacco control issues she’d observed abroad were happening right here at home.

“My research focuses on the tobacco industry and how it has grown its markets worldwide through a range of business and political strategies. We then noticed the high rates of commercial tobacco use in Indigenous communities, and the ineffectiveness of mainstream tobacco control approaches, and wondered if we could approach the issue from a different perspective,” Lee said. “We don’t have detailed data, but smoking rates in some First Nations communities can be triple the rate of use of non-Indigenous people in Canadian mainstream society.”

With this in mind, she worked with partners at the First Nations Health Authority to initiate the three-year Promoting Indigenous Led Action on Respecting Tobacco Project in 2017, aimed at improving health and wellness in B.C. First Nations communities.

Working in partnership with five B.C. communities, her team has been consulting with community members through engagement events, interviews, and focus groups, among other activities.

With consent, they are hoping to conduct a survey in each community to collect baseline data on tobacco use, and community opinions on commercial tobacco use and potential initiatives that would build on community strengths.

“We want to provide useful information to these communities based on local perspectives and what community members would like to do regarding tobacco use,” Lee said.

Tobacco use in Indigenous communities involves complex cultural and historical considerations, she added. Many communities use the plant for spiritual, medicinal and ceremonial purposes.

“If you come in and say ‘all tobacco is bad,’ that doesn’t resonate with cultural teachings. It is a very colonial approach,” she said. “We need to understand that in order to support health and wellness while respecting Indigenous cultures.”

Such an initiative, for example, might involve supporting traditional ways to use tobacco, such as burning during ceremonies, and offering tobacco leaves as gifts in pouches or tobacco ties. “We’ve learned that there can be healthy Indigenous relationships with tobacco, which do not involve inhaling smoke into your lungs,” she said. “When you’re inhaling commercial tobacco products, with added toxic chemicals and flavourings, that’s when cancers and other illnesses arise.

“Alternatively, traditional tobacco could be a part of the healing of Indigenous communities from the impacts of colonization through the recovery of traditional cultures.”

The project team, the majority of whom are Indigenous, plan to finish conducting their qualitative research by December, and then conduct the survey with the permission of the five communities in 2020.

They have until 2021 to finish the project, eventually leaving the communities with resources and a strategy document that will help them move forward.

“That’s the most important part, to leave the communities with something that is useful. Not just academics writing papers,” Lee said. “We want to conduct our research differently, and show that this will produce findings that are far more practical and useful.”

Courtesy of Black Press Media.

49 Facts — NO. 13

The College has its own apiary that is home to thousands of honey bees.

Meet more 49 Langarans.

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    Heather Prost

    Langara Alum | Accessible Arts Advocate

    Heather is a Community Inclusion Supervisor at the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion, the Arts Programmer for Steel & Oak Brewing, and an Auxiliary Workshop Facilitator at Artists Helping Artists. An advocate for accessible art and mental health, she worked to create The Spoon Project, which uses art as a starting point for discussion on mental health. She is the co-founder of ARTThrive, an arts workshop program started at SFU, which is designed to create safer spaces for survivors of sexual abuse and queer youth through meditative practice. She is also one of the conceptual leads behind Steel & Oak’s Women’s Brew, a beer conceptualized and brewed annually by female-identifying members of the company. The proceeds from beer sales go towards select charities. Heather is presently studying with Langara Continuing Studies to become an Expressive Arts Therapist and recently became a certified End of Life Care doula.

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  • Haisla Collins

    Haisla Collins

    Langara Alum | Indigenous Arts Advocate

    Haisla is an artist, musician, teacher, and community leader. She is an Indigenous expressionist artist working out of Raven’s Eye Studio. She also serves as the Community Leader for Indigenous Women Artists, a collective that brings together female Indigenous artists for collaborative works, art shows, workshops, and community projects. This year, the collective won the Creative City Strategy Grant from the City of Vancouver to do a residency at the Roundhouse Community Centre and had shows at Gallery Gachet and Britannia Library Art Gallery. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, spent six years training with performance coach and renowned jazz singer Ron Small, and for the last 13 years has been the lead singer and harmonica player for the blues and roots band “Haisla with Nasty, Brutish and Short”. A champion of the community and the arts, Haisla has been a Project Manager at The Downtown Eastside Centre for the Arts, Coordinator of the Aboriginal Artisan Program at Carnegie Community Centre, and Director of Raven’s Eye Mentorship Program. She is best known for her work on mural Spirits of the Realms and Through the Eye of the Raven and this year she won the City of Vancouver Indigenous mural contest to produce Sisters, Daughters, Clan Mothers - Honouring Indigenous Women which will be displayed at the central Vancouver Public Library in fall 2019.

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  • Linda Arnold

    Linda Arnold

    Retired Employee | Degree Program Champion

    Linda was the Associate Vice-President, Academic at Langara. Starting as an instructor in the Department of Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics, Linda primarily taught outdoor recreation, park planning and management, leadership, and other curriculum. She later became the Department Chair, Division Chair, and the Dean of Instruction. During her time at the College, she played a critical role in establishing the College’s first baccalaureate degree program, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing; in the creation of the inter-institutional Bachelor of Performing Arts program; and supported the development of the Bachelor of Recreation Management program. She was also involved in the establishment of a number of non-degree certificate and diploma programs. Linda was a long-time contributing member of the Langara Council and Langara Education Council. She was part of the Langara Faculty Board of Directors and the Association’s bargaining team that established Langara as an independent public post-secondary institution.

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