Water Safety with Aboriginal and Indigenous Communities - Diversity and Inclusion in Aquatics - May 2021

April 29, 2021
Kurt Cordice
Global Swim

For this session of Diversity and Inclusion in Aquatics, I am joined by Dr. Chanel Phillips and Dr. Audrey Giles.

Presenting our first session in the Diversity and Inclusion in Aquatics series for 2021! A bit late to the start for this year, but this conversation is a great way to kick things off!

For this conversation I am joined by Dr. Chanel Phillips and Dr. Audrey Giles.

Dr. Giles is an applied cultural anthropologist who conducts research with Aboriginal communities – primarily in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic. She is currently a professor at the University of Ottawa, Canada.

Dr. Phillips is a lecturer in Māori physical education and health, and an academic staff member of the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Otago, New Zealand.

The DIA series is all about making connections and sharing, both locally and internationally. In keeping with that purpose, this DIA episode was a great excuse for Audrey and Chanel to finally meet and talk for the first time. Audrey's published work with Aboriginal communities in Northern Canada was part of Chanel's background research towards her Ph.D. titled, A Journey to Belonging: Explorations of Māori Perspectives of Water Safety. One result from Chanel's work, the Wai Puna Model, is now a core part of the Aotearoa New Zealand Water Safety Sector Strategy - 2025.

Being a Canadian, it was a great opportunity for me to hear both a Canadian and New Zealand perspective during this discussion. The synergy between Chanel and Audrey was genuine, and it was a privilege for me to be part of the conversation.

Our discussion included (use links to jump to a specific conversation of interest):

·        Summary of the Wai Puna Model (02:30)

·        Water safety with Aboriginal communities in Canada (07:25)

·        The importance of identiy and community (20:29)

·        Defining Family for water safety messaging (27:01)

·        What is swimming? (31:17)

·        Interpreting and understanding the Wai Puna Model (46:07)

·        A deeper look at Wai Puna (50:33)

·        Climate change and water safety (55:25)

·        Indigenous frameworks for the mainstream (58:22)

I learned an incredible amount from this conversation. As I admit during this discussion, I am only at the beginning of my own journey of understanding with respect to Tangata Whenua of Aotearoa New Zealand. Regrettably, I am even farther behind with respect to the vast diversity of Aboriginal peoples and nations of Canada, the place of my birth. One thing that we did all agree on is that, regardless of how far we have come as individuals or as communities, there is still a long road ahead, and much work to do.

Shout-outs to:

Water Safety New Zealand: https://watersafety.org.nz/

Starfish Aquatics Institute: https://www.starfishaquatics.org/

E Tū Whānau: https://etuwhanau.org.nz/refugee-and-migrant-communities/

Also, find out more about the Wai Puna model here.

Visit the Global Swim Blog to view more of the Diversity in Aquatics series! All Enigmatic Global blogs are intended to be a forum for open discussion. Please visit our main blog page for our publication policy.

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