Two U of L re­searchers win Park­land In­sti­tute awards

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Alberta -

Two re­search projects, one on mid­wifery care in Al­berta, and the other on the use of gal­lows hu­mour among the Kainai, got a sig­nif­i­cant boost thanks to re­search awards from the Park­land In­sti­tute.

Dr. Tif­fany Boulton, a post-doc­toral fel­low in the De­part­ment of So­ci­ol­ogy, will ex­am­ine ac­cess to mid­wifery care in Al­berta and Am­ber­lea Parker, a grad­u­ate stu­dent, plans to de­velop an oral his­tory of gal­lows hu­mour among the Kainai peo­ple.

Boulton be­came in­ter­ested in mid­wifery care when she was work­ing with Dr. Clau­dia Malacrida on a re­search project on child­birth choices in Al­berta.

Their re­search showed that women re­ported more pos­i­tive child­birth ex­pe­ri­ences with mid­wives than physi­cians.

Her own ex­pe­ri­ence with mid­wifery care proved the point.

“With a mid­wife, you have a con­ti­nu­ity of care that you’re not guar­an­teed with a physi­cian,” says Boulton. “You get to de­velop a re­la­tion­ship with your mid­wife — you see them through­out your preg­nancy, they’re there for the birth and they’re with you for six weeks post­par­tum.”

In Al­berta, the wait lists for a mid­wife are long and most mid­wives work in and around Cal­gary and Ed­mon­ton.

They at­tend about five per cent of births in Al­berta, while in Bri­tish Columbia and On­tario, mid­wives at­tend around 20 and 15 per cent of births re­spec­tively. The Lethbridge re­gion has only two mid­wives, both work­ing out of Card­ston.

Boulton plans to in­ter­view mid­wives about the length of their wait lists, who they serve, who they see as be­ing un­der­served and chal­lenges they face in their prac­tices. She’ll also con­duct a pol­icy anal­y­sis at lo­cal, re­gional and provin­cial lev­els.

“My longer-term goal is to im­pact some of this pol­icy and look at how we can make mid­wifery care more avail­able to more women in the province,” says Boulton.

Parker (BA ’17), who’s pur­su­ing a mas­ter’s de­gree in Cul­tural, So­cial and Po­lit­i­cal Thought, plans to talk with Kainai el­ders and younger gen­er­a­tions in their 20s and 30s about gal­lows hu­mour. Gal­lows hu­mor can be de­fined as grim and ironic hu­mour used in des­per­ate or hope­less sit­u­a­tions. One such ex­am­ple from the Kainai peo­ple is Everett Soop, a syn­di­cated comic artist who used In­dige­nous ex­pe­ri­ences is his po­lit­i­cal car­toons.

“The Kainai peo­ple have been deal­ing with set­tler col­o­niza­tion and the res­i­den­tial schools,” says Parker, adding the last res­i­den­tial school wasn’t closed un­til 1996. “We’re talk­ing about trau­mas that are alive and well to­day. It’s im­por­tant to look at how hu­mour has been em­ployed by Black­foot el­ders and youths to see how it has changed among the gen­er­a­tions, how res­i­den­tial schools and col­o­niza­tion af­fected el­ders and how the younger gen­er­a­tion uses hu­mour.”

The Black­foot peo­ple used oral his­tory and tra­di­tion as teach­ing tools and as a way to pass down sto­ries long be­fore first con­tact.

Parker con­tin­ues that cus­tom with her oral his­tory project.

“The Truth and Reconciliation Com­mis­sion (TRC) came out with rec­om­men­da­tions to place the First Na­tions at the cen­tre of reconciliation, so it is my per­sonal man­date to make sure that my work and my th­e­sis re­flect that,” she says.

Parker hopes to speak with 20 to 30 Kainai mem­bers, both el­ders and univer­sity aged young peo­ple, about how they use hu­mour. When she an­a­lyzes the data, she’ll be look­ing for themes, dif­fer­ences in the way the two groups use hu­mour, and how that re­lates to the rec­om­men­da­tions from the TRC.

“This award is a re­ally nice con­fir­ma­tion of how my hard work and pas­sion has paid off and how im­por­tant it is,” she says.

The Park­land In­sti­tute is an Al­bertaw­ide, non-par­ti­san re­search cen­tre within the Fac­ulty of Arts at the Univer­sity of Al­berta.

Pho­tos cour­tesy Univer­sity of Lethbridge

Am­ber­lea Parker, a grad­u­ate stu­dent will be study­ing facets of the Kainai cul­ture such as ‘gal­lows hu­mour.’

Dr. Tif­fany Boulton is study­ing mid-wivery care in Al­berta.

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