Aboriginal Adolescents, Critical Media Health Literacy, and the Creation of a Graphic Novel Health Education Tool
As Coyote tossed his eyes the next time, the ravens swooped,
swift as arrows from a strong bow.
One of them snatched one eye and the other raven caught the other eye.
"Quoh! Quoh! Quoh'," they laughed,
and flew away to the Sun-dance camp. (Quintasket, 1933)
The knowledge mobilization project involving Aboriginal students described in this article is an extension of a multi-phase, longitudinal, interdisciplinary research project aimed at understanding the processes through which adolescents develop critical media health literacy (CMHL) (Wharf Higgins & Begoray, 2012; Wharf Higgins, Begoray, Beer, Harrison, & Collins, 2012). The primary purpose of this project was to create a culturally relevant CMHL health education graphic novel. An additional purpose was to develop pedagogical approaches to be used to stimulate discussion around media-perpetuated health messages with Aboriginal adolescents: Like Coyote, they too have had their eyes snatched. In brief, we collaborated with Aboriginal students to create culturally sensitive material representative of their identities as media-affected adolescents in the 21st century. In turn, the dialogic process utilized during our project appeared to be a viable pedagogical approach when working with CMHL and Aboriginal adolescents, a supposition that will be the subject of our further research in the fall of 2013. Throughout the project, the authors, all of whom are non-Indigenous, were guided in their use of Indigenous ways of knowing by the Aboriginal education community.
Keywords: Aboriginal adolescent health; health education; critical media health literacy; graphic novels as health education tools
The authors gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Canadian Institues of Health Research (CIHR 293119) in the funding of this project.
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