Traditionally, horses played an integral role in the lives of Indigenous peoples across North America for hundreds and hundreds of years. The current research study investigated (a) Indigenous ways of knowing and being that emerge from gathering narratives about Indigenous horses from traditional Elders and knowledge keepers, and (b) how traditional knowledge of the horse-human relationship can inform the development of an Indigenous-centered equine learning and therapy program with Indigenous horses and youth. The research results revealed that horses have the agency to help heal and promote holistic health in a number of ways from a traditional Indigenous perspective. As such, equine learning and therapy programs must be adapted to meet the unique needs of Indigenous youth by pairing them with Indigenous horses in culturally-relevant ways.
Dr. Angela McGinnis is an Assistant Professor in Educational Psychology at the University of Regina and a member of Métis Nation of Ontario. She completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Western Ontario in 2015. Angela has an ideal balance of clinical and research experiences with youth and adults from diverse and under-serviced populations. Her strong orientation to social justice issues and decolonizing agendas is evident in her work as a professor, clinician, and researcher. Her research interests include the role of cultural connectedness in promoting mental wellness among First Nations youth, their families, and their communities. Angela is particularly keen in blending quantitative and Indigenous methodologies to increase the relevance of her research for First Nations communities. She is recognized by her colleagues for her practical guidance on conducting strengths-based research and decolonized therapy with First Nations peoples.