Living Tensions of Co-Creating a Wellness Program and Narrative Inquiry Alongside Urban Aboriginal Youth

  • Lee Schaefer McGill University
  • Sean Lesard University of Alberta
  • Brian Lewis University of Regina
Keywords: aboriginal children, youth, wellness, narrative


This paper is based on a three-year study that has a dual purpose: firstly, to create a program to attend to the health and wellness of Aboriginal children and youth, and secondly, to narratively inquire into the experiences of the children and youth who participate in the wellness program. In an attempt to disrupt intervention type models that position Aboriginal youth as at-risk, or in-deficit, we pose questions around how wellness programming and research begin in different commitments when we see Aboriginal youth as knowledge holders.

Author Biographies

Lee Schaefer, McGill University

Lee Schaefer, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at McGill University in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education. He is also the Chair of the Physical and Health Education Canada Research Council. His research is focused on teacher education, specifically, physical education teacher education, youth development through wellness and physical activity, the impact of the outdoors on youth physical activity levels and narrative inquiry. He has been recognized on a national and international level for both his research and his writing and has been invited to speak at local, national, and international conferences. His passion for physical education, and providing youth purposeful, developmental, movement opportunities, continues to drive his research, teaching, and service commitments.

Sean Lesard, University of Alberta

Sean Lessard, PhD, is from Montreal Lake Cree Nation Treaty 6 territory. He is an Associate Professor of Indigenous Education & Teacher Education at the University of Alberta and co-founder of Growing Young Movers Youth Development. He is an award-winning speaker, writer, and researcher working closely with communities on a national level. Sean’s areas of interest include youth mentorship, leadership, high school completion, and transition to postsecondary/workforce strategies. He is the Pat Clifford Award Winner for Emerging Educational research as well as the 2015 Myer Horowitz Outstanding Dissertation Award Winner.

Brian Lewis, University of Regina

Brian Lewis is a doctoral candidate at the University of Regina and co-founder Growing Young Movers Youth Development. He is the Program Director with G.Y.M., consultant, workshop facilitator, and resource developer in the area of physical education and physical literacy. Currently, Brian sits on the board of directors for Physical and Health Education (PHE) Canada. His interests revolve around the connections between the holistic well-being of youth and its impact on their physical literacy journey. Brian’s doctoral research is a narrative inquiry into the experiences of urban Aboriginal youth within an after-school wellness program.

How to Cite
Schaefer, L., Lesard, S., & Lewis, B. (2017). Living Tensions of Co-Creating a Wellness Program and Narrative Inquiry Alongside Urban Aboriginal Youth. LEARNing Landscapes, 10(2), 271-285.