Chisasibi Research

Wachiya! Jacky nii. I’m a PhD student in anthropology at the University of Montreal. I spent 3 months in Chisasibi in 1998 when I was working on my Master’s degree and I fell in love with your community. This time, I will be here for one year with my son to work on a new project. I hope that this will interest many of you and that we can work together on this important topic! You can read more about my reasons for coming to Chisasibi here.

(By the way, clicking on the title “Anthro Jack” at the top of the page will take you to my blog. You are welcome to read and leave comments on anything there that is of interest.)

What is my project about? I’m interested in learning about the role of alcohol in the lives and identities of the people who use it. Many people talk about alcohol in Native communities but we rarely hear the voices of people who are the most affected by it or who choose to use it. I would like to work with you to change that. If you want to know more about why I’m interested in anthropology, Native peoples and the topic of alcohol or if you want to know more about my research philosophy, please check out this page.

I’m especially interested in hearing from young people between the ages of 18 and 29 who consider themselves to be “heavy drinkers”. Do you drink to the point of drunkenness more than once per week? Do you drink in public? Do you sometimes get criticised by friends and family for your drinking habits? Then I would like to hear from you! I am not here to judge you or criticize you. I am not here to try to heal you from anything. I am not here to find out how much you drink. I AM here to listen to your views and to your stories.

I’m also interested in hearing from other people over 18 who feel they have something to say about the impact of alcohol on their community and culture. People of all ages who used to drink or who never drink are welcome. I would like to hear from Native and non-Native people who live and work in the community and who are willing to share their views.

What will happen if you participate?

Your participation would consist of what is called an “unstructured” or “informal” interview. This means that, instead of a question and answer format, we have more of a discussion. Before we get together, I will give you list of suggested themes that you can think about. Then when we meet, you can tell me what you think about whichever of these themes, or other themes that you think are relevent, while I listen. This takes place in a relaxed atmosphere where you are free to take the time you need to think about things before you speak. Also, you can pause when you need to, take breaks or even stop and start again at another time. We can meet as many times as you wish. I will provide snacks, coffee and tea at each visit. With your permission, I will record you while you tell me about your views.

A list of suggested discussion topics can be found here.

I commit to ensuring complete confidentiality. I will not divulge anything that you say to anyone. When I use information from the discussions in my thesis, I will use pseudonyms and avoid describing people too much so that no one will know that it is you who said anything in particular. If you change your mind about something that you said, I promise to not take it into account in my research. I will provide a list of people in town who can help you cope with negative emotions if ever you feel bad during or after a discussion . I will do my best to ensure that this is a positive experience for everyone who is involved and that no harm comes of this research. However, if discussing these topics becomes too painful, or if you decide to stop for any reason, you are free to do so at any time. Your participation is voluntary and will not be financially compensated.

If you choose to participate, you will be asked to sign a consent form that contains the above information. You can see a copy here. This is an indication that you are aware of the conditions of participation and of the ways that I will ensure your confidentiality.


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