Laughter yoga as embodied healing and educational well-being with Nishnawbe youth
Chan, Jacky W. L.
Master of Education
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This portfolio is based upon a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)-funded Partnership Development Grant project entitled Tikkun Indigenous Youth Project: Pedagogies of Repair and Reconciliation. The project is focused on northern1 First Nations2 youth who have no choice but to leave their communities and families in order to “get an education” in the city of Thunder Bay’s high schools. This predicament continues because most far northern Ontario communities in the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) do not have the funding or capacity to run community high schools, which has resulted in Nishnawbe3 or First Nations youth having to leave their homes to pursue secondary education. This dislocation from family, community, Land, and culture often subjects these youth to psychological isolation, racist abuse, and physical threats that can lead to serious mental illnesses, anxiety, depression, and educational disengagement. Based on the positive healing effects of a 3-day Land-based well-being retreat, this portfolio explores how the embodied approach of Laughter Yoga (LY) could be an effective school-based well-being strategy for Nishnawbe youth. This portfolio is a collection of six chapters: (1) an introduction to the project/portfolio; (2) a literature review; (3) the key components of the well-being retreat; (4) a multi-modal Prezi presentation (showcasing the retreat) that was presented at the Indspire National Gathering, including a personal reflection on the experience; (5) a conference poster presentation of my portfolio research that highlights the impacts that LY had on the Nishnawbe youth and; (6) a reflection on LY during the retreat.