Grounding Our Meals on Wheels Program in Community Voice: Exploring Food Practices and Perceived Wholistic Health in Wahta Mohawk Territory
Introduction: Food practices and wholistic health are two concepts that have been altered by the colonization of Indigenous peoples living in Canada. Research literature exploring the relationship between current food practices and wholistic health among Indigenous older adults remains sparse. Purpose: To address the community-identified need of understanding how the community Meals on Wheels (MOW) program can nourish the perceived wholistic health of the older adults it serves on-reserve in Wahta Mohawk Territory. Methods: A community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach was adopted in harmony with an Indigenous epistemological stance of the Two Row paradigm and guidance from Wahta’s Community Health and Cultural Healing principles. Storytelling sessions were held via telephone with 10 older adults living in Wahta who subscribe to the MOW program. Data Analysis: A reflexive thematic analysis was undertaken to identify emerging themes from the data following Braun and Clarke’s (2021) steps to a reflexive thematic analysis. Results: From the storytelling sessions, four prominent themes emerged: 'Evolving Food Practices in Wahta', 'With Age Come Changes in Life', 'Sourcing Food Locally in Wahta' and 'Continuing to Gather with Food' and their related sub-themes. Discussion: A community-based conceptual model grounded in the resultant themes is presented and discussed as symbol of a community-grounded MOW program that nourishes the perceived wholistic health of the older adults in Wahta Mohawk Territory.