In 2004 and 2005 the research group of which I am a member was awarded grants from the Danone Institute and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to adapt a web-survey to the First Nation context and use it to assess food and physical activity behaviours in groups of grade 6 to 10 Mushkegowuk Cree youth living along the west coast of James Bay. As a local health worker of Cree heritage from Mushkegowuk Territory, I was trained to administer the web-survey and assisted in carrying out this project. The Mushkegowuk Territory includes First Nation communities along the west coast of James Bay. While administering the survey in the community of Attawapiskat, Ontario, I started to notice that there was a lack of health promotion and physical activity programming in the community and that this was likely contributing to obesity and low physical activity levels among Attawapiskat youth. In 2006, I enrolled in a post-graduate registered nursing program at Laurentian University which required the completion of a practicum. I began to ask why there was little health promotion and physical activity programming for youth in Attawapiskat. I decided that this was an area that I wanted to focus on during my practicum placement. This paper describes a process for gathering community input for health promotion programming in a remote First Nation community from the perspective of a local health-care worker. In this paper, I provide a sample of preliminary results concerning the physical activity behaviours of Attawapiskat youth. These results led me to start asking questions about physical activity programming in Attawapiskat. The process I used to begin asking questions is described. This paper further highlights some of the challenges to program planning in the remote First Nation community of Attawapiskat, the value of having a local health worker initiate and carry out the process, and the benefits that practicum courses can offer the individual in the course and the community where the practicum takes place. The paper concludes with a summary of lessons learned.
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