Indigenous street gangs and street lifestyles have a profound impact on Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and communities. Despite this, there has been limited research into why some Indigenous Peoples choose this path. As Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Justice and Wellbeing, Dr. Robert Henry aims to fill this gap.
He and his research team are focusing on the concept of “survivance” as a means of understanding the complex ways in which personal and structural violence can influence a person’s involvement with violent street spaces. They are studying survivance to better understand why people engage in Indigenous street gangs and lifestyles, and how this involvement affects well-being. They are also establishing mechanisms to improve the well-being of gang members by using innovative arts-based approaches. Ultimately, Henry and his team aim to shape policies, practices and programs directed at addressing the impacts of addiction, street gangs and violence in order to improve Indigenous People’s well-being.