The Aboriginal Children’s Hurt and Healing Initiative wanted to answer one simple question: What does pain look like? Not what it feels like, but what pain would look it if you had to express it on paper, or in this case, canvas.
In an interview with CBC News, John Sylliboy, community research co-ordinator with the Aboriginal Children’s Hurt and Healing Initiative, said: “Aboriginal children feel and experience pain just like anyone else. It’s just that they express their pain very differently. They don’t necessarily verbalize their pain, or they don’t express it outwardly through crying or through pain grimaces. A lot of kids, they just suck it up. That’s what they say all the time. ‘We just suck it up.'”
The research study spawned in 2008 when Margot Latimer, a clinical scientist at the Centre for Pediatric Pain Research at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, observed there was no First Nations youth being referred to their pain clinic at the IWK hospital.