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      People commonly think that our health is affected by genetic factors and unhealthy habits, and tend to believe that if you quit smoking, moderately drink alcohol and do exercise frequently, you can become healthy and have a longer life expectancy. However, these factors are just lifestyle choices and are only small parts of what affect people’s health. The principal factors that influence health are social and economic living conditions that people experience everyday, and these conditions are also known as the “social determinants of health” (Mikkonen & Raphael, 2010, p.7). Social determinants of health are shaped by how people are born, grow, live, work and age in their society and are mostly responsible for making health inequities become transparent within and between countries (Mikkonen & Raphael). Income, education, food, housing, employment, working conditions, early childhood development and social exclusion are some examples of social determinants that are closely connected with each other to influence people’s health outcomes. For example, people’s diet depends on how much money they can afford to spend on food and how much they can spend may be limited by their income. Also, low income or no income leads to poverty, which denies people access to decent housing, education and other basic life necessities. Education is one major factor that determines income and unemployment. More education generally helps people get a better chance of high-income employment and ensures their job stability. Social exclusion is a result of racism and discrimination, which can prevent people from having access to health services and participating in social activities (Mikkonen & Raphael).
The most essential and underlying determinant of health for Indigenous and newcomers is the devastating and ongoing impact of European colonization (Raphael, 2009). Since confederation, Indigenous people have been born under the colonial environment (e.g. the formation of the Indian Act of 1876 and the establishment of residential schools) which leads them to live in a low socioeconomic status (Mikkonen & Raphael, 2010). Specifically, European colonization impacts on Indigenous people’s health status in the manner of relocating their traditional lands, enforcing assimilation through suppressing their language and culture, holding racism towards them at individual and institutional levels and overall controlling their lives and destinies (Raphael). Similarly, European colonization affects newcomers’ health and life in various ways. Upon newcomers immigrating to Canada, they may have encountered the process of marginalization and experienced many different issues, such as, racial inequality, unstable housing, unemployment status and cultural discrimination. These issues together may contribute to newcomers living in a climate of social exclusion from the mainstream of society (Raphael).
Social determinants of health are closely related with the Medicine Wheel that works as the theoretical framework for the Rec and Read program. To be specific, the four aspects of health (i.e. physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health) that the Medicine Wheel focuses on can all be affected by the social determinants (e.g. income, education, employment, housing, etc.). By focusing on the importance of social determinants of health for Indigenous and newcomer youth, the Rec and Read program offers a social determinants approach to an after school physical activity program. Beyond the wholistic benefits of being active (i.e. having students develop a sense of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity), Rec and Read also offers participants opportunities to acquire educational credits, develop employment skills, gain knowledge about healthy child development and enhance social support networks in order to address the social determinants of health for all mentors in the program (McRae, 2016). In the next section, I explain postcolonial theory by connecting the impacts of colonization with the Rec and Read program, the mentors in the program and the mentors’ social determinants of health. Also, for the sake of better understanding the cultural and social backgrounds of Rec and Read mentors, I discuss the development and main ideas of post-colonial theory, and then expand on the intercultural and socio-historical context that the young people in Winnipeg/Rec and Read experience through the lens of postcolonial theory.
Postcolonial Theory
Postcolonial theory is a critical thought and a movement in relation to culture, politics and literacy in the beginning of the twentieth century, which explores the historical experiences and relationships between oppressed individuals or nations (e.g. many parts of the east, Africa) and dominant powers (e.g. the western world) (Childs & Williams, 1997). These relationships were all shaped by imperial conquests and were not equal relationships (Childs & Williams). Moreover, postcolonial theory focuses on the effects of western imperialism on non-western regions (such as Asia, Africa, North and South America) after the end of colonial ruling, and on what happens to people during and after colonization. Postcolonial theory considers how colonized nations are now facing the issue of identity crisis; “who are we?” is the question that always challenges people who have experienced colonization (Childs & Williams). Specifically, despite these geographic areas becoming independent in terms of their state sovereignty, the status of colonization still prevails through the ways of well-established cultural hegemony. Therefore, the basic principle behind postcolonial theory is that subjugated people will attempt to gain or subvert cultural hegemony (Childs & Williams). 
Rec and Read works as a culturally affirming program to gather youth who are from oppressed cultural backgrounds (e.g. Indigenous youth as well as young people who arrive as immigrants or refugees) together to affirm their cultural identity and values by empowering them in terms of leading the program, sharing their stories and teaching each other. For this study, both Indigenous and newcomer peoples are seen as marginalized groups because they are not from Canada’s dominant cultures (i.e. western cultures) (Said, 1978; Spivak, 1988). In order to help Indigenous and newcomer children and youth gain power, have their voices and affirm their cultural identity within society and in schools that are dominated by western cultures, Rec and Read insists to utilize Indigenous teachings and worldviews to claim spaces for them and seeks to strengthen cultural identity in the program (McRae, 2014). Therefore, the experience of university and community mentors in the Rec and Read program is significant because not only is this program formed by diverse populations but also is less dominated by western cultures and values.
It is essential to note that postcolonial theory is not only relevant to researchers studying and working with Indigenous populations but also the forces of colonization have brought global impacts and many of us have direct and indirect experiences of colonization which we bring with us from other parts of the world. On this basis, it can be argued that newcomers from the regions which had experienced colonization or not, all experienced internalized colonization (Browne et al, 2005). 
After long periods of colonization, Indigenous people were forced to learn western cultures and western languages via Indian residential schools (Childs & Williams, 1997). As a consequence, western cultures and languages dominated their own languages after generations. Also, Indigenous people now are still treated badly within society, even in the academic research process (Wilson, 2008). For example, there has been a tradition of western scholars who go into Indigenous communities to do research whenever they want and leave without any explanation, because Indigenous people were excluded from the research process (Wilson).
In addition to Indigenous and newcomers/immigrants, racialized white Canadians are also impacted by colonization because they have benefitted by the colonial project. In Canada, a legacy of colonization is the perceived superiority of western, European heritage, culture and worldviews. This means that students with white racialized identities will experience their schools and communities differently than those who are positioned less favourably within the social hierarchies. Also, people who are identified as a racialized minority may face many issues, including lack of opportunities for education and employment, limited resources on housing and unable to afford healthy nutrition, which are directly related with their social determinants of health leading them to a low social-economic living status. 
Rec and Read is situated in a postcolonial context whereby all adult mentors, whatever their social location, are impacted by internalized colonization. Adult mentors who are white Canadians are in the more privileged position and may view “the other” in ways that are different than how the Indigenous and newcomer adult mentors may see the world. Rec and Read tries to disrupt western hegemony by being an Indigenous-focused program, versus a more westernized approach to after school programming and keeps Indigenous worldviews and teachings as a foundation to offer youth from different backgrounds a culturally diverse space to be recognized and healthy (McRae, 2014). In this study, I will learn how Rec and Read influences adult mentors from diverse backgrounds (i.e., Indigenous, non-Indigenous) and how they understand their intercultural relationships within the program, as well as their roles as intercultural leaders for young people who are mostly Indigenous and/or from immigrant or newcomer backgrounds.
Postcolonial theory works as a theoretical framework in this thesis to emphasize that the experiences of program mentors are important and unique, and are located within a socio-historical context of colonization that affirmed the identities of European heritage, white peoples, while oppressing the identities of Indigenous and other immigrant and newcomer populations.
There are three notable theorists in postcolonial thought: Edward Said, who coined the term “Orientalism” (Said, 1978); Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, who was famous for defining terms such as subaltern; and Homi K. Bhabha, known for his discussion of cultural hybridity and mimicry. Focusing on the landmark works of these three prominent theorists, I attempt to scrutinize the areas where their perspectives diverge and converge on post-colonial theory.