In this article issues around research methodology specific to Aboriginal people will be discussed. A brief historical analysis lays a foundation for the need for unique research methodologies as it pertains to Aboriginal people both as researched and researcher. Contemporary critiques by Aboriginal writers and communities will be presented in relation to the limitations and effects of Euro-western research methods. Finally, the authors will discuss issues, possibilities and responsibilities around conducting research as Aboriginal researchers.
This paper reviews Participatory Action Research as a methodology. It maps the origins of Participatory Action Research (PAR) and discusses the benefits and challenges that have been identified by other researchers in utilizing PAR approaches in conducting research.
This paper focuses on highlighting some of the concerns that need to be addressed in conducting psychological research with First Peoples children and families. The extensive literature on healthy child development and family practices in Caucasian families is contrasted with the limited perspective on First Peoples families. We suggest that this is, in part, due to an unnecessary focus on problem behaviours of children from First Peoples communities. We contend that it is imperative for developmental psychologists to adopt a new perspective, by acknowledging the strengths and competencies of First Peoples families, and using more culturally-sensitive approaches to working with First Peoples.
Aboriginal social work is a relatively new field in the human services, emerging out of the Aboriginal social movement of the 1970s and evolving in response to the need for social work that is sociologically relevant to Aboriginal people. Aboriginal social work education incorporates Aboriginal history and is premised upon traditional sacred epistemology in order to train both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal social workers who can understand and meet the needs of Aboriginal people. The deficiencies of contemporary cross-cultural approaches and anti-oppressive social work education are highlighted as a means to emphasize the importance of socialwork education premised upon relevant history and worldview. The values and responsibilities that derive from Aboriginal worldview as the foundation for Aboriginal social work education are discussed in terms of the tasks that are impliedfor the educator and student of Aboriginal social work. Such tasks include self-healing, decolonization, role modeling, developing critical consciousness, and social and political advocacy. Aboriginal social work education, a decolonizing pedagogy directed to mitigating and redressing the harm of colonization at the practice level, is a contemporary cultural imperative.
Child protection practitioners view Aboriginal communities as victim, adversary, participant, partner, and protector of children. These representations of communities are derived from interview data with 19 Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal child protection social workers in British Columbia, Canada. The representations of the community are informed by the practitioner’s geographic relationship to the community and the length of community residency (including whether it’s the practitioner’s community of origin). Practitioners view communities as a victim or adversary when no relationship of trust exists with the community. Practitioners view communities having a participative or partnership role in child protection when trust has developed. When communities take full responsibility for children’s welfare, practitioners view the community as the protector of children. No clear association was found between the different representations of the community and the practitioner’s culture or organizational auspices. The practitioner’s own vision of practice is believed to signiﬁcantly inﬂuence the relationship that develops with the community.
A follow up to a two-year study of abuse and neglect of American Indian children looks at differences in perceptions of neglect of American Indian children found in the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS). Findings from an analysis of 17,000 cases of neglect of white or American Indian children were that the neglect of American Indian children, compared to Caucasian children, was more often associated with foster care placement, juvenile court petition, alcohol abuse of child or caretaker, violence in the family, and family receipt of public assistance. The neglect of Caucasian children, when compared to American children, was more often associated with family preservation services, child or adult mental or physical problem, and inadequate housing. These data, from the 1995-1999 NCANDS, appear to conﬁrm stereotypical assignations of neglect to American Indian families. This study supports the need for the direct participation of sovereign Indian nations in child protective investigation, treatment, and data collection, in order to create a more complete data system that will provide accurate numbers and characteristics of abused and neglected American Indian children.
This study explored the effects of an Aboriginal cultural enrichment initiative on the self-concept of ten pregnant or parenting adolescent women, all but one of whom were of Aboriginal descent. The cultural enrichment activities were integrated into a program of support for adolescent mothers. Questionnaires were administered to the participants at the beginning and after six weeks of participating in the cultural enrichment component of the program. The Self-Perception Proﬁle for Adolescents (Harter, 1988) was used to measure global self-worth and self-perception across eight domains. Overall cultural identity, cultural identity achievement, cultural behaviours and sense of afﬁrmation and belonging were measured using the 20 item Multigroup Ethnic Identity Questionnaire (Phinney, 1998b). Individual audio-taped interviews were also undertaken following completion of the post-tests. After six weeks of the cultural enrichment program, the participants’ cultural identity achievement scores increased signiﬁcantly, and participants who had achieved a strong cultural identity also had higher levels of global selfworth. Average self concept became more positive in the speciﬁc domains of job competence and behavioural conduct. In the interviews, participants expressed positive reactions to the cultural component of the program, and attributed positive personal changes to the cultural experiences it provided. The results support the conclusion that it is highly beneﬁcial to incorporate a cultural component into services for Aboriginal youth.
This article focuses on the author’s experience and observations respecting the appropriateness of adopting Aboriginal children into non-Aboriginal settings, and its impact on children, youth and parents receiving services from an Aboriginal child and family services agency in Toronto.