This paper is based on a speech by Chief Wayne Christian the Co-keynote speaker for the “Gathering and Sharing Wisdom Conference” held in Victoria BC October 6th & th, 2010. He shares the history of his community, their children and how state policies, legislation and laws have affected a way of life for his people. He illustrates through narrative the importance of re-learning our cultural practices. Chief Christian begins his account by quoting a historical approach remembered by many Indigenous people in which the government policy of the day sought to “Kill the Indian in the Child.” Chief Christian noted that First Nations people have resisted this policy, but importantly, he discussed how balance can be restored today for Indian children.
This paper highlights the voices of four youth presenters at the first "Gathering and Sharing Conference" hosted onCoast Salish Territory, Songhees and Esquimalt, in Victoria, British Columbia. You will be guided through story about our role as leaders, planners, and facilitators for this conference which was convened to provide a central space for Indigenous youth and other community members to share stories about the caring and nurturing of our children, families and communities.
This paper evolved, maybe ‘was birthed’ is an even better term given the circumstances, out of an engagement process that brought Gordon Shawanda and several university students together over an academic year. Gordon was invited to attend my Aboriginal Spirituality class at the University of Toronto in September 2009. He liked being there so much that he came each week, sitting through lectures, reading the materials, and participating with unerring grace in the many discussions over the entire year. We were all touched by his presence, his quiet dignity, and his deep interest in our academic learning and sharing experience. Gordon embodies what modern education is trying to get right, the bringing together of theory and practice, and the unveiling of the kind of humanity that can bring Indigenous Knowledge alive for all young people everywhere. Gordon was inspired by their enthusiastic receiving of his words to write down his story. This paper is his first real attempt to express the pain and healing he has experienced over his adulthood. I am honoured and humbled to (gently) edit this work for publication. This is a story that comes directly from the heart and soul of one man, but is the lived experience of many of our people who attended Indian Residential Schools in Canada. It is organized into four parts.
In reflecting upon two qualitative research projects incorporating an Indigenous methodology, this article focuses on the use of the conversational method as a means for gathering knowledge through story. The article first provides a theoretical discussion which illustrates that for the conversational method to be identified as an Indigenous research method it must flow from an Indigenous paradigm. The article then moves to an exploration of the conversational method in action and offers reflections on the significance of researcher-in-relation and the inter- relationship between this method, ethics and care.
This paper validates the differing in which Indigenous people are re-conceptualizing research as a form of decolonization, regeneration of cultures and communities, and ultimately self- determination. Indigenous people are taking control of their own destinies by providing needed solutions from within, as individuals, communities and Nations. This paper provides suggestions to indigenize the research process. This paper also includes principles provided by Irabinna (Dr. Lester Rigney) of Australia, the need to historicize, politicize, strategize and actualize our beings and our futures. Ultimately, the inspiration to write this paper comes from my Tlingit ancestors.
Colonization is a common experience amongst Indigenous youth; the effects of which have contributed to an over representation of Indigenous youth in correctional facilities in British Columbia (B.C). Placing youth in custody violates Indigenous values and child rearing practices and advances internalized oppression by focusing on the individual as the problem. In order to counter these effects, Indigenous youth in custody require education and engagement in the areas of colonization and decolonization. This paper discusses how the youth justice system in B.C fails Indigenous youth and how one group of young Indigenous people have acted upon their responsibility to support their incarcerated brothers and sisters.
The homelessness of Aboriginal young women takes place in the historical context of lost homes and lost homelands. This article focuses on homeless Aboriginal women in the city of Edmonton and explores their perception of this experience. Involving nine young women who were interviewed over a two year period, researchers further investigated the historical profiles of their families and their attempts to transition out of homelessness. Part of a larger study of the homeless experience of eighteen girls and young women in Edmonton, this article breaks out data that focuses on the experience of Aboriginal participants and contextualizes their discourse in light of enforced home loss in western Canada. While their experience overlaps with the non-Aboriginal participants in our study we also find significant cultural and historically located differences.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th is the primary tool for diagnosis of mental disorders used in the field of mental health. Despite the widespread use of the DSM-IV there are limits to its applications, particularly with Canadian Aboriginal people. This paper draws parallels between the process of diagnosis and an Aboriginal naming ceremony used by the Coast-Salish people in British Columbia. Caution is suggested when applying Western based diagnoses to Aboriginal people due to the lack of cultural relevance and recommendations are made for appropriate use. Edition (DSM-IV; APA, 1994)
This article engages the reader in comparing the Métis List of Rights, originally authored by Louis Riel, with the current state of Indigenous child welfare in British Columbia and Canada. The relationship between children’s resiliency and cultural resiliency is explored. Using a critical lens, a framework defining the progression of social regulation is presented. This paper begins by setting out the framework with its accompanying nine aspects: profit, competition, self-interest, justice, rights, duties, love, compassion and devotion. The discussion acknowledges children as sacred which allows us to move beyond conservative and socialist ideals. Then there is a discussion on the aspects of the Métis List of Rights with comments respecting the symbolic and literal application of the aspects to reclaiming Indigenous child welfare. Finally the article ends with recommendations for holistic pathway for reform.
Have you ever wondered about how to be culturally-sensitive in adoption approaches with Aboriginal people? Have you wanted ideas on how to more effectively engage First Nations adoptive-parents? Did you consider how leadership for social workers could assist in adoption outcomes for Aboriginal children? This article chronicles a study of the adoption experiences of the members of a First Nations community in Northwestern British Columbia, Canada. The results indicated that despite an overwhelmingly negative history with the adoptions and child protection system, many First Nations people are not only open to adoption but perceive it as an integral part of their traditional parenting practices. There is an overarching desire to have children who have been previously adopted outside the community returned to their hereditary lands. A series of recommendations for a more culturally-sensitive adoption practice were identified including: 1) improved information, 2) on-going community-government consultation, 3) cultural preservation, 4) social work training, and 5) government policy changes. The article will encourage curiosity regarding social work leadership and how this framework can be instrumental when working with Aboriginal culture. The implications of the study for the role of social workers as leaders in the creation of a new, culturally-sensitive adoption practice are discussed.
Schools are an important community partner in providing structural supports and wrap around services for children involved with the child welfare system. In this paper, we discuss the implementation of a culturally sensitive strengths-based intervention approach within an elementary school and its value to Aboriginal children. This article discusses the theoretical foundation of the strengths intervention approach and provides a description of a strength assessment tool as well as the implementation of the intervention with specific relevance to Aboriginal students involved with the child welfare system. Two case studies are presented, which illustrate the value of the strengths approach for individual students.
This paper presents a reflective topical narrative in a style this author described in researching Irihapeti Ramsden (2003), an Ngai Tahupotiki (Maori) nursing instructor of Aotearoa (New Zealand). It is a reflection on the nature of Indigenous scholar’s inquiry, or what Irihapeti Ramsden recognized as an often melancholic journey of self-discovery. It is an attempt to understand how, where, and why colonization has reduced us to dependent remnants of the self-reliant and independent peoples our stories remember. We are collectively creating an alternative voice to colonial lies/myths and calling for the restoration of the human dignity stolen along with lands, resources and human rights. Irihapeti Ramsden (2003) used her own melancholic journey of self-discovery to re-ignite trust and reciprocity between people, and to bring the idea of Cultural Safety to colonial New Zealand, thereby establishing a splendid map for future generations of all spaces in need of decolonization. She was met with considerable resistance in her homeland as she raised awareness of the truth about abuses of power by colonial institutions and bureaucracies. By similarly nagging in often difficult processes of self-discovery Indigenous scholars everywhere are helping to unravel a global inheritance of colonial practice. Reconciliation will only be possible when citizens honour Indigenous people’s resistance, resentment and rebellion to European myths of conquest. Indigenous scholars are Being Called to Witness seven generations and to preserve the beauty and strength our ancestors wanted to protect. Our ancestors scarified a great deal, and we must wipe our tears, open our eyes, listen deeply, clear our throats, and raise our strong voices to bear witness to our ancestors’ prayers.
This literature review examines the various responses to trauma suffered by Indigenous peoples as a result of governmental policies geared towards assimilation. Both traumatic and resilient responses are demonstrated at the individual, family and community levels. Much of the research that has been done in the United States to develop theories around historical trauma and race-based traumatic stress may also be applied to Canada’s First Nations due to similar histories of oppression and colonization. Overall, the research finds that self government and a connection to culture and spirituality result in better outcomes for Indigenous peoples.
Islands of Safety is a model and process designed in conjunction with Métis Community Services in Victoria, B.C. Based on a focus of human dignity and resistance, safety knowledges of women and Indigenous peoples, Islands of Safety was created by Métis family therapist Cathy Richardson and developer of response-based therapy Allan Wade. The initial stages of project design, pilot project implementation were funded by the Law Foundation of B.C. Resembling family group conferencing on the surface but rooted in different philosophical terrain, the Islands of Safety process is based on the understanding that people resist violence and prefer respect.