Raven Sinclair and Jana Grekul
The literature on gang activity in Canada indicates a proliferation of Aboriginal youth gangs, and the research tells us that child welfare involvement is a significant risk factor for gang participation. This article examines the child welfare and youth gang literature, and analyzes the complex interaction of structural factors facing Aboriginal youth in Canada in order to contextualize youth gang involvement within the larger system of social distress facing Aboriginal people. This paper scrutinizes the veracity of youth gang statistics and interrogates the Aboriginal youth gang discourse to discover that, although a problem clearly exists, the scope and substance of the situation in Canada needs to be more thoroughly researched in order to be accurately portrayed.
“But how could anyone rationalize policies that discriminate?: Understanding Canada’s Failure to Implement Jordan’s Principle
This article seeks to understand Canada’s failure to implement Jordan’s Principle, a child-first policy ensuring First Nations have access to the same level and quality of services available to other children. Policy-making in Canada rests firmly within a neoliberal political framework that extends market-based thinking to all aspects of social life. Neoliberal thought interlocks with stories of Other to inform notions of deservingness as well as one’s potential as a valuable citizen with something to contribute. Social policy decisions, including the decision to implement a particular policy or not, offer a means through which to disseminate neoliberal values and norms. As self-determining peoples with distinct rights, lands, and governance structures, First Nations transgress the image of the “good” neoliberal citizen in a variety of ways. Neoliberalism holds that punitive measures are sometimes needed to encourage citizens to adopt particular norms, and this allows policy makers to rationalize and justify policies that discriminate against First Nations children. Stereotypes about Indigenous peoples are also used to manipulate public sentiment in favour of government policy. Canada’s failure to implement Jordan’s Principle can be understood as part of a broader strategy to encourage First Nations to rescind their distinct rights and assimilate as good neoliberal citizens.
It is often assumed that children lack the developed capacity to understand complicated political issues (for example, Arendt, 1959; Pearce, 2011; and Warmington, 2012a, 2012b). This assumption is contested through a review of the literature examining adult conceptions the child, and children’s rights to political participation, citizenship, and direct representation (Steffler, 2009; Wall & Dar, 2011; Wyness, Harrison, & Buchanan, 2004). A variety of historical and contemporary examples of children engaging in social justice campaigns and movements are provided (Elshtain, 1996; Milstein, 2010; Smith, 2012; Traubman, 2005; Bergmar, 2010). A potential means for supporting children in social justice engagement is explored through social justice education (Dover, 2009; Kelly & Brooks, 2009).
Inuit Youth Transitioning out of Residential Care: Obstacles to Re-integration and Challenges to Wellness
Sarah L. Fraser, Mélanie Vachon, Maria J. Arauz, Cécile Rousseau and Laurence J. Kirmayer
For youth under child welfare, transitioning out of residential care and reintegrating into their community can be a difficult process. This may be especially true for Inuit youth who, because they are away from their communities, cannot develop networks and relationships that would provide a secure place for their development as an adult and as a community member. The objectives of this study were to document how transition out of care is addressed in a residence specialized for Inuit youth under government care, and to explore, from the perspective of residential managers and staff, what factors facilitate or create obstacles to successful transition. Interviews were conducted to discuss the transition of 11 youth from residential placement back into communities. The criteria used by managers and staff to describe transitions mostly focused on the behaviours of the youth and the ability to create and implement a plan. Are current theme was the importance of continuity and connections with family, staff, and culture. Various measures were put into place around the current system of care in order to facilitate continuity and connections to respond to the cultural and personal needs of youth. To enhance the “cultural competence” of care, we suggest that: (i) criteria for successful and unsuccessful transitions be determined with youth, families, and communities; (ii) that Inuit representation in care be increased; and (iii) that measures be taken outside the current system of care to encourage shifts in power distribution.
Jumping through hoops: An overview of the experiences and perspectives of Aboriginal mothers involved with child welfare in Manitoba
Marlyn Bennett, Leslie Spillett and Catherine Dunn
This article provides an overview of the experiences of Aboriginal mothers involved with child welfare in Manitoba. Jumping through hoops was a prominent perspective evident in stories and reflections that Aboriginal mothers shared about their experiences with child welfare and legal systems. The research drew upon interviews and talking circles conducted with Aboriginal women, and included interviews conducted with community advocates and lawyers in the spring and summer of 2007.
Heather Schmidt, Gayle Broad, Christine Sy and Rosalind Johnston
The history of the relationship between child welfare agencies in Canada and First Nations has been fraught with pain, and the removal of children from their families and communities is often described as an attempted cultural genocide. The realities of colonization, residential schools, and the “60s scoop” have created a legacy of pain and distrust which can be difficult for today’s Native child welfare services to address. Nog-da-win-da-min Family and Community Services (NFCS) is an Anishinaabe agency that decided to consult with its seven member communities in order to obtain their input about future service development, but, with this legacy, were unsure how to engage the communities in meaningful dialogue. As such, they partnered with a team of researchers at NORDIK Institute to design and carry out a communitybased consultation. This article explores the collaborative process of creating and tailoring a consultation method to be an empowering and positive experience for participants, to be conducted within safe and accessible spaces throughout the communities. This required a thoughtful process development, which respected participants’ knowledge and experiences (local knowledge), accommodated intergenerational trauma with sensitivity, and that employed Indigenous language and concepts (such as the Medicine Wheel) to guide the process. This article outlines some key learnings for others undertaking similar dialogues and consultations.
Influence de l’estime de soi, des qualités relationnelles parents-enfants, du soutien social et de l’agression sexuelle sur la résilience auprès d’adolescents autochtones et caucasiens
François Muckle, Jacinthe Dion, Isabelle Daigneault, Amélie Ross and Pierre McDuff
Cet article a pour objectif d’explorer la résilience psychologique auprès d’adolescents caucasiens et autochtones. Bien que plusieurs études aient été réalisées sur cette thématique auprès des caucasiens, peu ont été conduites auprès des peuples des Premières Nations, bien qu’ils aient vécu plusieurs événements traumatiques depuis la colonisation. Pour ce faire, 227 participants autochtones et caucasiens âgés de 14 à 17 ans ont répondu à des questionnaires autorapportés. La résilience a été conceptualisée en termes d’absence de détresse psychologique et fut évaluée par le score total obtenu au Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSC-C; Briere, 1989). Le niveau d’estime de soi des adolescents fut mesuré, de même que des facteurs interpersonnels tels le soutien parental, social et communautaire; afin d’être cohérent avec une perspective autochtone qui repose sur une vision interrelationnelle entre l’individu et sa communauté. Dans l’ensemble, les résultats de cette étude révèlent que les adolescents autochtones n’ont pas été davantage victimes d’agression sexuelle que leurs homologues caucasiens, mais ils ont vécu davantage d’événements de vie délétères. Les résultats de l’analyse de régression suggèrent que l’estime de soi et la capacité de l’adolescent à rechercher de l’aide dans sa communauté sont associées à moins de détresse psychologique, soit plus de résilience. Toutefois, avoir subi une agression sexuelle, avoir été exposé à plusieurs évènements de vie stressants, être de sexe masculin et être un adolescent non-autochtone est relié à plus de détresse psychologique. En somme, les présents résultats suggèrent l’importance d’utiliser une approche écologique qui implique à la fois les facteurs personnels et communautaires dans la compréhension des facteurs de résilience.
Can Spiritual Ecograms be Utilized in Mental Health Services to Promote Culturally Appropriate Family and Couples Therapy with Indigenous People?
Research addressing the potential utilization of spiritual ecograms with Indigenous families and children, specified by experienced professional in the field of Native-American psychology, was critiqued and reviewed in order to attend to its influence and applicability regarding the literature of Indigenous family therapy, and how it could be beneficial in therapy with Indigenous families. The literature review presents an effective tool, providing an in-depth exploration of spiritual strengths of the family and or children that incorporates spirituality into techniques commonly used in family therapy practice. Study results (Limb & Hodge, 2011) show that this tool is consistent with Native-American culture (Brucker & Perry, 1998; Green, 2010; Paniagua, 2005; Trujillo, 2000) and highlights many beneficial qualities for its utilization in practice. Limitations and recommendations for future research are also discussed.
Early Learning for Aboriginal Children: Past, Present and Future and an Exploration of the Aboriginal Head Start Urban and Northern Communities Program in Ontario
This article provides some key findings from a case study of the Aboriginal Head Start Urban and Northern Communities (AHSUNC) Program in Ontario. Some of the key findings were improved self-reported health status, commitment to cultural and linguistic revitalization, reduced tobacco use, improved knowledge of healthy living practices among Aboriginal children and their families. The number of off-reserve Aboriginal children that can experience AHSUNC is limited by funding and availability of space and human resources. The participants in this study have shown improved knowledge, interaction with their children, and increased understanding of their biculturedness within Ontario. Therefore it is important to increase this funding and continue to conduct research with AHSUNC projects across Ontario to document and highlight their successes as a model for other provinces/territories and early childhood programs.
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