Brittany Mathews and Emily Williams
Becoming Self-in-Relation: Coming of Age as a Pathway towards Wellness for Urban Indigenous Youth in Care
Andrea Mellor, Cedar Child and Family Services and Denise Cloutier
Two workshops were held with urban Indigenous youth who live in foster care on Lekwungen Territory on southern Vancouver Island. The workshops were informed by guidance from community knowledge holders and Elders and explored the meaning of Indigenous coming of age and adolescence with 15 youth through oral, visual, and text-based activities. Following a thematic analysis of the workshop transcripts, five themes emerged: self-continuity; self-awareness; empowerment; being part of something bigger; and support networks. These themes provide evidence that engaging with coming of age teachings and activities are protective to youth wellness and help youth to build strong foundations from which they can learn about their Indigenous ancestry and history in their own time. (Re)connecting to coming of age teachings is part of a broader discourse of (re)writing narratives that celebrate the strength, leadership, and independence of the urban Indigenous youth community. Although the voices shared reflect young community members living in and around southern Vancouver Island, the essence of our key messages are relevant to the broader Indigenous community and those practicing allyship through education, health care, social work, and other areas of influence.
“It’s a change your life kind of program”: A Healing-Focused Camping Weekend for Urban Indigenous Families Living in Fredericton, New Brunswick
Jason Hickey, Hayley Powling, Patsy McKinney, Tristin Robbins, Nathan Carrier and Abigail Nash
We present a community-driven research project designed to evaluate an innovative land-based healing initiative – a traditional camping weekend – for urban Indigenous families. The initiative was developed and implemented by Under One Sky Friendship Centre in Fredericton, NB, and involved a weekend-long celebration of culture and community. We gathered data from family members, staff, and stakeholders, and completed a thematic analysis and community review before synthesizing results into a narrative summary. Themes included Skitkəmikw (Land), Cəcahkw (Spirit), Skicinowihkw & Nekwtakotəmocik (Community & Family), and Sakələməlsowakən (Wellbeing). These connections are echoed throughout the article by quotes from participants that capture the essence of the experience. Our research helps to fill a knowledge gap in this area and supports the limited body of existing literature in demonstrating that community-led, land-based healing initiatives support Indigenous wellbeing in many ways that mainstream approaches cannot. Future work is needed to scale up land-based healing initiatives that provide community-led approaches to health promotion, and to examine the effects of ongoing participation on long-term health and wellness outcomes.
Graham Gee, Raelene Lesniowska, Radhika Santhanam-Martin and Catherine Chamberlain
Objective: To develop an understanding of parenting strategies used by Aboriginal Australian parents impacted by colonisation and other forms of adversity to break cycles of trauma within families.
Design: “Yarning circles” involving qualitative interviews with six Aboriginal parents were conducted. Parents who identified as having experienced childhood histories of trauma and historical loss were asked about parenting strategies that helped them to break cycles of intergenerational trauma. Interviews were transcribed and independently coded by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal psychologists who worked for an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.
Results: Parents identified over 100 strategies associated with parenting and breaking cycles of trauma. Some strategies aligned well with research on the protective effects of safe, stable, nurturing relationships. Other strategies focused upon domains of culture, community, and history, and addressed issues such as family violence, colonisation, and the intergenerational links between trauma and parenting. The strategies were collated into a community resource that could be used by other Aboriginal parents.
Conclusion: Parental histories of colonisation and interpersonal and intergenerational trauma can have a significant impact on kinship networks and community environments that Aboriginal parenting practices are embedded within. Parents who identified with having managed to break cycles of trauma reported using a wide range of successful parenting strategies. These strategies serve a diversity of functions, such as parenting approaches that aim to directly influence children’s behaviour and foster wellbeing, manage family and community conflict, and manage parental histories of trauma and trauma responses in ways that mitigate the impact on their children.
“No one cares more about your community than you”: Approaches to Healing With Secwépemc Children and Youth
Natalie Clark, Jeffrey More, Lynn Kenoras-Duck, Duanna Johnston-Virgo, Sharnelle Matthew, Anonymous, Norma Manuel and Jann Derrick
This paper shares stories from multigenerational Secwépemc and Indigenous healers (including social work and counselling practitioners) with Secwépemc kinship ties. Each Secwépemc and Indigenous healer works with Secwépemc and Indigenous children and youth in Secwépemcúlucw, the land of the Secwépemc Nation. The work is a form of “ancestor accountability” (Gumbs, 2016), as it is one that is embedded in our kinship relationships and our learning on the land together with our children, family, and Elders. Through the methodological framework of Steseptekwle – Secwépemc storytelling – together with Red Intersectionality, these stories are examples of new tellings, or re-storying, of the Snine (Owl) story that not only illuminate the ongoing resistance to colonial power, but also of the resurgence and reinstatement of Secwépemc ways of addressing wellness and healing.
Natasha Blanchet-Cohen, Giulietta di Mambro and Minic Petiquay
Cet article présente le processus et les apports du comité Witcihitisotan (entraide, en atikamekw), mis en oeuvre par des parents d’adolescents dans un Centre d’amitié autochtone au Québec. À ce jour, les formes de soutien adéquates pour les familles d’adolescents autochtones demeurent sous-documentées, ce qui représente une lacune, considérant les ruptures et transitions particulières vécues par les jeunes autochtones en milieu urbain. L’analyse de la documentation des 14 mois d’activité du comité fait émerger trois formes de soutien interdépendantes et complémentaires : le comité permet de « se dire », pour échanger et partager des conseils entre parents ; de « se raconter », où l’écoute permet de cheminer vers la guérison ; et de « se projeter », afin de s’exprimer sur la façon de vivre sa culture en ville. Mettant en oeuvre une approche semblable à celle du storytelling, le comité offre un lieu intergénérationnel de valorisation, de renforcement et d’autoguérison qui soutient l’apprentissage collectif des familles vers la réappropriation de compétences parentales et un mieux-être de la communauté. L’occasion de se rassembler dans un lieu émotionnellement et culturellement sécuritaire fait partie intégrante de l’approche décolonisante axée sur les forces. Cette étude de cas démontre l’importance de stimuler l’entraide entre pairs et de se moduler aux besoins du groupe. Ce type d’initiative permet de cheminer vers une amélioration des relations parent-jeune et une meilleure communication et connaissance de soi, qui seraient irréalisables par l’intermédiaire des approches apportées par des experts extérieurs, qui sont souvent préformatées et centrées sur les lacunes.
Early Childhood Education Training in Nunavut: Insights from the Inunnguiniq (“Making of a Human Being”) Pilot Project
Ceporah Mearns, Gwen Healey Akearok, Maria Cherba and Lauren Nevin
In the past two decades, evidence has shown that quality early childhood education (ECE) has lasting positive impacts, enhances wellbeing in many domains, and contributes to reducing economic and health inequalities. In Canada, complex colonial history has affected Indigenous peoples’ child-rearing techniques, and there is a need to support community-owned programs and revitalize traditional values and practices. While several studies have described Indigenous approaches to childrearing, there is a lack of publications outlining the core content of preschool staff training and exploring Indigenous early childhood pedagogy. This article contributes to the literature by highlighting the features of a highly effective training model rooted in Inuit values that has been implemented in Nunavut. After describing how early childhood education is organized in Nunavut, we outline the challenges related to staff training and present the development and the pilot implementation of an evidence-based training program. We then discuss its successes and challenges and formulate suggestions for professionals and policymakers to enhance early childhood educators’ training in the territory.