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Category: Relevant Research

Aboriginal Youth Talk About Structural Determinants as the Causes of Their Homelessness

Source: First Peoples Child & Family Review, Cyndy Baskin Vol. 3 No. 3 (2007)

Summary: This article explores structural determinants as possible causes of the homelessness of Aboriginal youth in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It includes a brief literature review and provides some of the findings of a recent research project, which implemented an Aboriginal research methodology with homeless youth in Toronto. These findings point to a strong link between Aboriginal children growing up in poverty and involvement in child welfare and becoming homeless as a youth. Suggestions for positive change at the policy-level are offered in order to prevent the next generation of Aboriginal children growing up to become homeless youth.

Improving Transitions for Indigenous Learners through Collaborative Inquiry, Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network (AESN) Transitions Research Report, 2016-2018

Source: McGregor, C. (2019). Improving Transitions for Indigenous Learners through Collaborative Inquiry: AESN Transitions Research Report, 2016-2018. For the Networks of Inquiry and Indigenous Education (NOIIE): Vancouver, CAN.

Summary: The Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network (AESN) has been a catalyst for change in British Columbia (BC) schools since 2009. Based on the initiative of Dr. Trish Rosbourgh, then Director of Aboriginal Education in the Ministry of Education, this network was designed to be a strategy through which school districts could more effectively and productively engage in bringing their Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements to life (Rosborough, Halbert & Kaser, 2017).

The purpose of the AESN is “to create an inquiry community where people learn and work together to ensure that every Indigenous learner crosses the stage with dignity, purpose and options, and together, we eliminate racism in schools”.

Towards Understanding and Supporting Marginalized Children and Youth in Ontario: The Case of Growing up Indigenous

Source: Wellesley Institute

Summary: This report focuses on the voices and experiences of diverse urban Indigenous youth, parents, service providers, and community leaders across Ontario, to discover ways in which future systems change initiatives can better build on the strengths and support success in Indigenous communities.

With evidence to drive change, effective strategies for creating change, and the voice of community members guiding us, it is possible to revitalize our systems of support so that all our children and youth are equipped for success when they reach adulthood.

Staying in School: Engaging Aboriginal Students

Source: Congress of Aboriginal Peoples

Summary: Aboriginal Education, notably the inclusion of Aboriginal content in curricula and programs and the success of Aboriginal students, has received focused attention across Canada. Substantial efforts have been undertaken at the federal and provincial levels to address the differences in rates of achievement by Aboriginal and non‐Aboriginal Youth (e.g. Kroes, 2008; Levin, 2009).

Historically, there have been gaps in measured outcomes between Aboriginal and non‐Aboriginal Peoples of all ages, particularly in literacy rates (Statistics Canada, 2005), and enrollment to post‐ secondary education (Statistics Canada, 2010a). Although enrollment to post‐secondary education by Aboriginal Peoples is increasing, it is still below the rates of non‐Aboriginal Peoples. Across Canada rates of Aboriginal Peoples completing high school lag far behind non‐Aboriginal Peoples.

Mentoring Relationships and Mental Health in Aboriginal Youth

Source: Pathways to Education

Summary: This study examines the associations between mentoring status and mental health challenges of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth. It suggests that mentoring can positively impact the mental health of Aboriginal youth.

Formal youth mentoring programs have a positive impact on young people’s well-being. However, little is known about their impact on Aboriginal youth.

Using data from a Canada-wide survey of Big Brothers Big Sisters community mentoring programs, this study compares Aboriginal (i.e. First Nations, Inuit, or Métis) youth with non-Aboriginal youth before being matched with a mentor, and 18 months later. The objectives of this study were to assess: a) the mentoring relationship experiences of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth, and b) the impact of mentoring on the behavioural, psychological, and social functioning of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth.

Results show that mentored Aboriginal youth reported fewer emotional problems and less social anxiety relative to non-mentored Aboriginal youth. These effects were not found among non-Aboriginal youth. This study offers insights for youth mentoring researchers and directors of mentoring programs supporting Aboriginal youth, particularly regarding programming implications.

Casting a New Light on a Long Shadow: Saskatchewan Aboriginal High School Students Talk About What Helps and Hinders their Learning

Source: Bonnie Stelmach University of Alberta, Margaret Kovach University of Saskatchewan, Larry Steeves, University of Regina. Faculty of Education, University of Alberta

Summary: What do teachers do (or not do) that makes you want to go to school? A team of Saskatchewan researchers asked Saskatchewan Aboriginal high school students this question about the aspects of instructional practice that helps and hinders their learning. While responses pointed to several aspects, teacher relational instincts and capacities were the most influential in school engagement for this group of Aboriginal students. Students in this study described three relational capacities of effective teachers: a) empathetic responsiveness to the student as whole being, b) the degree to which teacher disposition influenced the relational dynamic with students, and c) teachers’ responsiveness to the full context of the student’s life (including a sensibility of the student’s Indigenous culture). Through a case study process, focus group interviews were conducted in six Saskatchewan schools. The study included 75 Aboriginal high school students from six schools (urban, rural, provincial, and First Nations Band schools) in Saskatchewan, Canada. The qualitative case study research design was informed by Indigenous principles, and the theoretical lens employed in the analysis relied predominately upon an Indigenous theoretical perspective, as articulated by Smith and Perkins (as cited in Kovach, 2014). The findings point to the teaching attributes of relationality, responsibility, and understanding of contextuality identified within an Indigenous theoretical framework as influential in fostering engaged learning environments for this group of Aboriginal high school students.

DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Towards skills development and inclusion of Indigenous Peoples in the new economy

Source: Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

Summary: Digital technologies are transforming our jobs, businesses and economies in every industry across the globe. Companies are adopting cloud and automation to make their enterprise far more agile and responsive, in order to provide superior experiences to their consumers. While these exciting changes are under way, an important point to remember is that by 2022, 52% of all jobs are expected to require cognitive abilities such as creativity, logical reasoning and problem sensitivity as part of their core skill set.  In this new world of work, companies across almost all sectors have the responsibility to develop talent that engages in computational thinking, innovation excellence and is digitally fluent. With the rise of the innovation economy and higher demand for employees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related professions in recent years, Indigenous Peoples are facing yet another era of significant transformation. This changing economic landscape lays out two roads for Indigenous business and workers in Canada.

Standing Tall Research Report

Source: Louis Riel Institute

Summary: Standing Tall was developed by the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF), as a three-year pilot project to research the effects of community involvement in education.  As a result of the preliminary findings of the pilot, there has been additional funding to continue the research and determine the next steps.  During this transitional phase, the MMF began developing an expansion plan with the support of research from the pilot project.  The Standing Tall program continues to run successfully through the Louis Riel Institute (LRI), the culture and education authority for the MMF.

The concept “Standing Tall” was based on an educational concept from New Zealand, created by and for its Indigenous people.  It is an adaptation of the Maori program, “Tu Tangata,” translated literally means “standing tall”, which denoted the pride the Elders in the Maori community had for its younger people.  “Tu Tangata” was initiated because the Indigenous community could see its children were struggling in the public school system… poor attendance, high suspension and drop-out rates, an increase in gang involvement, and drug and alcohol use.

Indigenous Self Determination in Northern Canada and Norway

Source: Wilson, Gary N., and Per Selle. 2019. Indigenous Self-Determination in Northern Canada and Norway. IRPP Study 69. Montreal: Institute for Research on Public Policy.

Summary: Over the last several decades, two circumpolar Indigenous peoples – the Canadian Inuit and the Norwegian Sámi – have made great strides in developing innovative governance regimes to foster greater Indigenous self-determination within their respective states. Their experience, say authors Gary N. Wilson and Per Selle, highlights two different yet complementary dimensions of Indigenous self-determination: self-rule and shared rule. Self-rule is the notion that Indigenous communities should exercise some degree of autonomy over policy decisions at the regional and local levels. Shared rule is the idea that communities should be connected with other, non-Indigenous governments so they can influence decisions that affect them.

The Canadian part of this study reviews developments in four Inuit regions: the territory of Nunavut, the Inuvialuit Settlement Region in the Northwest Territories, Nunavik in northern Quebec and Nunatsiavut in northern Labrador. Since the 1970s the Inuit in these regions have focused on building institutions of self-rule within the context of a federal system of government, by negotiating land claims agreements and by creating regional governance institutions with varying degrees of jurisdictional authority.

In contrast, the Norwegian Sámi have made considerable progress in developing non-territory-based, shared-rule institutions at the national level, within a unitary system of government. In particular, they established a national Indigenous parliament, the Sámediggi, which represents the Sámi from all parts of the country, provides limited jurisdictional authority in areas such as language, culture and education, and has close links with departments of the Norwegian government.

In recent years, both Indigenous groups have made progress toward creating a better balance between self-rule and shared rule. In Canada, an example is the creation of the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee, which brings together Inuit leaders and senior Canadian government representatives. A Norwegian example is the establishment of the Finnmark Estate, a land management body whose board is composed of three representatives from the Sámediggi and three from the Finnmark County Council in northern Norway.

Old Ways are the New Way Forward: How Indigenous pedagogy can benefit everyone

Source: Jean-Paul Restoule and Chaw-win-is. UNESCO

Summary: This reflection paper argues that traditional Indigenous ways of teaching and learning are relevant not only for Indigenous people, but for the education of all people. As teachers and practitioners, the authors seek to explore the connection between what is sometimes referred as “new” innovations in education with the forms of teaching that originated in traditional Indigenous education ways. For instance, think of differentiated instruction, daily physical activity, outdoor education, place-based, experiential, embodied, or service learning—pick a pedagogical buzzword—and there is likely some root to be found in the ways that worked for Indigenous communities for millennia. So why not explore how the old ways could be the new way forward?

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