[Canada] Learning from the Educational Experiences of Indigenous Former Children in Care on Coast Salish Territory


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Practice and Research Together (PART) webinar given by Dr Shelly Johnson of the University of British Columbia, Canada, on Tuesday 27 November 2012

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[Canada] Learning from the Educational Experiences of Indigenous Former Children in Care on Coast Salish Territory

  1. 1. 23/11/2012 Beginning in a good way Recognizing the unceded Musqueam territory  &  the original owners of  Ontario lands UBC Museum of AnthropologyJohnson, S. (2011). Wrap a star blanket around each one. Learning from the  educational experiences of Indigenous former youth‐in‐care on Coast Salish  territory. In K. Kufeldt & B. McKenzie (Eds.). Child welfare: Connecting  research, policy and practice (pp. 339‐352). Waterloo, ON: Wilfred Laurier  Press. Dr. Shelly Johnson  University of British Columbia, School of Social Work November 27, 2012 1
  2. 2. 23/11/2012SAULTEAUX STAR BLANKETSymbol represents the first star of a new daySymbol of a collective Indigenous creationMetaphor for our vision for a new Indigenous learning journeyFramework A star blanket is sometimes made from the remnants of prayer cloths used in ceremony that are brought into an ordered pattern that gives rise to profound beauty. Indigenous children in care, and we ourselves are remnants, in a way, of something that once was. When we re-enter the ordered harmony of culture, when we stand in the circle again with all our relations, we take our place as a sacred and significant part of the ceremonial beauty of our own interrelated existence. Dr. Lee Brown, personal communication, January 30, 2010. 2
  3. 3. 23/11/2012 Overview • Why this topic? • Purpose • Research Questions • Theoretical Framework • Literature • Methodology and Methods • Key Findings • Strengths and Limitations • Implications and contributions to practice and policy • Future ResearchSocial locationWhy this topicStories from Indigenous experiencesin the Canadian contextSocially sanctioned structural violenceSocial injustice, inequality, racismPurposeTo learn from Urban Indigenous peoplesabout their Canadian child welfare and educational experienceswithin the Urban community contexts of Victoria and Vancouver, BC. 3
  4. 4. 23/11/2012Research Questions What facilitated and hindered your educational success both during and after you lived in the BC child protection system? What educational supports did you access both during and after you lived in the BC child protection system? Hopes and / or recommendations for changeIndigenist Theoretical Framework Indigenist Theoretical Principles: • Resistance struggle for self-determination and to be free from oppression, • Political links research to political Indigenous struggles to set our own agendas • Privileges Indigenous voices. Rigney, 1997, p. 118 4
  5. 5. 23/11/2012 Indigenous / Feminist Theory - > Indigenist Theory • Collaborative and Differential impacts on non-Exploitive + Relationships Indigenous women and children • Positioning the researcher within the + research process • Interrogates power structures and Patriarchal Social + practices and Sexism Economic Colonial Racism Political • Emphasis on transformative research Power Historical + Praxis: theoretically informed, politically self-conscious activism (Green, 2007, p. 25). Critical Theory – > Indigenist theory Oppression/freedom in Canadian society Historical, social, economic, racial, gender,  structural contradictions Conscientization: understanding contradictions and take action against  inequities  Praxis: offers strategies to exit from oppression, our ability to transform it  through our own struggles to free ourselvesFriere, 2001; Mullaly, 2007; Frankfurt School; Hart, 2009 5
  6. 6. 23/11/2012 Historical Trauma Theory - > Indigenist Theory Cumulative and collective psychological and emotional injury sustained over a lifetime and across generations resulting from massive group trauma experiences. Yellow Horse Brave Heart (2003) ‐ • Historical Trauma Experience ‐ • Historical Trauma Response ‐ • Intergenerational Transmission•Aboriginal Healing Foundation (2004); Duran & Duran (1995); Sotero (2006)•Yellow Horse Braveheart & DeBruyn (1998). The American Indian holocaust: Healing historical unresolved grief. Am Indian AlkNat Menal Health Res 8(2); 56-78.Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Theory -> Indigenist TheoryResponse flows from Historical Trauma • PSYCHOLOGICAL • PTSD, Depression, Panic/Anxiety ‐ • Results: Grief, withdrawal, numbness • SOCIAL • Substance misuse, suicide, domestic violence ‐ • Results: breakdown of family, separation, loss • PHYSICAL • Nutritional stress, compromised immune system ‐ • Results: Malnutrition, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancer 6
  7. 7. 23/11/2012Literature Review BC RCY and PMHO (2007) Canadian National Youth in Care Network (2001) Snow (2009) Joe Duquette - Haig-Brown, Hodgson-Smith, Regnier & Archibald (1997) Wiingashk Urban Alternative Secondary School - Sadie Donovan (2011)Methodology and Methods Ontology and epistemology are based upon a process of relationships that form a  mutual reality. The axiology and methodology are based upon maintaining  accountability to these relationships.                          Shawn Wilson, (2008, p. 70‐71). Invitation to participate Snowball sampling – relationships Talking circles Individual interviews Document review Guided by Indigenous protocols FIPC – No repercussions Confidentiality  and safety Archibald (2008), Kovach (2009), Wilson (2008). 7
  8. 8. 23/11/2012 All 15 ICIC grew up in BC CP 118 Social Workers system in Low of 1 Victoria & 13 Children of RS Survivors High of 25+ Vancouver. 1 Child of former ICIC Average 7.86 Legal status 1 Did not have access to info CCO or PW 10 entered CP system 125 Placements <4 years old Biggest Barriers to Low of 1 4 entered CP system Educational Success? High of 50+ >5 <10 years old The BC Average 8.3 CW and Education Systems 40%<12 12 No Ab SD Workers 11 No Aboriginal Caregivers 3 Had at least 1 4 Had at least 1 Ab. Caregiver Ab. teacher, 149 School Placements counsellor Low of 2Urban High of 20+ Average 9.9ICIC Admin Social Workers Assistant •Guardianship Executive •Resources •Protection Director •Cultural Support Positions of Worker 14 • C&Y Counsellor Urban Board Member •Roots Worker Indigenous & Elder •Teacher Agency Participants Team Managers Leader •Guardianship,Agency •Community Svcs Foster •Finance ParentParticipants Contractor 8
  9. 9. 23/11/2012 Nuu Chah Nulth Nlaka’pamux Okanagan Nisga’a Musqueam Tahltan Nuxalk Mohawk Beaver Sto:lo 29 study  29 study Saulteaux participants  participants Kwakwakwakw claim ancestry  Coast Salish claim ancestry in 52  in 52 Squamish Nations nations Secwepemc Metis Carrier Stat’im’c Canadian Haida Sliammon Comox Gitxsan Cowichan Tribes CreeNations Key FindingsStar Blanket Educational Organizational Model for Indigenous Children in BC’s child protection system 1. Advocacy and legislation 2. Indigenous governance & staff 1 2 3. Culture, languages, traditions & ceremonies in curriculum 8 3 4. Mentoring by former Indigenous youth in care 5. Support services for current, historical trauma and PTSD 7 4 6. Specific targeted educational funding for ICIC 6 5 7. Educational assessment, planning, implementation and review (EPOC) 8. Service delivery protocols, political collaboration and coordination 9
  10. 10. 23/11/2012 Urban Indigenous educational advocacy and legislation• I would like to see an advocacy organization that has the authority to bring all the parties together, education and child welfare services to share information, provide early intervention with lots of targeted support and tutoring for our youth. They should have a mandate, an Urban Aboriginal educational, advocacy group for Urban Aboriginal children in care (ICIC, 2009).• We also need to work the system from the outside as well. It’s two fold. In the rights of children in foster care, there is nothing about their right to a good education, and appropriate education, inclusive of their cultures or anything like that (Agency, 2009). Support Services for Current, Historical Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders• I was really unhappy and keeping the sexual abuse by the foster father secret dominated everything I did. I couldn’t confide in anyone (ICIC, 2009).• We sued the first foster home I was in. They called it vicarious abuse, because they had two older kids in the home and they were my abusers (ICIC, 2009).• My brother and sister had passed away a month and a half apart and I was in grade 9. Most of the teachers I the school, they didn’t give me any grief but also didn’t assist me. They ignored it and didn’t really help. I was pretty much left on my own (ICIC, 2009).• One of the things that has come up on a continual basis with my little girls that are 13 to 15 years old is serious depression…their life is horrible. They are in a quandry of who they are. They are having serious identity problems (Agency, 2009) 10
  11. 11. 23/11/2012 Targeted Educational Funding for Urban ICIC (elementary, secondary, post-secondary to age 30)• The schools get specific funding for Aboriginal students, but there are lots of loop holes and the funding doesn’t follow the student if they are moved in foster care. It has to be changed to that it stays and supports Aboriginal children in foster care, wherever they attend (Agency, 2009).• When I took the program, I didn’t know that there was a deadline. I didn’t know anything about my band. When I decided to take the program, I had a couple of months to get into the program and get funding. I contacted my band to see if I could get funding for school. They flat out said no to me because I was a couple of weeks late (ICIC, 2009).• If people who are in care finally make it to a point where they actually make it through university, there should be some debt forgiveness because they don’t have a band funding them, or have parents that are going to bless them with debt forgiveness or help them buy their first home. I came into care when I was 3 and today I have $80,000 in student loan debt (ICIC, 2009). Strengths and Limitations Strengths: First Indigenist study in Canada to focus on the educational experiences of Urban ICIC Strategic, holistic, transformative Indigenist educational organizational model Limitations: Ability to compel implementation 11
  12. 12. 23/11/2012 Potential Application of Research Findings You cannot hope to raise student outcomes without increasing the resources required for this initiative. Betty Lavallee, President of CAP, 2011 Invest in, and implement, this Star Blanket transformational educational model Develop and implement an educational rights workbook for ICIC and educational mentors PAR at the direction of Urban Indigenous peoplesClosing in a good way Final words from an Elder & Youth Over 50% of young people in care are Aboriginal and that’s huge. We need to listen to them and we need to give them power. If I’m Premier and I have all this power but I’m making decisions on behalf of them and it doesn’t seem to be working, why aren’t we giving them some of the power so they can make some of the decisions? (ICIC, 2009) Poem and Artistic Expression Star Blanket Dreamers All my relations 12
  13. 13. 23/11/2012Hy’chka, Me’gweech, Thank you. Dr. Shelly Johnson, Mukwa Musayett University of British Columbia, School of Social Work 2080 West Mall, Vancouver, BC shelly.johnson@ubc.ca 604-822-9647 13