PLACES FOR THE GOOD CARE OF CHILDREN: A DISCUSSION OF INDIGENOUS CULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS AND EARLY CHILDHOOD IN CANADA AND N E W ZEALAND by Margo Lainne Greenwood A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Cross-Faculty Inquiry in Education) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) June, 2009 © Margo Lainne Greenwood, 2009 ABSTRACT Places for the Good Care of Children is, broadly speaking, about Indigenous early childhood and the potential of understanding child development as a site for cultural rejuvenation and efforts to rebuild colonized peoples. More specifically, the project seeks to answer questions about linkages between early childhood, government policies, community visions, and the identity and rebuilding of Indigenous peoples and communities. I pursue this topic by examining two communities (Lake Babine and Tl'azt'en) within the Carrier Nation in Canada and two Tuhoe Maori Kohanga Reo sites in Aotearoa / New Zealand. Integral to this study is my own positioning as a Cree scholar, a long-time professional in the area of early childhood development, an advisor on multiple committees and tables concerned with Aboriginal issues in Canada, and a mother of three. From these multiple positions I have undertaken a qualitative inquiry employing focus groups, key informant interviews, and thematic analysis, all of which draw from multiple methodologies and a literature largely comprising works concerned with decolonization, Indigenous theory, early childhood development, and policy. The key findings of this research suggest that early childhood (and related educational considerations) is a critical site for cultural rejuvenation, for the (rebuilding of community, and for the establishment of healthy Aboriginal communities in the future. Fundamental to this (rebuilding is autonomy by Indigenous communities over language and culture, over the care and education of their children, over their lives and futures, and over the lives and futures of their children. u TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT ii TABLE OF CONTENTS iii LIST OF TABLES vii LIST OF FIGURES viii GLOSSARY ix ACRONYMS xiii PREFACE xiv ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS xix DEDICATION xx CHAPTER ONE I Begin 1 1.1 Research Questions 2 1.2 Situating Myself as a Researcher 3 1.3 Critical Constructs 10 1.3.1 Worldview 10 1.3.2 Culture 10 1.3.3 Imperialism and Colonization 11 1.3.4 Eurocentrism, Diffusionism and Universalism 13 1.3.5 Hegemony 15 1.4 A Glimpse of the Social, Political and Health Contexts of Early Childhood Education 19 1.5 An Introduction to Aboriginal Early Childhood Programs 21 1.6 Rationale 25 1.7 Theoretical Approach 27 1.8 Research Approach 28 1.9 Contributions of this Research 31 1.10 Sequence of this Dissertation 31 CHAPTER TWO A Discussion of Theory 34 2.1 Introduction 36 2.2 The Nature of Indigenous Knowledge(s) and Relational Ontolog(ies)... 38 2.3 Theory 44 2.4 Guiding Principles 48 CHAPTER T H R E E Passing on Indigenous Knowledge(s) 55 3.1 Conceptualizing Children 55 3.2 Passing on Indigenous Knowledge(s) — "For Those Yet to Come" 63 3.2.1 Language 63 in 3.2.2 Stories 66 3.2.3 Storytelling 69 3.2.4 Ceremonies 70 3.2.5 Symbols 71 3.2.6 Revelation 72 3.2.7 Empirical knowledge 73 3.3 Closing comments 74 CHAPTER FOUR A Chronicle of Undertaking this Study 76 4.1 Introduction 77 4.2 Chronicling my journey 80 4.2.1 Descriptive case studies 80 4.2.2 Research participants 82 4.2.3 My role as a researcher entering the research process 83 4.2.4 Entering the communities: Community guides and protocols 85 4.2.5 Gathering information: Qualitative research methods 87 4.2.6 Gathering information: Cultural processes 90 4.3 Reviewing and analyzing the information gathered 93 4.3.1 Accuracy, consistency and relational accountability 95 4.4 Closing comments 96 CHAPTER FIVE Setting the Context 98 5.1 Introduction 98 5.1.1 Contact, colonization, and assimilation 100 5.1.2 Integration and equality 106 5.1.3 Self-government efforts 108 5.2 Aboriginal-specific early childhood programs emerge 115 5.2.1 First Nations and Inuit Child Care Initiative (FNICCI) 117 5.2.2 Regional implementation of the FNICQ 121 5.2.3 Aboriginal Head Start 122 5.2.4 Regional implementation of the AHSOR program 125 5.3 Opportunities and growth, integration and coordination 127 5.3.1 " Single window" approach in early childhood development 130 5.3.2 E arly childhood development and early learning and child care (ELCQintersect 133 5.4 Closing comments 136 CHAPTER SIX Pathways to Learning: First Nations of British Columbia.... 140 6.1 Introduction 140 6.2 The Carrier people 142 6.3 Lake Babine Nation 146 IV 6.3.1 Geographical location, the people 147 6.3.2 Development of the community child daycare centre 148 6.3.3 Language and culture 154 6.3.4 Tensions between community and provincial licensing 157 6.3.5 Sense of success and utility. 160 6.3.6 Reflections 162 6.4 Tl'azt'en Nation 165 6.4.1 Geographical location, the people 166 6.4.2 Development of the community program 167 6.4.3 Language and culture 170 6.4.4 Tensions between community and provincial licensing 173 6.4.5 Sense of success and utility. 177 6.4.6 Reflections 178 6.5 Closing comments 179 CHAPTER SEVEN Pathways to Learning: Tuhoe of Aotearoa/ New Zealand 182 7.1 Introduction 182 7.2 Personal positioning: A journey to learning 183 7.3 The Tuhoe people 185 7.3.1 Te Tiriti O Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi) 189 7.4 On my way 191 7.4.1 Te Hui Ahurei a Tuhoe (Gathering of the Tuhoe Nation) 194 7.5 Historical overview of Te Kohanga Reo 198 7.6 Voices from the community 201 7.6.1 Tawhaki Te Kohanga Reo, Rural Ruatoki 201 7.6.2 Te Tumaanako Kohanga Reo, Kawerau 202 7.6.3 Whanau 204 7.6.4 Language and identity 207 7.6.5 Self-determination 210 7.6.6 Teaching and training 212 7.6.7 Bicultural possibility 214 7.6.8 Legislation and licensing 216 7.7 Closing comments 220 CHAPTER EIGHT Learnings and Teachings 224 8.1 Introduction 224 8.2 A time to reflect, a time to change, a time for self-determination 225 8.3 The Findings: Specific considerations for transformation and change 228 8.3.1 Engaging with community 228 8.3.2 Continuing tensions about power differences 229 8.3.3 Creating programmatic success through community adaptation and resilience 230 8.3.4 Learning form top-down/bottom-up relationships with governments 230 v 8.3.5 Placing language, culture and identity at the core of children's good care 232 8.3.6 Maintaining the role of parents, extended family, and community members 233 8.3.7 Ensuring that early childhood caregivers/teachers have multiple knowledge(s)and skills 234 8.4 From visions to actions: Actualizing the considerations 235 8.4.1 Emphasizing critical consciousness 236 8.4.2 Emphasizing community-oriented leadership 237 8.4.3 Living Indigenous knowledge(s): Language and culture 238 8.4.4 Developing structural possibilities: Tribal groupings 239 8.4.5 Developing structural possibilities: Family structures 241 8.4.6 Developing programs and services for children with diverse Indigenous backgrounds 242 8.4.7 Linking educational systems 243 8.4.8 Ensuring adequate resources 243 8.5 Theoretical principles, methodological principles, life principles 244 8.6 Implications for future research 246 AFTERWORD 249 WORKS CITED 250 APPENDICES 263 Appendix 1 Description of process involved in securing permission to undertake research with Tuhoe peoples of Aoteoroa / New Zealand 264 Appendix 2 Initiating the research process - Aoteoroa/New Zealand 265 Appendix 3 Initiating the research process - Lake Babine Nation 273 Appendix 4 Initiating the research process - Tl'azt'en Nation 278 Appendix 5 Invitation letters, project information sheets, and consent forms 286 Appendix 6 Interview and focus group instruments 310 Appendix 7 UBC Ethics Approval 329 vi LIST OF TABLES Table 4.1 Number of Research Participants by Role and Locale 83 vii LIST OF FIGURES Figure 2.1 Theoretical Framework 54 Figure 6.1 First Nations Peoples of BC 143 Figure 7.1 Geographical Map of Te Urewera 186 Figure 8.1 Theoretical Framework Revisited 246 via GLOSSARY This glossary is divided into two sections: Canadian English terms and Maori terms. Canadian English Terms The following definitions of terms are taken from the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RRCAP).1 Aboriginal people2 Bal'hats First Nations Indian Indigenous people3 Inuit Metis Indigenous inhabitants of Canada including First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples (as stated in section 35(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982). Potlatch peoples who identify as First Nations people. This term includes those First Nations peoples living on-reserve or off-reserve, those "Indian" persons registered under the Indian Act, and non-Status First Nations. person (including, generally, First Nations and Inuit) registered, or entitled to be registered, under the Indian Act. the Aboriginal population of a nation (in this instance, Canada) or a geographical area. Indigenous inhabitants of various land-regions throughout the Canadian North. a distinct Aboriginal people whose early ancestors were of mixed heritage, and who identify themselves as a nation with historical roots in the Canadian West. 1 RRCAP, Vol.1. (1996). Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services. 2 The concept or term 'Aboriginal' is used to refer to Canada's First Peoples, (First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples) who self-identify as having Aboriginal ancestry. There are times when I use the terms 'Indigenous' and 'Aboriginal' interchangeably. When I write about specific nations or groups, I try to use the names they use themselves. For example, many of the Elders in various parts of the country with whom I worked referred to themselves as Indians. 3 Wilson (2008) writes that the concept or term 'Indigenous' is one that is currently being reclaimed by Indigenous peoples: As more people become more active politically and in the field of academia the term Indigenous, as an adjective, has come to mean 'relating to Indigenous people and peoples'. ... The first peoples of the world have gained greater understanding of the similarities we share. Terms such as Indian, Metis, [or Aboriginal] ... do nothing to either reflect the distinctiveness of our cultures or the commonalities underlying worldviews. Indigenous is inclusive of all first peoples - unique in our own cultures but common in our experiences of colonialism and our understanding of the world, (pp. 15-16) IX Maori Ternis Aotearoa aroha ahurei atua haka Hapu Hinepukohurangi hongi Ihi iritana Iwi kai moana kaiako kaimahi kaitiaki Kappa haka karakia Karanga Kaumaatua kaupapa kohanga Korowai Maatariki mahiTahi mana Manuhiri Maori Maoritanga marae mataatua Mataatua waka Maungaphatu mokopuna Moteatea Murakareke Nga Nga moteatea Nga Tamariki 6 Te Kohu Ngai Ngai Tuhoe noa Pakeha Papatuaanuku peka peruperu pepeha the land of the long white cloud love, kindness gathering of the nation deity, creator tribal war dance sub-tribe Maiden mist (deity) traditional greeting (nose-to-nose) Aura CEO main tribe seafood Teacher Helper Caregiver to reach out, tribal dance prayer Call of welcome Elders theme (ideology) nest or nursery a key handbook about Kaupapa philosophy stars collaborative work prestige, authority, power Guests Indigenous Peoples of New Zealand Maori ways of being sacred gathering place tribal canoe ancestral canoe (migrated from Hawaikinui) Primeval ancestor of the Tuhoe people Grandchild Song ancestral deity to take breath the lament (traditional chant) The Children of the Mist sub-tribal groups Urban Tuhoe be free from the extensions of tapu European Mother Earth to call into a place war dance (performed with weapons) tribal sayings pohiri Poi Potiki purakau purapura rangatira Ranginui RauRakau Ringatu Ta Moko Taha Maori Taha wairua Tamakaimoana tanga Tangi Tangata Whenua Taonga tapu Tawhaki Te Hui Ahurei aTuhoe Te KohangaReo te korowai Te matariki te maunga te reo me oona tikanga Te Tiriti 6 Waitangi te tiro rangatiratanga Te Urewera te whariki tiaki tikanga Tino Rangatiratanga Tiriti o Waitangi To tatou ahua Tohunga Tuhoe Tuhoetanga Tumanaako Tu Tangata Uananga kaumaatua waiata waiata Koroua Waiata-a-Ringa waiata tira warn Waimana wehi wero traditional welcoming ceremony Ball (used in dance) Son of Hinepukohurangi and Maungapohatu tribal narratives regional meetings Chief Sky Father Female leaf ceremony upraised hands tattoo (male Maori dimension Spirtiual side Sub-tribal group way of being Funeral People of the land Treasure Sacred Rural Te Kohanga Reo (deity) The gathering of the Tuhoe Nation the language nest(s) The Cloak the stars the mountain language and customs The Treaty of Waitangi Maori resources "Burnt manhood" (from a foundational legend) the foundation Mentor customs Sovereignty, Chieftanship Treaty of Waitanga Our ways of being Spirtitual leader Tribe of Te Urewera Tuhoe ways of being Te Kohanga Reo (urban) Stand (man) elders' conference song traditional ancient song Maori actions song choral representation Spring of mana fear weaponry (used in Maori welcoming) XI whaikorero whaiora whanau whakaeke whakapaakari whakapakari whakapakari tohu whakapapa whakautu whakawaatea whakawhanaungatanga whanaungatanga whenua fonnal speech well-being family entry training components to strengthen, nature (of people) components (modules) genealogy responding back exit our wholeness kinship ties land xn ACRONYMS ACS AFN AHRDA AHSOR AHSUNC BCACCS BCFNHS BCR CAPC CCIF DIAN ECDA ELCC FASD FNICCI FNIHB FPT HC HRDC INAC ITK NAHSC PHAC QUAD RAC RFP SDC Aboriginal Children's Survey Assembly of First Nations Aboriginal Human Resources Development Agreement Holders Aboriginal Head Start On Reserve Program Aboriginal Head Start Urban and Northern Communities Program British Columbia Aboriginal Child Care Society British Columbia First Nations Head Start Band Council Resolution Community Action Plan for Children Child Care Initiatives Fund Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Early Childhood Development Agreements Early Learning and Child Care Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder First Nations and Inuit Child Care Initiative First Nations/Inuit Health Branch Federal/Provincial/Territorial Health Canada Human Resources Development Canada Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami National Aboriginal Head Start Council Public Health Agency of Canada Quality, University Inclusivity, Accessibility and Development Regional Advisory Committee Request for Proposals Social Development Canada Xlll PREFACE The day was just beginning as I sat at my kitchen window, gazing out over the once treed landscape and pondering yet again the significance of the story told to me by a teacher of the Cree nation, my nation. Willie4 had spoken of the red willow basket and how it was made to hold the sacred medicines, that is, our tobacco, sweetgrass ... of our ceremonies. He spoke of the red willow and how it was a precious symbol of learning and good humor. And then he shared a story told to him by another Elder. He spoke of how the Elder had gathered medicines in the woods with his grandmother, and how they used to take the medicines back to their cabin and lay them out on a clean white cloth. The white of the cloth, symbolizing purity, was used to honor the sacredness of the medicines. Willie explained that our minds are like the red willow basket or white cloth - they must be clean in order to hold the sacred medicines - in this case, our thoughts. To receive knowledge, I must be prepared. For me that means writing from a place where my mind and my heart are one. The purity of thought given to me by others cannot find its resting place within me otherwise. I must be ready to receive those gifts in a way that will be beneficial to others. In this way, undertaking this dissertation has been both an academic and a spiritual journey. The dissertation itself is far less than the journey to get there. Nonetheless, this dissertation is intended to be the articulation of my thoughts, and the thoughts of others, combined together for all to learn from. This prologue is intended to provide the reader with a broader context by which to more fully understand the interrelationship between myself and this work While I understand that there are specific requirements for meeting the standards of the academy, I must stay ethically true to my own cultural values as well. This dual responsibility will necessarily shape the way I develop this thesis. As such this introductory prologue is written to assist the reader in orienting, understanding and reading this work more easily. This study focuses on 4 Willie Ermine is a Cree Elder from the Sturgeon Lake First Nation. He currently teaches at the First Nations University in Regina, Saskatchewan. XIV Canada and the early childhood programs and services designed and implemented to serve young First Nations children and their families residing on reserve in British Columbia. While these programs and services are generally felt to be beneficial, there is a growing list of critical questions and concerns about the relevance of cultural components, their underlying values and beliefs, and how these contribute to program and service delivery. In short, the educative and the cultural components need to be more clearly understood in order to provide appropriate support in the right places. I undertook this study with these questions in mind. It is an opportunity to positively and proactively address community concerns and may potentially be useful in addressing these challenges at both the practice and policy levels. One way I address these questions is to look to others who are doing similar work and who might have experiences and insights from which we might learn. In particular I draw on the insights from the cross-cultural situation of the Maori people of Aotearoa / New Zealand. I knew of Te Kohanga Reo (preschool language nests) in Aotearoa / New Zealand and that they had developed out of a movement by the people themselves, directed by their Kaumaatua (Elders) as an initiative to save their language and thus their cultural ways of knowing, being and doing. Te Kohanga Reo sites came into being in the early 1980s as a tangible response to Maori desire to revitalize their language. This work will examine and learn from the Maori experience (and our own) with the overall aim of exploring ways by which to create change - a change that would address the aspirations and needs of First Nations communities, families and children in the early childhood years. This meant understanding that policies, practices and regulations related to early childhood are critically constructed. This understanding immediately highlights an area that is culturally contested. The 'good care' of Indigenous children is currently regulated with a Eurocentric (Western European) framework. This is xv problematic for First Nations children and parents who wish to incorporate their own cultural thinking, values and practices. This is why the New Zealand example is important. Maori have been able to incorporate their own cultural nuances as well as satisfy the state regulatory expectations. In order to learn about Te Kohanga Reo and our child care and Head Start programs, I needed to 'visit' with community, with parents, with Elders (Kaumaatua), with early childhood caregivers (teachers) and with community members in order to learn from them. I visited with two First Nations communities in British Columbia, Canada and with two Maori Tuhoe sites in Aotearoa / New Zealand. I detail these visits in later chapters. I believe that research begins with our 'own' reality. I begin there as well. Cree scholar Wilson (2008) describes ontology as "the theory of the nature of existence, or the nature of reality" (p. 33). The related question then is "what is real?" (p. 66). As I explored the complexity of this question for myself, I realized there will be times when I simply tell you about myself. There will also be times, when I engage with the content that I am writing about, and that I show you my thoughts while at the same time demonstrate how I relate to the knowledge I am learning. I know it sounds a bit convoluted, but these notions of being and knowing are so entwined that at times, as Graveline (1998) and Wilson (2008) argue, they seem to be one. I elaborate on ways of knowing and being in Chapters Two and Three. I bring with me an eclectic background of learning from my Western European education, from Elders of many Nations, my family and my community. I position myself as an Indigenous person with roots in the Cree nation, as a learner, as a scholar, as an early childhood educator, and as a storyteller for the purposes of sharing what I have learned from undertaking this study. This story does not belong to me alone. It belongs to those who work in First Nations and to those Tuhoe Maori early childhood programs and services, xvi serving their children and families in the hearts of their communities on a daily basis. It belongs to all those people who taught me through their participation with me in undertaking this work. It belongs to all my teachers for their time, kindness and patience with me as I struggled to learn. I am respectful and culturally accountable to all those individuals and communities who helped me undertake this study. Culturally relating I wish to acknowledge Shawn Wilson, Jo-arm Archibald, Graham Smith and Fyre Jean Graveline for providing me with examples of writing that resonate with my being.5 So, if you find there are similarities in style or format, you are likely right. I mean that with the utmost respect for these Indigenous scholars. I stand with them and feel liberated in writing in a way that is congruent with my sense of being and coming to understand. As Louis6 would say to me when he really wanted me to understand something, "you should try walking a mile in my moccasins." I am walking in their moccasins while at the same time finding my own. I struggled with how to get my thoughts on paper - I could feel them in my being, but they never seemed to say what I really wanted them to say when I put them on paper. If I were a painter, then it would be easy; but I am not. I have spent many hours wondering how I could paint with words. It was only when I started to write to my son or to you the reader as if we were having a 'visit' while walking in the woods that I felt free and safe enough to put into words what I mean. In other words, I needed to feel as if we are in relationship. Thus, many parts of this dissertation are written in the first person or as personal stories. Personal stories will be identifiable through use of smaller font, indenting of 5 1 have only just recently come upon the writing of Shawn Wilson (2008) and seeing connections, revisited Fyre Jean's (1998) work. I also read Jo-ann Archibald's (2008) book, Indigenous Storywork, and revisited Graham Smith's (1997) dissertation. Louis Opekokew is a Cree Elder from the Canoe Lake First Nation in northwestern Saskatchewan. I spent many hours with him over several years, traveling throughout the territory and listening to his stories. xvii text, and use of 1.5 line spacing. Other parts of this dissertation are written in third person and more formally. There are times when I will engage with other scholars as if we are talking to each other, or I will share my thoughts and stories with you. You may also find that I revisit topics, I hope each time further describing, expanding and or explaining their nuances or application to my work I was reminded by Wilson (2008) that sometimes explaining the context takes longer than what we are about to say, or we say more than what is needed (p. 7). Where this occurs - I deliberately do it to emphasize and restate important points - this is a cultural nuance that I believe is important. I note that Maori scholars often use this as deliberate methodology (Smith, 1999). xvm ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS For all of those people who own this dissertation with me, who encouraged me, and who taught me so that I too could understand. Specifically I wish to acknowledge: Elder Mary Thomas of the (Secwepemc) Shuswap Nation, Elder Louis Opekokewof the Canoe Lake First Nation and my Moshum Oliver Greenwood My sons, Jacob, Reid, and Aaron, and my husband, Douglas, for their generosity in giving me time— their time— and for their unwavering belief in me Tina Ngaroimata Fraser, her brother Hohepa Tamehana, and their whanau for their gifts of relationship, of knowledge and of aroha Mere Nuku, Monty Palmantier, Warner Adam and Yolanda Spenst who provided me with advice and guidance in their communities The nations and community members who made this study possible: In Canada: The Lake Babine Nation and the Woyonne Day Care The TTatz'en Nation and the Tl'atz'en Head Start In Aotearoa / New Zealand and the Tuhoe people: Te Tawhaki Kohanga Reo in Ruatoki Te Tumaanako Kohanga Reo in Kawerau Sarah DeLeeuw, Martha MacLeod and Regine Halseth for their advice and constant support All of my friends who believed in me and never let the dream of completion die Jo-arm Archibald, Graham Smith, and FEllel Goelman— my PhD supervisory committee xix DEDICATION "From a perspective of identity and ultimately citizenship for young Aboriginal children, early childhood is a contested place, a place of struggle and a place of decolonization." (G. H. Smith, personal communication, spring, 2007) This dissertation is dedicated to all those children whose lives we impact on a daily basis. xx CHAPTER O N E I Begin... This dissertation is about articulating what comprises the 'good care' of young First Nations children. My primary argument is that Indigenous ways of knowing and being are integral factors relating to the 'good care' and education of young Indigenous children. This argument threads its way throughout the dissertation— in the literature review, the theory, the methodology, and as results that reveal the words of the people with whom I worked undertaking this study. My argument is discussed in relation to the broader ideas of colonial (Little Bear, 2000; Henderson, 2000; Graveline, 1998) and transformative (Archibald, 2008; Pihama, 2005; Battiste, 2002; G. R Smith, 2002; L. T. Smith, 1999; Freire, 1970) discourses and set within multiple contexts. My discussions about the 'good care' of children are meant to respect and honor the diversity of these multiple contexts and realities and the distinctiveness of groups who live them. My discussions are also meant to understand that at times it is important for groups to come together as one in order to create social change. This notion of collective action has particular relevance when considering systemic and structural change relative to early childhood programs and services for First Nations children. Chapter One is intended to address three primary purposes: first, to introduce the contents of this dissertation, second to position myself as a researcher, and third to begin situating this research in multiple contexts. I start this chapter by introducing the overarching questions of this research. I then situate myself as a researcher and offer contextual terms and constructs along with a glimpse of current day realities as expressed by the development of Aboriginal early childhood programs and services. This background 1 context leads to the rationale for this study. The remaining parts of this chapter introduce the theoretical and methodological approaches used in this study, which are elaborated upon in subsequent chapters, and identify potential contributions of this research. This chapter concludes with an introduction to the particular chapters that comprise this dissertation. 1.1 Research questions This study examines early childhood programs7 developed for First Nations children residing in specific First Nations communities located in the traditional Carrier territories of north- central British Columbia, Canada and in the traditional territories of the Tuhoe Maori of Aotearoa / New Zealand. The overall purpose of the study is to examine program structures, policies, and strategies used for the development and implementation of early childhood programs and services and their consistency with community aspirations for the 'good care'8 of their children. This purpose maybe articulated in three research questions: 1) What are some of the attributes that Indigenous peoples and communities identify as necessary for the 'good care' of their children? 2) How do government and community strategies and policies guide the development and implementation of First Nations-specific early childhood programs? 3) How can the development and implementation of Te Kohanga Reo in Aotearoa / New Zealand inform the development and implementation of early childhood programs and services within a framework for change in the Canadian context? 7 For the purposes of this study, early childhood programs in Canada include the First Nations Inuit Child Care Initiative and the Aboriginal Ffead Start Program On Reserve Program, and in New Zealand refers to the Te Kohanga Reo initiative. 8 The term "good care" of children evolved from the community, from parents, Elders and community members. They used this term when asked about the care of their children - "I take good care of my children." Used in this manner the term is broad and holistic encompassing many aspects of children's growth and development including their education. 2 These questions drive this research and are situated within a series of contexts and bodies of existing research and in their distinctiveness are guided by unique theoretical principles and research methodologies. 1.2 Situating Myself as a Researcher As I wrote earlier in the prologue, much of this research has as its starting point concerns about ontology. In my case, this means knowing my own being. My view of reality (ontology) impacts all the decisions I made in undertaking this work, beginning with selecting the subject right through to conducting the research and then to writing the findings. Wilson (2008) writes about ontology, epistemology, axiology and methodology relative to his study of Indigenous research paradigms. In this chapter, I focus on his explanation of ontology and epistemology. Wilson (2008) describes ontology as a process of being in relationship with other things in the world. It is not about knowing the things, but about knowing things by being in relationship with them. Ontology, then, is the act of being in relationship (p. 76). This is the 'being' component of Indigenous ways of knowing and being. The 'knowing' part of Indigenous ways of knowing and being encapsulates the concept of epistemology. In explaining Indigenous epistemology, Wilson (2008) writes that: Indigenous epistemology has systems of knowledge built upon relationships between things rather than on the things themselves.... It is important to recognize that the epistemology includes entire systems of knowledge and relationship. These relationships are with the cosmos around us, as well as with concepts, that form the key of Indigenous epistemology.... Indigenous epistemology is our systems of knowledge in their context or in relationship, (p. 74) 3 I understand the relationship between ontology and epistemology as presented by Wilson best by comparing it with listening to Elders' stories. As a listener, I experienced being in relationship with the storyteller by hearing, feeling and imagining with them. Wilson would call this ontology. The 'knowing' part (or epistemology) came when I made sense of the spoken words and feelings in my mind and my heart - the knowledge is unique to me in this sense and as Wilson explains is derived from the context of relationship. These systems of knowledge (epistemology) and relationship (ontology) are often collectively referred to as: Indigenous knowledge(s), Indigenous knowledge systems, and Indigenous ways of knowing and being or, in some cases, worldview(s). In this dissertation I interchangeably use the terms 'Indigenous knowledge(s)" and "Indigenous ways of knowing and being" and, though less frequently, "Indigenous knowledge systems." I revisit these concepts throughout this dissertation. For now, I turn to my own being. I engage with you, the reader, through a note to my son. NOTES TO AARON I am writing this note to you Aaron, as my eldest son. You have always wanted to know more about your roots, about your family and your history. I am also writing this note to you so that you will understand how I came to be in this place, in this time, doing this work. The journey of writing this dissertation has and continues to strengthen my understanding of myself and the topic I seek to learn about. It is in this relationship of learning that I position myself, by writing these notes to you about my learning. I also hope that readers of this dissertation will gain enough information about who I am so that they may enter into a relationship with me. We may then walk together through these written pages, describing, questioning, wondering and learning about the 'good care' of young Indigenous children. I have not included my whole life history here but have chosen those pieces that I think are most relevant. And even as I write these memories, I am cognizant of always being in relationship as I learned and continue to learn from others, like you Aaron, and the world. This concept of relationships permeates my being so that these stories become important in you knowing and understanding my work. They 4 also illustrate my beliefs about reality- we live in a sea of relationships with each other, with the world and all that is in it. This view of reality then influences me throughout my life, including this study right down to why I chose my research question and what I did to learn about it. I will tell you more about this later. And so I begin. I have lived all of my life in two worlds. I was born of an English mother and an Indian father in the years following World War II. That makes me a person of mixed blood by today's Canadian norm; using yesterday's, I would have been called a half-breed. Colonial legislation, even until present day, prescribes who is an Indian and who is not. This external determination of identity only serves to confuse and frustrate. Understanding this and the importance of identity to the cultural continuity of our people provides me, both personally and professionally, with the motivation to question our being in the world. The early 1950s were times of change for Indian peoples in Canada. Service by Indian men and women in the military had raised awareness in all Canadians of the plight of Indian peoples in Canadian society. Major changes to the Indian Act occurred. Indian people were once again allowed to practice their rites and ceremonies such as the potlatches of the BC peoples and the sun dances of the prairie peoples. They could now go into professions, religious orders and participate in higher education without loss of status. This was the decade of my birth. Some 80 years ago, my father was born in central Alberta in a Hudson's Bay tent pitched alongside the Battle River, a now old and meandering river with centuries of history embedded in its banks. My father's grandfather rode alongside those banks in the late 1850s. My great grandfather found his way into Alberta to what is now known as Edmonton. It was during this time that he changed his name to Greenwood, a direct translation of Boisvert. Northeast of Fort Edmonton, he met and married his first wife, Lettetia. Shortly after they married, his wife sold her status, including that of anydescendents she might have, for 110 dollars at Fort Edmonton. This assimilation strategy was but one put in place by the Canadian colonial government to eradicate the Indian problem. There were two children born to my great grandparents - my grandfather, Oliver, and his sister Claire. Great grandmother died shortly after Claire was born and Francois took the children to her parents. My great grandfather moved on and bought a farm outside of a small rural town in central Alberta. Once again he changed his name - this time to Larose. He married and settled down to farming 5 and raising his children. My grandfather never really associated with his father again, only periodically and only by chance. My grandfather was raised by his grandparents until he was an adult. In those days people traveled around in wagons with all their belongings; this became the way of my grandfather, Oliver Greenwood. And when my grandfather married my Grandmother Caroline from the central Alberta area, they lived similarly, traveling and residing in many different places. In part this was due to seasonal employment - helping farmers plant in the spring and harvest in the fall. My father was the oldest surviving son along with three sisters born to my grandparents. During the school year my father and his sisters went to residential school. The residential schools, a colonial tool for the assimilation of Indian children, have had a lasting and powerful influence over the children's lives who attended these schools and the lives of generations to follow, including mine. I have heard stories of the residential schools from the Elders. I have read about them in books but none has impressed upon me their impact as much as living the effects of them. It was during his years at the residential school that my father learned to speak "good English" and write "proper English." I still recall as a small child sitting at the kitchen table watching him write his name over and over on scraps of paper as if practicing his signature. He also learned he was not as good as other people. It was this internalized oppression that my brothers and I felt the most through his drinking and the family violence we experienced. These were the times that he would speak his language, although he never taught us. My mother's family was second generation English Canadian who farmed in central Alberta. My mother eloped to marry my father. The prevailing attitudes of the time positioned Indians in a negative light, and sadly, many of these attitudes were shared by some of my mother's relatives. My grandmother died when her two daughters were very young, leaving my grandfather to care for them. Grandmother had one sister who lived nearby, but she was busy caring for her own family. By the time my two brothers and I came along, my grandfather was old, with two elderly sisters and their families, and only my grandmother's sister remained from my mother's family. We saw very little of them and virtually not at all after my mother died when I was 16. My childhood years with my mother's family were a series of contradictions and dilemmas: I quickly leaned how to act in different ways depending on who we were with. As I reflect on this now, I have some understanding of the contradictions my father and mother also tried to live with: my 6 Dad trying to be what he was not, leaving all sense of self and connection to his being behind, and my mother bound by the restrictive teachings of her family and the collective to which she belonged. I was born in central Alberta in the land of rolling hills, meadows, and a meandering river, the same one my grandfather was born beside. I lived in a small house with my parents, and an older and younger brother. We were cared for and raised by my paternal grandfather for the first six years of our lives. My mother and father worked outside of our home, employed in menial jobs that allowed us to live just above the poverty line. My grandfather lived one block down the street from us in a two room converted cabin. Outside his home were old single stall stables where dray horses once resided. It was as if these old buildings were remnants of farm properties from days past. New homes and yards closed in on him. I used to imagine all sorts of stories about those buildings with heroes, villains and magical animals. My imaginary friend, Charlie Elson, was always with me. He was a constant in my early years, and then one day he just wasn't there anymore. Memories of my early days were filled with play with my brother and sometimes we would get Grandfather to chase us. He always gave us extra sugar on our cereal; Mom never did that. But most of all, I remember the stories he told us and while he was with us - there was a gentleness that flowed from his being. I felt it in his hands - a soft almost velvet touch that was always shared with love - and in his voice that was low and never loud. It was not until later years that I learned he was a very spiritual man who regularly partook in the ceremonies of our people. It was this spiritual peace and energy that flowed through him in his care of us. I recognized this energy in my friend and teacher, Mary Thomas, who I write about later in this dissertation. As I grew, my days continued to be filled with adventures on the land, freedom to roam in the woods and along the river - to 'discover' flowers and plants that only grew there. These places of my ancestors were the paths along the river that I walked as a child. It is these memories that tie me to the place of my birth, my experiences and those of my ancestors. It was a gift to be able to grow up in the same place as my ancestors; for many children this is not the case. As an adult I have been given the opportunity to reconnect myself with the teachings of my grandfather and father through the teachings of Elders and others. I recall my first visit to a Cree reserve where I was to spend the better part of five years working; I still remember that feeling of 'being home." It was almost like 'deja 7 vu,' a sense of having been there before but not that exact location. The people joked and teased and laughed the way my father and my grandfather had. There was a feeling of caring and belonging. This is where I met Louis, a Cree Elder, with whom I worked developing an early childhood education program for his community and eight other nations comprising the Meadow Lake Tribal Council. I will never forget the first time I met Louis. We were at the first meeting of community members, us academics and the leadership of the tribal council to discuss the development of child care programs for the communities. I did my presentation from a very factual place - I really knew very little. I remember Louis coming to me afterwards and saying, "you must speak about those things you have experienced." I had not spoken from my personal experience but instead from an academic review of the literature about residential schools. That presentation had been so out of place and I will never forget the feeling and awareness of not knowing. Later after the meeting it was my friend Mary Rose, a community member who introduced me to Louis, who told me, "Louis chose to teach you." As my relationship deepened with Louis over the years, he taught me a lot of things; he was my teacher and I was his student. One activity we undertook together was to develop a book of Elders' reflections on their childhood as a way of caring for children in the communities. As we visited with the Elders, he taught me the Cree protocols of being with Elders, of showing them respect. I also learned the importance of meeting face to face with people. We would sometimes travel three hours for a one hour visit. During these drives, Louis would tell me stories of the people and of the land - where families were from and differences between the communities or nations. He taught me how to read the land and about the medicines he gave me. After nearly five years together, I chose to move to a new position and could no longer regularly travel to Meadow Lake. We maintained our relationship over the telephone and through sporadic visits. Later, after my move, I met Elder Mary Thomas whom I was to spend many years learning from. I remember telling Louis about her and him saying, "it is time to move on and to learn from her." He was right. Soon after that he passed away. Even though he is gone, his teachings continue to guide my thinking and my being. Mary Thomas and I taught together for two years on her home reserve in Swecpmec territory. She taught the culture and I taught the academics. We traveled together to and from work, and it was on these drives each day that she told me stories, traditional stories, stories from her mother and grandmother, and stories of 8 her life journey. She took me to the mountains and taught me the names for the plants and the lake in all its variations. It was during these early years together that she asked me to write down her stories so that they would not be lost. She wanted to preserve her teachings - she wanted to leave them for others to learn from. Over the next 12 years I recorded her words. She left before we put the words into a book My years with her taught me a lot, and I hold those teachings in my heart, in my memory and in my being. I have been blessed to have so many teachers in my life. Sometimes I think they were given to me to carry on what my grandfather and father taught me in my childhood. When I think of it now, I have been gathering up beads of learning my whole life. As I gather these teachings, I sew them together with my experiences so that most importantly Aaron, you will know your place and your connection in the world. You will find a beaded drawing that presents in art my thinking about the 'good care' of children. This drawing illustrates a way of seeing, and builds upon the works of Indigenous scholars (including Wilson's work on research relationality and accountability) and upon the voices of community. The drawing depicts the centralityof relationship and beliefs or principles (respect, reciprocity, relevance and responsibility) that maintain and strengthen it. I do not mean to say that these are the only principles that exist. These principles are ones that I have lived, I have read about, and that others use too. These pages tell you about my journey and what I have learned. I look forward to walking with you. Reflecting on my experience reminded me of words such as 'fragmented past', 'shattered past', 'jagged worldviews,' and all those words that convey the idea of disrupted realities; realities disrupted by a colonial history rooted in imperialism. I did not write the history of colonization in the Americas in this dissertation; others such as Frideres (1998), Miller (1991; 1996), and Tobias (1991) have written this. I do, however, explore certain colonial constructs within the next section, the cognitive impact of colonization in Qiapter Two, and colonialism from a policy development perspective in Qiapter Five. The following section begins building the context in which this research sits, a context influenced by and embedded in the colonial experience. 9 1.3 Critical constructs This section presents special constructs that form a part of the foundation upon which this dissertation sits. Understanding this foundation is linked to the comprehension of many ideas and concepts presented in this dissertation. I begin by offering ideas around eight key constructs: worldview, culture, imperialism, colonization, Eurocentrism, diffusionism, universalism, and hegemony. 1.3.1 Worldview An important construct in this dissertation is worldview. Graveline (1998) presents worldview as collective consciousness. She draws upon Merchant (1989), writing that consciousness encompasses one's thoughts, feelings and impressions along with an awareness of one's acts and volitions (p. 18). Graveline argues that "consciousness is both individual and group and is shaped by both environment and culture" (p. 18). Worldview thus encompasses the concepts of epistemology and ontology, of methodology and axiology, and takes into account the experience of individuals within the collective: "... worldviews lend form, direction and continuity to life ... (Graveline, 1998, p. 19). This term is, in some instances, used interchangeably with Indigenous philosophies, Indigenous knowledge(s) or Indigenous knowledge systems. 1.3.2 Culture The second construct presented here is culture. Little Bear (2000) describes culture as "a society's philosophy about the nature of reality [ontology], the values that flow from this philosophy, and the social customs that embody these values" (p. 77). Culture is both individual and collective. As Little Bear explains, an individual may interpret his/her 10 collective cultural code, but their worldview is rooted in the culture of the collective (p. 77). Graveline (1998) argues that cultures exist "in history and are constantly self-creating by the necessity to respond to given conditions" (p. 20). As such, culture is subject to influences of domination and may itself be a tool of resistance (p. 21). 1.3.3 Imperialism and colonization Imperialism and colonization are constructs of interest to colonized peoples around the world. Edward Said (1993) defines imperialism as "the practice, the theory and the attitudes of a dominating metropolitan centre ruling a distant territory, colonialism which is almost always a consequence of imperialism, is the implanting of settlements on distant territory" (p. 9). Smith (1999) writes "imperialism frames the indigenous experience" (p. 19). In this experience lies an underlying assumption that has impacted Indigenous peoples throughout the non-European world, the notion of defining who was human and who was not. Smith (1999) found this idea of defining humanity common to imperial discourses long before Europeans arrived in the Americas. She writes that imperialism: provided the means through which concepts of what counts as human could be applied systematically through forms of classification, for examples through hierarchies and typologies of different societies. In conjunction with imperial power and with science these classification systems came to shape relations between imperial powers and Indigenous societies, (p.25) Since the 19th Century, "processes of dehumanization were often hidden behind justifications for imperialism and colonialism which were clothed within an ideology of humanism and liberalism and the assertion of moral claims which related to a concept of civilized man" (Smith, 1999, p. 26). As a result, colonized people have had to define their humanity. The challenge in doing so is the binary relationship that exists between the colonizer and the colonized, the dualities that underlie and epitomize Eurocentric thought 11 (p. 26). This concept of duality is evidenced in W.E.B. DuBois' (1969) 'double consciousness' where those who are colonized assert their humanity, which is then rejected by those who are the colonizers imposing their own universal norms (p.45). In Ayukpachi: Empowering Aboriginal Thought, Henderson (2000a) writes "to acquire freedom... the colonized must break their silence and struggle to retake possession of their humanity and dignity (p. 249). With the same foundations of historicism and colonization as Smith (1999), Henderson (2000b) maps the British 17th Century construct of the state of nature and its role within the eventual emergence of the artificial construct of colonialism. Henderson uses Thomas Kuhn's science paradigm shifts, and Roberto Unger's social science concept of the natural (a context in which people are allowed to move about freely and discover everything about the world they can) and artificial contexts (a context built upon assumptions that form a picture of what the world is 'really' like) as the lens through which he examines the work of 17th and 18th Century European philosophers, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. According to Henderson, Hobbes' artificial man state, born out of a view of European man as brutish, fearful, and poor, and driven by their desires and passions for things, demanded that individuals surrender their rights to a sovereign in return for safety and protection. Locke, as recorded by Henderson, however, believed all natural rights, that is, the right to life, liberty, and property, including recognition of material supports and comforts, had to be transferred to an artificial man-state in order for there to be civil society. Locke's concept of individual rights, particularly property rights, provided a rationale for the creation of societies and commonwealths whose purpose was, and continues to be, property preservation (Henderson, 2000b). 12 Henderson (2000b) writes that Locke believed the state of nature, that is, man living in his natural state, could be found in the Americas but not in Europe and Asia where they had already progressed into a different age. Despite Locke's belief in the concept of natural rights, he never applied them to the Indigenous peoples of the Americas (Henderson, 2000b). Henderson (2000b) writes that Locke's belief in different ages, coupled with his vision of a political or civil society, as determined by two basic criteria: man's desire and European institutions, was used to justify European settlement of the Americas. It was on this basis, Henderson asserts, that immigrants to the Americas rationalized the development of the self-serving and artificial construct of colonialism. Likewise, Henderson (2000b) claims that by understanding the historical development of this artificial context, "Indigenous peoples can understand how to inspire alternative contexts to end the domination and oppression that are the residues of colonialism" (p.14). 1.3.4 Eurocentrism, diffusionism and universalism Eurocentrism, diffusionism and universalism are colonial constructs deconstructed by Henderson (2000c) and others. Henderson explores the artificial construct of colonialism in Postcolonial Ghost Dancing: Diagnosing European Colonialism by examining "Eurocentrism, the cognitive legacy of colonization" (p. 58). Eurocentrism maybe described as "a cognitive force of artificial European thought, a differentiated consciousness ever changing in its creativity to justify the oppression and domination of contemporary Indigenous peoples and their spiritual guardians" (p. 58). Henderson defines Eurocentrism as "the imaginative and institutional context that informs contemporary scholarship, opinion, and law. ... [I]t postulates the superiority of Europeans and non-Europeans" (p. 21). Graveline (1998), drawing upon Blaut (1993), defines Eurocentrism as "a label for all the beliefs, covert and expressed, that propose and/or reinforce past or present superiority of Europeans over non- 13 Europeans" (p.23). Smith (1999) analyzes this notion of superiority from within the construct of modernity. She contends that: the nexus between cultural ways of knowing, scientific discoveries, economic impulses and imperial power enabled the West to make ideological claims to having a superior civilization. The 'idea' of the West [and its assumption of superiority] became a reality when it was re-presented back to Indigenous nations through colonialism, (p. 64) These descriptions, definitions and discussions of Eurocentrism share a common thread, that being the superiority of Europeans over non-Europeans as a way to justify their continued oppression of non-European peoples. Further examination of Eurocentrism reveals artificial assumptions and attributes that serve to justify and maintain a context of superiority; including the concepts of diffusionism and universalism. Battiste and Henderson's (2000) deconstruction of Eurocentrism reveals two assumptions that underlie the concept of diffusionism, writing that "(1) most human communities are uninventive, and (2) a few human communities (or places or cultures) are inventive and are thus permanent centers of cultural change and progress" (p. 21). This duality of ideas places Europeans in the centre with non-Europeans outside of the centre. Battiste and Henderson (2000) argue that: [it is] from this framework... that diffusionism asserts that European peoples are superior to Indigenous peoples. This superiority is based on some inherent characteristic of the European mind or spirit and because non-European peoples lack this characteristic, they are empty, or partly so, of ideas and proper spiritual values, (p. 21) Battiste and Henderson (2000) apply the concept of diffusionism on a global scale to illustrate the idea of superiority over other nations and cultures that occurred in the name of progress. According to them, Europeans believed that any progress made by non-European peoples is a result of civilized European ideas influencing them. Europeans did not grasp the notion that ideas flow both ways. In other words, non-European cultures were paid for 14 their civilizing ideas with natural resources from the land (Battiste and Henderson, 2000). When one considers Indigenous knowledge(s), the concept of the 'other' (created in part by diffusionism) has no place. Yet, as a colonized people, we experience all the constructs of Eurocentric thought. The implications of Eurocentrism on us are profound, thus our need to contradict, create, maintain, and revive our own ways of being and knowing. In Postcolonial Ghost Dancing, Henderson (2000c) argues that universalism, as an aspiration of domination over others, is simply another aspect of diffusionism. The nature of universalism is to test everything against universal good, thus creating universal truths, virtues, and values (p. 63). This notion of universality may also encompass the concept of singularity where, according to Little Bear (2000), this Eurocentric construct is exemplified by one right way as evidenced by one true God. Likewise, Little Bear asserts this assumption which leads to specialized topics in the academy, the need for specialists in society, and the development of a class structure. Henderson (2000c) explains that universalism can create cultural and cognitive imperialism whereby European ways are held up as the norm, and differences of the dominated are created by the dominator. He claims that it is this binary consciousness that justifies separating Indigenous peoples from their rights to land, their beliefs, their ceremonies, and ultimately, from themselves. Little Bear (2000) terms this notion of separation as fragmentation, a world of fragmented realities exemplifying a Western European value system. 1.3.5 Hegemony The final construct presented in this section is hegemony. Gramsci (1971), an Italian Marxist thinker, developed the theory of hegemony to explain why exploited groups accept the existing social order. He argued that domination was not dependent of the actual machinery 15 of the state, but on a prevalent mode of thought that protects the existing social order by convincing the whole of society that this mode is the norm. A group must achieve both hegemony in civil society and state power in political society, ultimately presenting itself as both civil and political society (p. 263). As a result there is "no hegemony without state power; no state power without hegemony" (Day, 2005, p. 63). A Eurocentric hegemony is particularly evident in the academy. The writings of Indigenous scholars in academe have served as sites of resistance in a variety of disciplines. This has not been without its challenges. As Graveline (1998) writes: to openly acknowledge the hegemony of Eurocentrism as a belief system is controversial. Challenging Western cultural hegemony means acknowledging that for centuries Westerners have studied and spoken 'on behalf of the rest of the world: the reverse has not been the case. (p. 32) Maori scholar, Linda Tuhiwai Smith (1999), advises that in order to understand Indigenous knowledge(s) we need to begin by critiquing Western history for how we are (or are not) included and how we are represented in it. She contends that history is not about truth but about power and justice, and that as long as we are being "othered" (as presented in Said's 1993 work), we do not have the power to change history. Nonetheless, Smith maintains that we must look to "re-righting and re-writing" our position in history so that someday we may realize our own ways of being and knowing (p. 28). Considerable attention has been given by Indigenous scholars to this history, that is, to imperialism and its constituent parts, including concepts of: dehumanization (Smith, 1999), Eurocentrism (Henderson, 2000c), diffusionism, and universalism (Battiste & Henderson, 2000; Little Bear, 2000), and linear views of time and space (Little Bear, 2000; Smith, 1999). Some Indigenous scholars examine the concept of cognitive assimilation. Little Bear (2000) contends that Indigenous scholars have acquired skills and training in academies that 16 serve to perpetuate Eurocentric thought. Once Indigenous peoples have internalized this knowledge and it becomes part of their being, there is no need for the typical Eurocentric external controls (Little Bear, 2000); assimilation is complete. The generational impact of residential schools attests to such cognitive assimilation (Haig-Brown, 1991). In a related argument concerning cognitive assimilation, Smith (1999) writes of the process that Indigenous scholars must engage in order to participate in the academy. She draws upon the work of Franz Fanon (1963) to highlight two significant concerns: one addresses those "native intellectuals [who] may have become estranged from their own cultural values to the point of being embarrassed by, and hostile towards, all that those values represented" (p. 70). The second concern brings to attention those Indigenous intellectuals who have been named by the "dominant non-indigenous population as individuals who represent 'real' leadership . . . they are idealized as 'saviours of the people'" (p. 70). Smith explains that: [There are] three levels through which 'native' intellectuals can progress in their journey 'back over the line'. First there is a phase of proving that intellectuals have been assimilated into the culture of the occupying power. Second comes a period of disturbance and the need for the intellectuals to remember who they actually are, a time for remembering the past. In the third phase the intellectuals seek to awaken the people, to realign themselves with the people and to produce a revolutionary and national literature, (p. 70) Based on decades of experience with research and graduate training, Bonnie Duran and Eduardo Duran (2000) claim "the study of colonized people must take on a 'lactification' or whitening in order for the knowledge to be palatable to the academy" (p. 86). They argue that "the consequences of such cross-cultural production of knowledge have been ongoing epistemic colonialism within the discipline of psychology" (p. 86). The probability of this being any different for other disciplines seems unlikely. This whitening of Indigenous knowledge(s) by the academy forces one to question the wisdom of bringing 17 Indigenous knowledge(s) into the academy. There is a need to teach others about Indigenous knowledge(s) so that they too can understand who we are and may act as allies in our struggle for self-determination and self-sufficiency. Yet, when one considers our history and current day realities, it is scarcely a wonder that there is skepticism of the academy and its ability to act ethically and with integrity when it comes to the knowledge(s) of non-European peoples. In her discussion of academic writing, Smith (1999) poses questions that are used by communities in a variety of ways in areas such as policymaking, curriculum development, and research. These questions include: who is writing?, for whom is the writing?, and in what circumstances is this writing taking place? (p. 37). From my place as an Indigenous scholar, there are many times when I have to defend my existence using the tools of the academy. This writing also depends on for whom and what I am writing. This ability to participate in the world of the academy (without loosing your self) and in the community is, I believe, an important skill, and one that takes time and reflexivity to achieve to greater or lesser degrees. Questions of identity and authenticity are also ones that find their way into these discussions primarily because of our forced need to assert or defend our existence. In doing so, it is easy to fall into a trap of essentialism, reducing existence to essential elements. There are also times when it is strategic to identify specific elements common to the collective, particularly in political arenas. Smith's (1999) discussion of essentialism is particularly helpful in this instance. She explains that: The concept of essentialism is ... discussed in different ways with the indigenous world. It is accepted as a term that is related to humanism and is seen therefore in the same way as the idea of authenticity. In this use of the word, claiming essential characteristics is as much strategic as anything else, because it has been about claiming human rights and indigenous rights. But the essence of a person is also discussed in relation to indigenous concepts of spirituality. In these views, the essence of a person has a genealogy [that] can be traced back to an earth parent, usually glossed as an Earth Mother. A 18 human person does not stand alone, but shares with other animate and, in the Western sense, 'inanimate' beings, a relationship based on a shared 'essence' of life. The significance of place, of land, of landscape, of other things in the universe, in defining the very essence of a people, makes for a very different rendering of the term essentialism as used by indigenous peoples (p. 74). Smith (1999) argues that Indigenous worldviews based on spirituality are difficult for Western systems to accept. Spirituality "is one of the few parts of ourselves [that] the West cannot decipher, cannot understand and cannot control... yet" (p. 74). Acceptance of alternative knowledge (s) paves the way for breaking down colonizing power structures that serve to maintain one group's power over another. Part of the challenge for Indigenous peoples is to look within to see the impact of colonization on their distinct ways of knowing and being so that the causes of fragmentation and dissonance are not unwittingly perpetuated. Overcoming these colonial influences is challenging with answers and solutions found not in government programs or outside of the collective but from within ourselves, in our ways of knowing and being. This study is one doorway through which to articulate Indigenous ways for our children and resist Eurocentric thought, and in doing so position it within resistance and transformation discourse. 1.4 A glimpse of the social, political and health contexts of early childhood education It is impossible to understand any contemporary Indigenous issue without acknowledging the impact of colonization on all aspects of our lives; this is no less true of First Nations early childhood programs and services and practices. It is generally argued that, as a result of colonization, Indigenous peoples were stripped of power and authority over even the basic necessities of life. Policies and laws developed by European colonizers drove the cultural assimilation process just as it continues to drive present day Indian policy, including policies 19 concerning early childhood programs and services for young First Nations children (Greenwood & Shawana, 2002). Current Aboriginal and First Nations-specific demographics in Canada testify to the impact of colonization and suggest the current social and economic context of Aboriginal early childhood care and education, for example, First Nations people (North American Indians) have unemployment rates more than double that of non- Aboriginal Canadians at rates of 18% and 6.3% respectively (2006, Census Canada). In British Columbia, First Nations People (North American Indians) show higher incidences of unemployment at 18% when compared with British Columbia's overall average unemployment rate of 6.0% (Government of Canada, 2008). Similar disparities are found with respect to average incomes and education rates. In 2005, the non-Aboriginal population had an average income of $35934 compared to $23935 for Aboriginal people (Government of Canada, 2008). Furthermore, almost one half (43.67%) of the Aboriginal population in Canada have less than high school graduation compared to 23.10% for non-Aboriginal peoples (Government of Canada, 2008). This difference is likewise mirrored in British Columbia with 38.99% of Aboriginal peoples and 19.06% of non-Aboriginal British Columbians having less than grade 12 (Government of Canada, 2008). Only 4.12% of Aboriginal peoples have a Bachelor's Degree while 11.9% of non-Aboriginal Canadians have a Bachelor's degree (2006, Census Canada). Aboriginal peoples in British Columbia are below the national Aboriginal rate for Bachelor's degrees at 3.62% while non-Aboriginal British Columbians are above the national rate at 12.61% (Government of Canada, 2008). This disparity in educational attainment means the skill levels of the jobs that are available to Aboriginal peoples, including First Nations peoples residing on reserve in British Columbia and across Canada, are considerably lower than those available to non-Aboriginal people. 20 Beyond British Columbia, national statistics illustrating Aboriginal incarceration rates and care of children by the state paint an equally inequitable picture for Aboriginal peoples, particularly North American Indians, when compared to the non-Aboriginal population. While Aboriginal people make up only 4% percent of the overall Canadian population, they account for 18.5 percent of the federal prison population (Government of Canada, 2008). According to Statistics Canada 2006 data, while the overall incarceration rate for non- Aboriginal people is 117 per 100,000 adults, the overall incarceration rate for Aboriginal people in Canada is estimated to be 1,024 per 100,000 — or almost 9 times higher for Aboriginal persons (Government of Canada, 2006). Since the 1960s the number of Aboriginal children in care of child welfare authorities has increased over the decades until today when "less than 5% of children in Canada are Aboriginal, yet Aboriginal children comprise approximately 40% of the total number of children in care" (Trocme, et.al. 2004, p. 3). Along with these social statistics are health statistics that likewise evidence gaps between Aboriginal peoples in British Columbia compared to non-Aboriginal peoples. For example, Status Indians are more likely to die before age 75 from any cause compared to other BC residents. However the differences are particularly marred for what are call external causes of death, i.e. motor vehicle accidents, accidental poisonings, suicides, homicides, as well as causes of heart disease, cirrhosis and HIV disease.... These gaps are also evident in number of teenage mothers with Status Indian teen mothers at 16.3% compared to 2.4% of other BC residents (Office of the Provincial Health Officer, 2007, pp. 8-9). 1.5 An introduction to Aboriginal early childhood programs An equally important context for this research is present day realities, particularly the development of Aboriginal-specific early childhood programs and services in Canada. Formalized early childhood programs offered to young First Nations, Inuit and Metis 21 children in Canada maybe considered places of revitalization and transformation. Although not implemented with this intent in mind, these programs, just a decade old, are an impetus for reflection and discussion, for imagining and articulating the care and education of First Nations children. In examining the development of these programs and services, First Nations' children cannot be extricated from their place as Indigenous people in Canada's colonial and colonizing history, nor can they be disentangled from the current socio- economic indicators which dictate the everyday realities of First Nations peoples in this country. These contexts are elaborated on in Chapter Five of this dissertation. The following paragraphs begin that discussion. The mid-1990s in Canada saw the development of formalized early childhood programs specifically for Aboriginal children through two key federal government programs: the First Nations Inuit Child Care Initiative and the Aboriginal Flead Start Program. These programs were developed in a context of national and international political pressures; dismal demographics pertaining to Aboriginal health, social, education and economic factors; and an obvious historic and contemporary inequity of programs and services between Aboriginal peoples and Canadian society. In 1994, the then Minister of Human Resources Development Canada, Lloyd Axworthy, announced as part of his broader employment strategy the development of the First Nations Inuit Child Care Initiative designed to provide formalized child care services for children aged 0-6 years residing on reserve whose parents were either employed or furthering their education. The following year, the Aboriginal Head Start Urban and Northern Program, an early intervention program designed to meet the needs of at-risk children, was announced for children aged 0-6 residing in large, urban and northern communities. This program was expanded in 1998 to children and families residing on reserve. 22 The scope of these programs is of interest given the limitations it places on actual implementation. For example, the First Nations Inuit Quid Care Initiative is targeted to families with parents that are either working or enrolled in education programs, while children in need of intervention are targeted in the Head Start Program. This scope and subsequent limitations are often based on perceptions of deficit derived from comparisons with non-Aboriginal children who have different cultural, historical and economic contexts or are designed to parallel those of Canadian society. For example, these differences are particularly evident in social determinants discourse (WHO, 2008; Assembly of First Nations, 2006). Unfortunately, these comparisons are often used to demonstrate need and are positioned as a deficit. The subsequent perceptions that arise mask the unique strengths of communities and in some cases are equated to individual inadequacy. With the announcement of the National Children's Agenda (1997) and the subsequent federal/provincial/territorial Early Childhood Development Agreements (2000), considerably more attention has been given to formalized early childhood programs and services for young children and, in particular, Aboriginal children. However, it is important to note that Aboriginal peoples have never independently developed programs or services specifically for Aboriginal children; rather all initiatives have been a part of, or carved out of, a larger political agenda and strategy. Early childhood programs and services (that is, the First Nations Inuit Child Care Program and the Aboriginal Head Start Program) for First Nations children residing on reserve in Canada are funded by the federal government, adhere to common principles and components, are evaluated on these principles and components, and in the majority of cases comply to provincial child care standards and regulations. These programs, for the most part, are not owned or controlled by Aboriginal people, nor do the programs themselves 23 balance Indigenous knowledge(s), culture, and language with that of Canadian society. Overall, much more emphasis is placed on achieving goals and objectives derived from outside the Aboriginal community and outside of an Indigenous worldview. I participated in the development of these programs and services and it is about this experience that I write in Chapter Five. NOTES TO AARON I am writing you this second note so that you can appreciate how I came to be involved in the development and implementation of Aboriginal early childhood programs and services. It was during my time with Louis and Mary that I furthered my education and kept working. I met Louis while I was doing my Master's degree at the University of Victoria. My Master's research focused on early childhood as well. It was a quantitative study that looked at parental preferences in child care services. As I think back now, I realize that my focus has not really changed but has deepened as I have learned over my lifetime. It was also while I was undertaking my degree that I was invited to work with Alan Pence, my MA supervisor, on the development and implementation of an Indian child care program with the Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTQ located in northwestern Saskatchewan. There were (and still are as far as I know) nine First Nations who comprise the Tribal Council - four Dene nations and five Cree. This is where I met Louis. I was to undertake a review of the literature that focused on programs and practices in early childhood for First Nation peoples, including effective teaching strategies for Indigenous adult learners. I struggled with this. It was difficult to find information pertaining to Indigenous-specific early childhood programs and practices. We worked with the community as we struggled to develop principles that would guide us on the path we were taking together. One challenge we faced at the university, as the developers of the curriculum for an early childhood program for the people of MLTQ was how to engage the knowledge in the community with the knowledge of mainstream early childhood philosophy and practice. This question became the genesis for what is now called the 'generative curriculum' model where information is generated from the students and the teacher together. This response was generated out of a recognition and respect for the 24 knowledge(s) of the people and from a desire to ensure that those knowledge(s) were incorporated into the teaching of the students. Community Elders and resource people were thus engaged as co-instructors of the classes. As I reflect back on this experience, with the learning I have now, I would ask whether or not the knowledge(s) we sought to teach were equally valued or attended to? Was the content and ways in which the courses were delivered relevant to the students and ultimately to the children? Did this total experience support community aspirations for self determination? Only the community could respond to these questions. With my Master's degree completed, I moved to Vernon, British Columbia and began teaching at the local community college in the early childhood department on a one year contract. Upon completion of the contract the following year, I secured a second one year contract, this time teaching adult basic education with Mary Thomas in a one room log cabin on Neskonlith # 3 Reserve just outside of the town of Salmon Arm, British Columbia. The rest you know. What is important about this time, and continues to be important in my life, are the teachings given to me by Louis and Mary and my experiences in the communities, including my involvement in the development of the Aboriginal Head Start Program Urban and Northern Program, Aboriginal Head Start Program and the First Nations Inuit Child Care Initiative. I learned many lessons participating in these developmental activities. I was invited to participate on national 'expert' advisory committees for these programs with the purpose of providing advice concerning the development of program frameworks and implementation strategies. These activities caused me to reflect upon my actions and the responsibility I carried sitting at those tables. I tell you more about this in Chapter Five. 1.6 Rationale It was during a time when community members had gathered together in the development of the First Nations Inuit Child Care Initiative that an Elder asked me, "Are you sure we are not establishing residential schools in the hearts of our communities for children younger than I was when I first went to those schools?" I felt the weight of responsibility, a responsibility to the people and to myself to ensure that I did not contribute to an initiative 25 that would in any way repeat the devastation of the past. More than a decade and a half later, I continue to reflect upon the Elder's question. I reflect on the development and establishment of early childhood programs designed to serve First Nations children in Canada. I have also come to believe that in order stave off assimilation and resist continued colonization, Indigenous peoples must be self determining over their lives and the lives of their children. This dissertation is in part that reflection and in part commitment to continued resistance. As I wrote earlier in this chapter, I reflect upon the role of federal government processes and policies and their impact on the care and education of young children in First Nations communities. Despite overarching program principles that articulate local service control, government policies and processes continue to play a significant role in the actual development, implementation, evaluation, and funding of local programs. As a result, First Nations communities have limited and restricted decision- making power in the development and implementation of early childhood programs for their children. One strategy to addressing this reality is to look to other Indigenous groups - as we strive for First Nations-specific early childhood programs in Canada. The Maori Kohanga Reo (language nests) movement offers such a place. Te Kohanga Reo began with the people and is implemented by the people with structures and curricula that reflect their own ways of knowing and being, their own communities, and their own languages and cultures. The impetus for formalizing the teaching of the language to the children was to abate the decline of Maori language and culture. In doing so, Maori peoples strategically positioned themselves for realizing ownership over the education of their children. There is much to be learned from the Maori experience that may be applicable and support the growth and development of early childhood programs for Aboriginal children residing in Canada. However, one must take into account obvious geographic, historical, and 26 cultural differences. These distinct experiences of Maori and Aboriginal peoples are conceptualized as sources of learning in this study. Structural elements of programs and services, including philosophical underpinnings, are examined. It is this place of philosophy where commonalities amongst Indigenous people exist and offer opportunities to examine actualization in diverse cultures and locales. 1.7 Theoretical approach The theoretical principles underpinning this study are anchored in Indigenous knowledge (s) and as such serve to position the research within a discourse of resistance. Indigenous scholars have been arguing for the centrality of Indigenous ways of knowing and being and are adamant in not opting for post colonial theories (Pihama, 2005; Smith, 1999; Wilson, 2008). Maori scholar, Leonie Pihama (2005) argues that Maori people have engaged in multiple forms of intervention and resistance as part of a wider struggle against colonialism, and that Kaupapa Maori9 is a source of culturally defined theoretical spaces for explaining Maori experiences. For example, on a recent trip to Saskatchewan I was reintroduced to the teachings of the tipi put forth by Cree Elders. These teachings represent the hundreds of years of understanding and experience both from the metaphysical as well as the physical worlds. These teachings maybe conceptualized as principles, as beliefs, and as values. The principles are physically represented by the poles, the ties, and the pins of the tipi. They are the framework upon which the shelter is built. The principles of the tipi include obedience, respect, humility, happiness, love, faith, kinship, cleanliness, thankfulness, sharing, strength, 9 In her arguments Pihama begins with a quote from Tukana Mate Nepe, "E hao new I tenei reanga: Te Toi Huarewa Tupuna" an unpublished MA thesis, University of Auckland: Maori society has its own distinctive knowledge base. This knowledge base has its origins in the metaphysical realm and emanates as a Kaupapa Maori, a "body of knowledge" accumulated by experiences through history of the Maori people. This Kaupapa Maori knowledge is the systematic organization of beliefs, experiences, understandings and interpretations of the interactions of Maori people upon Maori people and Maori people upon their world. 27 good child rearing, hope, protection, and honor. At the heart, then, of Indigenous research is Indigenous ways of knowing and being in the world. These Indigenous principles which reflect Indigenous ways of knowing and being maybe seen to underpin Indigenous theories and methodologies. Indigenous ways, then, become sites of resistance through their articulation and application to different spheres of our world. There are however cautions that go along with this articulation. Michelle Pidgeon (2008) cautions us to be aware of power differentials between the marginalized that push against the hegemonic norm. Often times Indigenous knowledge(s) are viewed as anti-theoretical and further marginalized. The very act of writing maintains a style of those in power, while caution must also be taken when knowledge(s) themselves are in venues that may allow for misappropriation and misinterpretation. The theoretical principles of this study are drawn from Cree ways of knowing and being, principles first proposed as a coherent interrelated set of principles by Cree scholar Vema Kirkness and RayBarnhardt (1991). They are: respect, relevance, reciprocity and responsibility (the 4Rs). I discuss these principles in Chapter Two. In that chapter I also provide an illustration meant as a visual aid to understanding the way in which I organized the principles and how understanding them explains 'what I did' and 'how I did it'. 1.8 Research approach Research paradigms are also sites of resistance to colonial hegemony. I borrow from the work of Shawn Wilson's (2008) Indigenous Research Paradigm work for articulating the methodology and methods employed in this research study. This paradigm, along with those of others, focuses on Indigenous peoples and places their ontologies and epistemologies at the heart of the paradigms. Specifically, Wilson maintains that Indigenous paradigms are 28 underpinned by a specific set of beliefs or assumptions that serve to guide a researcher's actions. He argues that these sets of beliefs are interrelated concepts of ontology, epistemology, axiology, and methodology. In this section I am most concerned with Wilson's concept of methodology which he presents as the question: "How do I find out more about this reality?" (p. 34). Wilson (2008) argues that methodology is based on the ontological and epistemological assumptions of a research study and serves to guide the research. In this research project, the four Rs of Indigenous knowing are the theoretical principles underpinning the method and methodology. The methodology identifies the goal of the research while how that goal is achieved is left to what Wilson (2008) refers to as strategies of inquiry. These strategies direct the implementation of the study methods. Wilson argues that "as long as the methods fit the ontology, epistemology and axiology of the Indigenous paradigm [or approach], they can be borrowed from other suitable research paradigms" (p. 39). Yet he is adamant that dominant paradigms of research must be left behind in favor of Indigenous paradigms; in other words, the philosophical base of Indigenous paradigms must not be compromised. In this research I employ a descriptive case study as a strategy that can "accommodate a variety of disciplinary perspectives, as well as philosophical perspectives on the nature of research itself" (Merriam, 1988, p. 2). Merriam, like Wilson, also warns against developing conclusions derived from different research paradigms. Stake (2000) maintains that case studies also offer stylistic options (such as writing the report as a story) that allow readers to formulate generalizations, including interactions of the researcher along with significant descriptions of contexts. Ultimately, case studies are "both a process of inquiry and the product of that inquiry" (Stake, 2000, p. 436). 29 This study examines two cases, from a philosophical and structural perspective. The study does not contrast specific program implementation strategies and activities; each case has a unique context from which flow their implementation strategies. I also undertook two case studies for the purpose of learning from each in order to lay the ground work for change to occur in the development of early childhood programs and services for young First Nations children in Canada. One case study focuses on two Carrier First Nations in northern British Columbia, Canada and another focuses on two Tuhoe Maori Kohanga Reo sites located on the North Island of Aotearoa / New Zealand. I used multiple sources of data and qualitative methods of data collection consistent with the values inherent in Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Data collection methods included individual interviews, focus groups, and document and audio-visual reviews. Community mentors/guides directed me through appropriate protocols and community ethics processes. A primary source of data was through 'visiting' with key informants and focus groups conducted in two Carrier and two Tuhoe Maori settings. These interviews and discussions were conducted in the presence of community advisors. In-depth key informant interviews and focus groups were conducted in two Carrier communities within the BC region of Canada. In Aotearoa / New Zealand, key informant interviews and focus groups were also undertaken in two Tuhoe Maori settings. In addition to these data collection methods, relevant documents (including narratives and policies) were also used as a source of data. Locating relevant documents and analyzing them were likewise important considerations in employing this strategy of data collection. Thematic, policy and narrative analyses of primary and secondary data provide the foundation for this analysis and interpretation, and ultimately in the presentation of the results. Taken together, these primary and secondary sources of data allow a close up examination and analysis of the 30 intricate phenomenon underlying early childhood programs for Indigenous children. 1.9 Contributions of this research This research has the potential to make several contributions to the future of Aboriginal children in Canada. First, it maybe used to inform the future design of First Nations specific early childhood programs and services for young First Nations children. Secondly, this study contributes to the limited body of Indigenous specific research literature focused on young First Nations children available in Canada. Third, this dissertation may inform specific policies and practices affecting Aboriginal children's lives and the lives of their families. Fourth and most importantly, this dissertation will provide Aboriginal communities with a base upon which to build, change, and adapt as they engage in formalizing the care and education of their children. In this way, the dissertation becomes a living legacy for community- it is a documentation of their words and mine. 1.10 Sequence of this dissertation I began this dissertation with a prologue intended to explain to you, the reader, how to read this dissertation. My intent is to assist you with its readability and ultimately your understanding. An opening story follows to position the dissertation in the personal as well as academic context. From here the dissertation is organized into eight chapters. Chapter One, "I Begin ..." introduces the contents of this dissertation, positions myself as a researcher, and begins situating the research in multiple contexts. The chapter introduces the overarching questions and offers critical constructs along with a glimpse of current day realities as expressed in the development of Aboriginal early childhood programs and services as context in which this work is situated. This background context leads to the 31 rationale for this study. The remaining parts of this chapter introduce the theoretical and methodological approaches used in this study concluding by identifying potential contributions of this research. Chapter Two, "A Discussion of Theory," focuses on Indigenous knowledge(s) as sources of principles and theories. I explore the nature of Indigenous knowledge(s) as a source of principles relative to theory knowing that Indigenous ways of knowing and being have, for the majority of Indigenous people around the world, been impacted by imperialism and colonization. This impact has led to resistance discourse, including theory, within which this dissertation sits. From this context, I highlight the key principles that guide this study. Chapter Three, "Passing on Indigenous Knowledge(s)," explores ways in which children are conceptualized and how Indigenous knowledge(s) are passed on from generation to generation to children. This transmission is done through language, stories and storytelling, ceremonies, symbols, revelation, and empirical knowledge. Chapter Four, "Methodology," presents the methodology that guided this study. In this chapter I consider the methods and methodology of this project. Specifically, I situate the research within an Indigenous research paradigm characterized by beliefs and values derived from Indigenous ways of knowing and being. I follow this with a discussion of a case study approach and why it was the most appropriate strategy for learning about the 'good care' of children. Cultural protocols and qualitative methods congruent with the theoretical principles introduced in Chapter Two are identified and discussed. Chapter Five, "Setting the Context," offers a contextual backdrop to the emergence of First Nations-specific early childhood programs and services. The chapter draws upon the writings of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal scholars and policy analysts, statistical information garnered from both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal sources, and mainstream 32 research on the quality care of children for those aspects and activities of social policy and subsequent program development that impact Aboriginal peoples. Together, the sections of this chapter provide a glimpse of the policy and program context in which this study is located. Chapters Six, "Pathways to Learning: First Nations of British Columbia" and Chapter Seven, "Pathways to Learning: Tuhoe of Aotearoa / New Zealand," are the specific case studies. In the Canadian case study, the two communities are discussed separately because of their unique contexts and early childhood programs. In the Aotearoa / New Zealand case study, the two communities are discussed together because both are engaged in the implementation of the same early childhood program - Te Kohanga Reo. The discussions focus on broad structural and philosophical aspects within which reside concrete lived experiences. The chapters are designed so that there is enough background for the reader to read them independently from the rest of the dissertation. In this regard, the cases may appear redundant with the other dissertation chapters. Chapter Eight, "Learnings and Teachings" is a reflection on what I learned from undertaking this study both personally and professionally. The chapter provides responses to some of the fundamental questions posed in this dissertation, starting with "What is the 'good care' of First Nations children?" and proceeding to dream the actualization of first Nations-specific early childhood programs and services in the future. Specific considerations for actualization are presented. A final visit to the theoretical framework upon which this study is situated concludes the chapter. 33 CHAPTER Two A Discussion of Theory Mary's Story On a warm spring day, I went to the mountain with Mary. Mary Thomas, an Elder of the Secwepemc (Shuswap) Nation, was a friend, a teacher, and a grandmother to me. On our journey to the mountain, we drove through town, turned off the highway, and finally followed a small paved road that faced the mountain. At the base of the mountain, the road curved and began to climb. As we passed beautiful dwellings nestled in the trees, Mary described the way the mountain once looked with no human dwellings, only the homes of plants and animals. The road wound upwards until Mary and I were past the dwellings and the road had turned into little more than a dirt trail. Finally, we came round a bend and the road widened so we could pull the car over. We stopped and got out. We walked to the edge of the road and stood gazing for miles over the valley and the lake. An eagle soared above our heads and we stood in peace and solitude. In her quiet voice, Mary recalled the way it once was, with only the trees and the lake and the little trails that wound their way up the mountain. She had walked these trails with her grandmother as a child over 80 years before. She told me about the forest fire that had been across the valley, and she pointed out the charred remains of what was once a magnificent forest. After a time, Mary stopped talking and we simply stood silently beside each other, together. I had come to her with a troubled heart and many questions. I did not ask them. I just stood with her. I could feel her energy envelope me and I felt safe and peaceful. I felt the tears run down my face and still we stood saying no words, drinking in the beauty of the valley and knowing this was our home, our roots of being born of the land. It touched the very essence of my soul. I do not know how long we stood, but time passed away. At one point Mary turned to me and said, "My grandmother told me, don't be afraid to cry; it means you are in touch with the land, and it with you." I felt small and humbled, yet a part of it all, and the tears flowed down my face. I felt Mary's energy and in it a sadness, a longing for what was. How hard it must be for her to stand and look over a valley now cut and ravaged, and to know that it will never again be as she once knew it. 34 We got back into our car and inched our way up the mountain until we came to a place where the trail once again widened. We stopped and walked. Mary pointed out different plants and their purposes. We came upon a spot littered with pine cone pieces. Mary walked over to the spot and said, "See these scattered pine cone pieces; if you look carefully you will find a pile of pieces nearby. Underneath the pile will be a cache of pine cones belonging to a squirrel. The little cones will all be arranged in rows with the tops pointed downward." As she spoke she cupped one small hand, and with the other, indicated how the cones pointed downward. "This is what my grandmother taught me. When I was a little girl, I asked my grandmother why the cones were all pointed downward. 'Because,' she told me, 'when the winter snows begin to melt, and water drips into the cache, it will run downward off the cones and not wreck the nutmeats inside them.' I asked, 'How do the little squirrels know to do that?' Granny said, 'They learn like we do and then they pass their knowledge on to us.'" I was humbled for the second time that day; I was humbled by Mary's story, by the magnitude of all that was around me, and by my being within it. The peace and connectedness I felt that day on the mountain is a peace and connectedness I continue to feel. I know that it is a part of me and I am a part of it. I had heard the old people say, "we don't own the land, we are a part of it." On that day, on a mountain with Mary, I once again knew what that meant. Mary's energy flowed from the land and her being within it. It enveloped me and it helped me to feel and know things I do not see in my daily life. She reminded me of where I come from and of who I am. She spoke of the importance of my learning, of what this dissertation is ultimately about. She said to me, "You must learn so you can teach when I am gone. Like the little squirrels preserve the nutmeats in their pine cones, you must preserve the knowledge I give you." In this chapter, I examine Indigenous knowledge(s) as sources of principles and theories. The most essential proposition that I make is that theory is synonymous with principles, and that these principles serve to guide our understanding about how knowledge is created and ultimately, how I created the knowledge that forms this research. Within this study, principles have reflected the Indigenous ontology and epistemology, served as a theoretical 35 approach, guided the methodology, and framed the findings. I begin by exploring the nature of Indigenous knowledge(s) as the source of these principles. I then move to examining theory, identifying what it is and why it is important. Indigenous ways of knowing and being have, for the majority of Indigenous people around the world, been impacted by imperialism and colonization. This impact has led to resistance discourse, within which this dissertation sits. From this place of knowing and being, I highlight the key principles that guide this study. 2.1 Introduction Blackfoot Elder and philosopher, Leroy Little Bear (2000) states that there are multiple ways of interpreting the world and that these interpretations are manifest in diverse cultures (p. 77). The notion of a single worldview or social order, as proposed by colonialism, while recognizing other worldviews at the same time assumes that those worldviews are inferior to the worldviews of the colonizers. These worldviews are manifest in culture. Little Bear defines culture as: a society's philosophy about the nature of reality, the values that flow from this philosophy and the social customs that embody those values. Any individual within a culture is going to have his or her own personal interpretation of the collective cultural code; however the individual's worldview has its roots in the culture that is in the society's shared philosophy, values and customs, (p. 77) Little Bear positions individuals within the cultural collective, and collectives within broader worldviews, as he compares Aboriginal worldviews with Eurocentric worldviews. He gives us a starting point from which to understand the impacts of colonialism on our daily lives; for example, colonialism plays out at the individual level where the effect of colonial assimilation strategies, such as residential schools, is felt. These disrupted the lives of 36 children and families, resulting in long-term economic challenges, loss of language and cultural ways, cognitive dissonance and profound marginalization. This disruption weakens, and in some cases, severs the connection between the individual and the collective, and ultimately their cultural identity. Maintenance of this connection is an important consideration for the care and education of young children, particularly for Indigenous children whose knowledge(s) are often systematically marginalized and pushed to the shadows by Eurocentric hegemony, especially in the academy. Like Little Bear, other Indigenous scholars have argued the fact that colonization exists and has impacted the lives of children and families. Indigenous scholars and theorists entering into resistance discourse have as their fundamental goal, an argument for space within the academy. These arguments are foundational to this study, especially in light of the fact that there is a dearth of Indigenous scholarly literature focused on the care and education of young Indigenous children in Canada. The following pages position this study within this resistance discourse by drawing primarily on North American Indigenous scholars whose writings focus on Indigenous knowledge(s). This literature reveals two vantage points from which these authors write. First, there is a focus on the essences of Indigenous knowledge(s) prior to colonization. Its authority, as knowledge, is drawn from this time and place that is, from tens of thousands of years of knowledge and experience, and as such, is subjective. In her discussion of ontology and being, Maori scholar Makere Stewart-Harawira (2005) reminds us that it is this subjectivity, in a philosophical sense that is most contested (p. 33). The second vantage point concerns understanding colonization, what it has meant in the past, and its continued impact on the present and future of Indigenous peoples (Smith, 1999). Understanding colonization has led Indigenous scholars to articulate their own Indigenous theories, research methods and practices. Scholars are "re-writing" and 37 "re-righting" their history (Smith, 1999, p. 28) and "writing-back" and "teaching-back" (Battiste, 2002) to education research and practice. For example, Cree scholar, Shawn Wilson (2008) focuses on the development of an Indigenous Research Paradigm, while Storlo scholar, Jo-ann Archibald (2008), brings storytelling into educational contexts. At its base, this resistance discourse draws upon Indigenous knowledge(s) prior to colonization and exerts it as the foundation from which Indigenous theory, methods and practices are derived. Indigenous scholar, Michelle Pidgeon (2008) argues: Indigenous scholars have been articulating Indigenous theory through the centering of Indigenous knowledges within their practices as scholars, researchers and mentors.... The centering of Indigenous knowledges within their research, theory, and practice has developed an Indigenous theory that is grounded in Indigenous epistemology, ontology and axiology. (p. 19) Cree scholar and philosopher, Willie Ermine (1995) maintains that, "Aboriginal people have the responsibility and the birthright to take and develop an epistemology congruent with holism and the beneficial transformation of total human knowledge. The way to this is through our own Aboriginal sources" (p. 103). Learning from the works of other Indigenous scholars and my own experience, this study, with its emphasis on the 'good care' of children, including the transmission of Indigenous knowledge(s) through our children, is positioned within this resistance discourse. The care and education of young Indigenous children, then, becomes a site of resistance. 2.2 The nature of Indigenous knowledge(s) and relational ontolog(ies) This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. Chief Seattle (1854) (Bristow, 2002, http://www.webcom.com/duane/seattle.html) 38 Positioning this study as a site of resistance presupposes Indigenous knowledge(s) as the foundation of that resistance. This positioning also suggests that tools such as theory, methodologies and practices are derived and guided by those knowledge(s). In this section I explore the nature of Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing. I identify basic principles of Indigenous epistemologies and ontologies. Although identification of shared principles maybe viewed as essentialist, it may also be argued that these principles, comprised of beliefs and values, are distinctly Indigenous. Most Indigenous scholars are in agreement that the idea of 'relationship' is central to Indigenous knowledge(s) (Archibald, 2008; Battiste & Henderson, 2000; Cajete, 1999; Castellano, 2000; Cohen, 2001; Ermine, 1995; Graveline, 1998; Holmes, 2000; Kawagley, 1995; Little Bear, 2000; Williamson, 2000; Wilson, 2008) and that this idea is geographically and contextually expressed. Indigenous knowledge(s) then, are as diverse as the cultures in which they are rooted. Ermine (1995) writes that "those who seek to understand the reality of existence and harmony with the environment by looking inward have a different incorporeal knowledge paradigm" (p. 103) from those that seek to examine the physical world objectively. He terms this way of knowing "Aboriginal epistemology", stating that it "is grounded in the self, the spirit, and the unknown", (p. 108) and is explored through introspection and self- actualization. Aboriginal holy people and philosophers relied on processes of self- actualization to come to understandings of the universe grounded in the spirit and of wholeness that extends both inwardly and outwardly. Their fundamental insight was that all existence was connected and that the whole enmeshed the being in its inclusiveness. In the Aboriginal mind, therefore, an immanence is present that gives meaning to existence and forms the starting point of Aboriginal epistemology. It is a mysterious force that connects the totality of existence— the forms, energies, or concepts that constitute the inner and outer world, (p. 103) 39 Ermine claims that when we employ inwardness, we can connect with this mysterious life force which "manifests itself in all existence because all of life is connected, and all of life is primarily connected with and accessed through the life force" (p. 104). He maintains that Aboriginal people looked to the "inner space" or that universe of being within each person referred to as the spirit, the self or the soul. From this place comes the insight that wholeness permeates inwardness and extends to the outer space (p. 103). Karla Williamson (2000) writes that all organisms on earth are evidence of these life forces, and are perceived into existence through this process of self-actualization (p. 132). This place of manifested actualization is a place of creativity, which reveals the relationship between inner and outer realities. Cree scholar, Joe Couture (1991) summarizes self actualization by stating: ... reality is experienced by entering deeply into the inner being of the mind, and not by attempting to break through the outer world to a beyond. This positions the Native person in communion with the living reality of all things. His communion is his experience of the ideas within, concentric with reality without. Thus to "know", to cognize, is experiential, direct knowing, (p. 280) These relationships of creativity and energy are termed "unity" by Battiste and Henderson (2000). Yupiaq scholar, Oscar Kawagley (1995) elaborates on the power of this energy from a Yupiaq worldviews: the creative force, as manifested in nature, is more profound and powerful than anything the human being can do, because in it is the very essence of all things. Yet within this profound and powerful force are efficiency, economy, and purpose, the expression of which is dependent on the human being, (p. 11) He explains that there exists a spiritual landscape within the physical landscape which acts as a plane through which integration of life forces maybe achieved. Thus, Alaska Native worldviews share a belief and an orientation to a "synthesis of information gathered from interaction with the natural and spiritual worlds" (p.l 1) 40 for the purposes of achieving harmony and balance among the human, natural, and spiritual worlds. Okanagan scholar, Jeanette Armstrong (2000) explains that Okanagan people understand spirituality as "everything including ourselves is part of everything else. We are part of the land, a part of community, a part of family, and so on. We do not have any clear way of understanding this except when we let ourselves become involved in celebration" (p. 40). Relational ways of knowing and being are evident in the teachings of our knowledge holders, in physical symbols such as the medicine wheel of the Plains peoples, through ceremonies and, as Armstrong (2000) writes, in our celebrations through dances and songs. I write about these manifestations of knowledge and how these manifestations are passed from generation to generation later in this chapter. For now, I share my understanding of Elders words: "doing things in a good way", of "walking our talk" or "living our values." I understand these words as teachings that direct me to live with integrity, in all my actions, so that I realize harmony in relationship with all beings and happenings. These words also guide this research. These words of the Elders, embedded in a relational and spiritual way of knowing and being, speak of values and beliefs that guide and shape our knowing, being, and doing in the world. In this way, these values and beliefs are principles. Principles such as: caring, sharing, strength, honesty, kindness, responsibility, and respect lead to balance and harmony in relationships (Little Bear, 2000), thereby ensuring wholism and connection of all beings. These principles inform how I understand theory and apply it in this work Knowledge created from this place of relationship, as in this study, highlights the centrality of the researcher to the research process. As Ermine (1995) states, experience is knowledge and comes from a connection of the self and life force known in the context of the knower. 41 In essence, then, I have been in relationship with this study. Each step of the research led to my understanding and coming to know about the 'good care' of young Indigenous children. In doing so, knowledge is created. As I pondered these ideas late one evening, I could feel them but I could not express them until I began to think of my younger son, Jacob, and how it is that he is coming to know. I saw myself in relationship with him and through me came teachings about the world. It was as if I could see my heart giving to his. I realized that my relationship with him was more than that of a mother and son or a teacher and student. The knowledge I carried came from an inner landscape, and it was from this inner place that I gave to him. He would use his own experiences (including those with me) to develop his personal landscape that he would in turn use to understand his reality. I was a part of Jacob's landscape. As Kawagley teaches: "the landscape shapes the mindscape and the mindscape shapes the landscape" (Presentation, September, 2004). This understanding underscores the importance of my own personal learning and actualization as a way of ensuring my relationship with my son and his coming to understand. As I thought about this way of knowing and being and its application to formalized early childhood programs and services for young Indigenous children, it became apparent to me how critically important are the relationships between caregivers and children, and the knowledge and training received by caregivers. These reflections also speak to pedagogy, or how we teach our children, and to the critical role that Indigenous knowledge(s) play in shaping those practices. I write of these in the following chapter. I also thought of children, such as myself, whose ontologies have been disrupted and how important it is for children to have the opportunity to realize their identity and place within the collective. In my case, my understanding of the collective and my place within it comes from multiple sources including Elders and teachers from many Nations. My learning 42 and knowledge is eclectic. I take those gifts of knowledge and experience to myself so that I may make sense of my being and my reality. I believe that one of the greatest challenges (and opportunities) facing formalized early childhood programs and services for young Indigenous children is to ensure children have opportunities to learn who they are as individuals and as members of their collectives. This is a topic for discussion in later chapters. Cree scholar, Shawn Wilson (2008) writes that "if Indigenous ways of knowing [have] to be narrowed through one particular lens then surely that lens would focus on relationality. All things are related and therefore relevant" (p. 58). He identifies relationality and accountability to those relationships through the constructs of Indigenous ontology, epistemology, methodology, and axiology as the foundational elements of an Indigenous research paradigm. Wilson argues that each of these elements is inseparable and blend into each other forming a coherent whole - in other words, the whole of the paradigm is greater than the sum of its parts. He concludes that: [rjelationality seems to sum up the whole Indigenous research paradigm to me. Just as the components of the paradigm are related, the components themselves all have to do with relationships. The 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.... (pp. 70-71) Wilson's work clearly argues for a distinct paradigm of research for Indigenous peoples. This paradigm is based on an understanding that peoples' knowledge is not outside of the self or the collective. It makes sense that if theory is historically and culturally constructed, then that theory should come from the people if it is to be relevant and respectful of their ways of knowing, being and doing. Maori scholar, Graham Hngangaroa Smith (2002) points out that one of the principles argued around Kaupapa Maori Theory is 43 consideration for the context in which theorizing is taking place. He argues that "theorizing needs to evolve from and interrelate with the specific 'cultural' context within which it is to be applied" (p. 3). With this idea in mind, I propose that this notion of relationality underpinned by the knowing and being of the people is the bedrock from which principles and theory are derived. What follows is a discussion of theory and the articulation of the principles underpinning this study. 2.3 Theory Theory helps us understand the world. In many of the social sciences, theory may be thought of as a set of principles or beliefs that explain, describe or predict our reality. As theory assists us in understanding our world, it is likewise situated within our own worldviews and philosophies (Pihama, 2005) and passed from generation to generation. It can be said, then, that theory is culturally and historically constructed. Smith (2002) proposes that if theories are socially constructed, they are consequently: "manipulable phenomena in their construction, application, interpretation and selection" (p. 6). As such we all have theory. Maori scholar, Leonie Pihama's (2005) work on Kaupapa Maori theory argues that: the possibilities of theory are multiple. Theories are not solely descriptive or explanatory or predictive but can be all of these simultaneously.... Theories can provide ways of explaining the world through the use of given understandings. Given the diversity of worldviews, of cultural ways of seeing, understanding, and therefore explaining the world, it is expected that a range of theories may exist simultaneously for any given event or to explain experiences, (p. 195) Pihama (2005) advocates for theory that is rooted in practice, explaining that this notion shifts theory as description or explanation to theory directly related to practice. In doing so, theory becomes subject to the social and political realities within which practice sits 44 and as such, becomes a reflective and transformative place (p. 196). "Without unity of theory and practice, theory has little to offer" (p.196). Smith (2002) describes the relationship between theory and praxis (action and reflection) as: standfing] in dialectical relation to each other where praxis ... reflects theory at work and in action.... With respect to transformative social action, praxis connects theory to the 'people'. That is, theory is developed out of the actions and reflections constituted by the 'people', (p. 4) These scholars argue that theory emerges from the context in which it is applied and that theory is directly related to practice. In other words, theory emerges from distinct cultures and knowledge systems, the people, and their actions. A context of Indigenous knowledge(s), people and actions becomes a source of theory wherein propositions can be made that explain, predict and/or describe reality. Principles, defined as laws or rules of action or conduct, are likewise anchored in Indigenous ways of knowing and being, and are commonly presented as the beliefs and values that guide our behaviors. These principles may be articulated as theory. Principles in and of themselves maybe considered theoretical. Scholars also advocate for bringing theory into resistance and transformative activities. Linda Tuhiwai Smith (1999) argues for "creating the space for the emergence of organic Maori theory from Maori people and communities themselves" (p. 4). In her discussion of theory, Smith explains that: not all... theories claim to be derived from some 'pure' sense of what it means to be indigenous, nor do they claim to be theories which have been developed in a vacuum... . What is claimed, however, is that new ways of theorizing by indigenous scholars are grounded in a real sense of, and sensitivity towards, what it means to be an indigenous person, (p. 38) In this study, I claim that Indigenous ways of knowing and being are the source or bedrock within which principles, theory and, in this case, identity is anchored. As Little Bear (2000) explains, individuals have their own interpretation of the collective cultural code, but their 45 worldview is rooted in a culture that has society's shared philosophy, values and customs (p. 77). Theorizing then requires a theorist to engage their own identity within the collective of which they are a part. I also believe that there are times when it is strategic to articulate a common collective identity in order to achieve a shared goal. We saw this in Canada as Indian peoples came together as the first peoples of the land, as First Nations, united in responding to the federal government's 1969 White Paper. Articulating the 'good care' of children, from an Indigenous place (which is what I strive to do in this study), may also serve to resist the imposition of Eurocentric views on the care of Indigenous children. In this way, early childhood programs and services serving young Indigenous children can be politicized and transformative places. Smith (1999) writes of theory as a site of resistance. She claims that theory provides a space to plan and to strategize resistances, adding that while we are "mak[ing] sense of our own world [we are also struggling] to transform what counts as important in the world of the powerful" (p. 39). Indigenous literature on sites of resistance and subsequent discourse has emerged in response to colonial imperialism and Eurocentric hegemony experienced by Indigenous peoples around the globe. For example, Graham Hingangaroa Smith (2002), writing of Kaupapa Maori theory, argues that theory itself is a "site of struggle between dominant Pakeha and subordinate Maori interests" (p.7). He claims that Kaupapa Maori theory critiques the implicit impulse to maintain the status quo situation of Pakeha dominance, and attempts to give support to what many Maori individuals 'do' as part of their taken for granted everyday experience. Cultural values, practices and thinking are often intuitively included in the daily existence of most Maori (p. 7). In theorizing Indigenous transformation and education, Smith (2003) identifies six principles he considers to be 46 critical change factors in Kaupapa Maori theory. The first is the principle of self- determination or relative autonomy where there is to be increased 'control over one's own life and cultural well-being'. The second principle of validating and legitimating cultural aspirations and identity speaks to ensuring that Indigenous language, knowledge(s), culture and values are validated and legitimized to the point of being 'taken for granted', while the third principle speaks to incorporating 'culturally preferred' pedagogy- that is teaching and learning practices that connect with the cultural backgrounds and life circumstances of the community. The principle of mediating socio-economic and home difficulties is the fourth principle. This principle commits communities to take seriously the potential of education to impact at the ideological level, as well as mediating a societal context of unequal power relations; that is, by drawing upon the cultural strength of the whanau (extended family), socio-economic circumstances maybe mediated. The fifth principle, the principle of incorporating cultural structures which emphasize the 'collective' rather than the 'individual', such as the notion of the extended family, highlights the importance of the extended family in providing a collective and shared support structure that encourages reciprocity and responsibility. The sixth and final principle is that of a shared and collective vision/philosophy which provides the guidelines for excellence in education, taking into account both Maori and Pakeha (in this case) (pp. 8-11). In sum, theories help us make sense of our realities and figure things out. Theories anchored in Indigenous ways of knowing and being serve as sites of resistance and, most importantly, they can help us describe things in the world, explain the actions we take, and make predictions about the world. It is from this place that I articulate the principles guiding this research. 47 2.4 Guiding principles Teachings, values and or beliefs, anchored in Indigenous knowledge(s), serve to explain, describe and or guide our understanding of the world. As such, they maybe conceptualized as theoretical. This study is guided by four key principles rooted in Indigenous knowledge (s), first conceptualized by Cree scholar Verna Kirkness and non-Indigenous scholar Ray Barnhardt (1991) in their research concerning post-secondary students' experience. The four principles are commonly known as the four Rs: respect, reciprocity, relevance and responsibility. Respect is the need to honor the cultural integrity of First Nations students, including their values and traditions. The second principle speaks to the relevance of learning within First Nations perspectives and experiences, for students to "build upon their customary forms of consciousness and representation as they expand their understanding of the world in which they live" (p. 8). The third principle, reciprocity, is evidenced in relationships that create possibilities for new kinds of education, new paradigms, and explanatory frameworks. The fourth and final principle, responsibility, speaks to the ability of individuals and collectives to take responsibility for their own lives. At the heart of this principle is the empowerment of First Nations peoples in realizing control over their daily lives. Kirkness and Barnhardt argue that these principles are anchored in distinct Indigenous worldviews/knowledge systems and are distinct in their application: ... while the manifestations [of knowledge] can vary considerably from one group of people to another, some of the salient features of such knowledge are that its meaning, value and use are bound to the cultural context in which it is situated, it is thoroughly integrated into everyday life and it is generally acquired through direct experience and participation in real-world activities. If considered in its totality, such knowledge can be seen to constitute a particular world view, a form of consciousness or a reality set. (pp. 6-7) 48 Others have used these principles in their works. Some have added to the Rs and some use different terms for similar concepts. However, these principles share a common purpose, one that is consistent with the knowledge(s) in which they are anchored: the development and maintenance of positive relationships. As I have written earlier, most Indigenous scholars are in general agreement that relationships are a cornerstone of Indigenous knowledge(s). These four Rs are cradled in simultaneous interaction and relationship. Explanation of these principles relative to the 'good care' of children and this study begins by describing how other Indigenous scholars have used these principles in their work. I conclude by discussing how the works of these authors impact the articulation and contextualization of the four Rs as principles applied to this study. Michelle Pidgeon's (2008) work is also concerned with post-secondary education. She employs the Rs - responsibility, respect, relevance, reciprocity, reverence, and relationships - to critically examine how universities could be more successful spaces for Aboriginal students (p. 70). Pidgeon explains each principle in the context of her study, stating that responsibility is used in the same manner as Kirkness and Barnhardt (1991) defined it, as occurring through participation (p. 23). Responsibility also encompasses a sense of being part of community life and becomes part of one's credibility (p. 72). Respect is best understood within the context of relationships with phrases such as 'I know you know how to act in someone else's home where you are a guest' or 'you are member of this team.' Pidgeon reminds us that Indigenous communities have their own protocols for showing respect; respect encompasses understanding the practice of community protocol (p. 71). Relevance speaks to the meaning and value the research project will have to the people, while reciprocity has to do with sharing knowledge and reporting back to the people (pp. 74- 75). Pidgeon writes of reverence in reference to Indigenous spirituality—it is the "grounding 49 of theories in Indigenous epistemology, in that the relationships between the earth, cosmos, and the individual are all interconnected components of Indigenous knowledge" (p. 77). Finally, Pidgeon writes of responsibility as critical to understanding the interconnectedness of all living things and Indigenous peoples' ways of knowing as fundamental to establishing relationships that honour their traditions and beliefs (p. 77). Wilson's (2008) articulation of an Indigenous Research Paradigm employs Cree scholar Cora Weber-Pillwax's three Rs as part of his argument for relational accountability. He explains the three Rs - respect, reciprocity and relationality- by citing his colleague's (E. Steinhauer) interpretation of a personal conversation with Cora Weber-Pillwax about these principles: Respect is more than just saying please and thank you, and reciprocity is more than giving a gift. According to Cree Elders showing respect or kihceyihtowin is a basic law of life. Respect regulates how we treat Mother Earth, the plants, the animals and our brothers and sisters of all races... Respect means you listen intently to others' ideas that you do not insist that your idea prevails. By listening intently you show honour, consider the well being of others, and treat others with kindness and courtesy. (E. Steinhauer, 2001, p. 86 as cited by Wilson, 2008, p. 58) Wilson (2008) argues that these principles of a relational ontology are the basis from which a distinct methodology and axiology emerge (p. 147). He explains that an Indigenous axiology (the ethics or morals that guide our search for knowledge) is based on relational accountability and concepts such as right or wrong, validity, and worthwhile or not, lose their meaning. As Wilson declares, the most important role is being accountable to your relationships (p. 77). 50 Stodo scholar, Jo-ann Archibald (2008), acknowledging the work of Kirkness and Bamhardt (1991), identifies seven storywork10 teachings: respect, reverence, responsibility, reciprocity, holism, interrelatedness, and synergy that she understands as cultural values, beliefs, and understandings passed from generation to generation (p. 1). These seven teachings are both principles and practices (p. 1). Drawing from her Nation's wisdom, Archibald explains cultural respect, responsibility and reciprocity in the context of knowledge and power, writing that "if one comes to understand the power of a particular knowledge, then one must be ready to share and teach it respectfully and responsibly to others in order for this knowledge, and its power, to continue" (p. 4). Archibald's (2008) book, Indigenous Storywork, takes us on a journey of understanding Indigenous knowledge (s) by engaging the reader in her stories of learning from Elders. In the telling of her story, she writes of respect as: respect for each other as human beings, respect for the power of cultural knowledge, and respect for the cultural protocols that show honour for the authority and expertise of the Elder teacher.... respect includes trust and being culturally worthy.... being culturally worthy means being ready intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually to fully absorb cultural knowledge, (p.41) Reciprocity and responsibility occur in the sharing of knowledge along with a reverence for the spiritual. Prayer before beginning storytelling exemplifies the concept of cultural reverence in practice. These teachings or principles, along with concepts of holism, interrelatedness and synergy, are the theoretical framework upon which Archibald builds storywork. As I read pages of Jo-arm's book, I felt in many instances as if I was walking beside her. In her descriptions of conversations with Elders, I was reminded of my own 10 Story work is the application of the seven story work teachings to education (Archibald, 2008, p. 3). 51 relationships with Elders, particularly Mary Thomas and Louis Opekokew with whom I spent many hours listening to their stories. I knew what Jo-arm was talking about as she wrote about the responsibility of respectful giving back through teaching. Her description of being worthwhile to receive the teachings particularly resonated with me. I have learned being worthwhile or feeling worthwhile begins from within and that not all teachings are revealed at once. So I spend much time reviewing the teachings that have been given to me in my mind and in my heart. I look inwardly to my self as I seek to better understand those teachings in relation to myself and to the world. I open my hands and accept the story basket from Jo-ann. The cultural principles of respect, reciprocity, relevance, and responsibility, form the strands of a new basket; one that will hold teachings and learnings about the 'good care' of young Indigenous children. The Indigenous scholars discussed in this chapter have drawn principles from Indigenous knowledge(s) to explain, describe and/or guide the conceptualization and implementation of their work. I too draw upon Indigenous ways of knowing and being, and upon the works of these and other Indigenous scholars as a source for principles that guide my research. The principles guiding this study are anchored in an overarching belief that societies and cultures rejuvenate and regenerate each new generation through relationships with the world. In doing so, our cultural ways maybe revitalized and regenerated through our children. This study deploys Indigenous principles of respect, relevance, reciprocity, and responsibility set within relationship as a way to understand and undertake this revitalization through the 'good care' of our children. These principles are depicted in the illustration below (Figure 2.1)11. For the purposes of this study, the principles are described as: one, This illustration is to be viewed as if one were looking down at an open four-petal flower, with its internal parts (children and families, communities and nations) guarded by the petals (respect, reciprocity, relevance and 52 respect identifies the need to honour the cultural integrity of Indigenous children, families and communities, including their systems of knowledge, values and traditions; two, relevance references to the utility of the program and practice to the children, their families and community; three, reciprocal relationships are characterized as meaningful, respectful and creative, where learning opportunities are generated for all those involved; and four, responsibility speaks to the ability of individuals and collectives to take control of their own lives. At the heart of responsibility is the notion of empowerment of children, their families and communities. These principles set the context for continuity and change. I return to them in the last chapter of this dissertation adding to the illustration as a result of undertaking this research. The next chapter, though, continues setting the context of this research by presenting a discussion of ways in which Indigenous children have been conceptualized and how Indigenous knowledge(s) are passed to them. responsibility) sitting on a foundation of relationships (sepal). This flower is in the world in a real, vibrant, and beautiful way, just as our children are. The idea for the illustration came from the beading on a pair of moccasins given to me by my teacher Louis Opekokew. 53 Figure 2.1 Theoretical Framework (M. Greenwood, 2009) The BlAA/Woi^WLtlAJ: 0 • v a a Nations, Children a\Asd Families CO\M.\M.\A.\AA,t\A 54 CHAPTER THREE Passing on Indigenous Knowledge(s) Mary's Story, at the beginning of Chapter Two, illustrates the fundamental principles that serve as a foundation for this study- and the need for societies and cultures to rejuvenate and regenerate through their relationships to all beings for each new generation. Her story points out the centrality of relationships to all beings and the critical need for intergenerational transmission of knowledge. In Chapter Two, I also discussed the nature of Indigenous ways of knowing and being, and the theory and principles rooted in those knowledge(s). From this place, I identified and described the theoretical principles that guide this study. Chapter Three adds to these theoretical principles by articulating Indigenous conceptualizations of children and exploring how Indigenous knowledge(s) is passed from one generation to the next through children. This transmission of knowledge(s) maybe viewed as pedagogy and seen to inform early childhood practices and change. I begin by discussing the conceptualization of children followed byways in which knowledge is passed including: language, stories and storytelling, ceremonies, symbols, revelation, and empirical knowledge. 3.1 Conceptualizing Children There is a scarcity of scholarly literature focused on the care and education of Indigenous children. Early writings were primarily undertaken by non-Indigenous anthropologists and sociologists sent to study the "Indians of the area." Fortunately, Indigenous scholars (e.g., Battiste & Henderson, 2000; Chisholm, 1996; Goforth, 2003; Kawagley, 1995; Little Bear, 2000), along with other Indigenous individuals and groups, are beginning to put into writing 55 their family and communities' cultural teachings concerning the care and education of their children. However, reconstructing these traditional child-rearing practices is challenging given the impact of colonization and subsequent societal change. Elders, the stories, songs, dances, and ceremonies are often the most accurate sources of these teachings (that is, knowledge(s)). How conceptions of children, and their care and education prior to colonization, influence (or should influence) children's care and education today is also a subject for discussion in this section. Whereas children once learned from their families and communities (that is, their parents, grandparents, siblings, aunties and uncles, and community members), the school system and early childhood programs for young children have in some cases taken over a large part of this role (Goforth, 2003). Most often, these formal systems of care and education perpetuate a philosophy and set of values about the world that are representative of the broader dominant society and not those of Indigenous or colonized peoples. Yet this is the contemporary and colonial present in which the Aboriginal people of Canada and many other Indigenous peoples around the globe find themselves. Acknowledgement of multiple knowledge(s) (or worldviews) with their inherent power differentials, and the quest to find ways in which to achieve harmony and balance, are the plight of many of these peoples. It is in this quest that different worldviews come together and is evidenced in pedagogical goals. It is here too that Indigenous educators caution that "never again must our adaptation to the larger society be at the expense of our languages, values, spirituality or cultural identities" (Manitoba Education and Training, 1993, p. 3). This question of emphasis or balance (in early childhood programs in this case) emphasizes the critical nature of ensuring that Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing are accounted for. 56 In Indigenous cultures, children are imbued with the ways of knowing and being of their culture (Little Bear, 2000). Children are vital to their collective, and ultimately to the survival of their culture. Because of this centrality, children are greatly valued and, in many Indigenous societies, considered gifts from the Creator or on loan to us from the Creator. Some believe that each child brings with him/her a special gift, while others believe that children are the ancestors reborn (Little Bear, 2000; Joint First Nations/Inuit Federal Working Group, 1995; Native Council of Canada, 1990). From this perspective, the care and education of children (child rearing) is considered a sacred and valued responsibility. Secwepemc Elder, Mary Thomas teaches that the care of children begins long before birth at the time of conception: When a young woman got pregnant, she was careful about what she ate and about the exercise she got. She drank a lot of good medicines, a lot of broth, and she did not overdo herself. The young Mother was also given the most attention— loving, caring attention. She wasn't allowed to see anything that was unpleasant, like spilled blood, a smashed finger, whatever. She wasn't allowed to go to a funeral where there was a lot of crying. She was only allowed to see nice things, like singing and dancing. The old people strongly believed that whatever happened to the young Mother also happened to her unborn child. (Personal communication, 1995) One of the motivations for this special care stems from a belief that the unborn child is a separate spirit who will be affected by what the mother sees, feels, does, thinks, hears, and eats (Aboriginal Association of Nurses, n.d., pp. 9,17). The Mi'kmaw believe that "from the time a child is conceived there is an acceptance that the child's spirit has also been conceived. There is no notion of tabula rasa or blank slate" (Battiste & Henderson, 2000, p. 52) upon which to build. Instead, "Each person has a unique spirit that is predetermined before his or her body grows into it" (p. 52). These beliefs, anchored in distinct Indigenous knowledge(s), direct adults and others to interact with children in certain ways that may differ from those that might arise from 57 belief in tabula rasa for example. Many Indigenous beliefs lead to learning that is about coming to know the self— realizing the relationship of the spirit and the self to the world - not just creating the self through learning. This sense of predetermination is manifested or tempered by actions in life. Battiste (2002) argues, "Inherent talents and capabilities are animated when people are faced with life decisions and situations" (p. 15). Learning plays a significant role in children realizing the gifts they are born with (Battiste, 2002; Henderson, 2000a). Battiste (2002) explains that "knowledge is not secular. It is a process derived from creation, and as such, it has a sacred purpose. It is inherent in and connected to all of nature, to its creatures, and to human existence" (p. 14). Learning in this context is a life-long responsibility that people employ to understand the world and to realize their personal gifts or abilities: ... traditions, ceremonies, and daily observations are all integral parts of the learning process. They are spirit-connecting processes that enable the gifts, visions and spirits to emerge in each person... self knowledge and transmitted teachings are equally important, and people cannot effectively learn their purpose and actualize that purpose unless they receive both. (pp. 14-15) Henderson (2000a) adds that ecological forces uniquely gift each person and that "the process of recognizing and affirming one's gifts or talents is the essence of learning . . . failure is when a person refuses to follow his or her gifts or understandings" (pp. 265-66). He explains that if children do not have the opportunity to learn or find their path, as adults they will seek their path, their gifts, and their place in the world. This finding of self later in life has resulted in many positive outcomes for Aboriginal communities. There have also been less positive outcomes in learning, attributable to interruption by the colonial experience, which supply part of the rationale for (reconfiguring children's care and education. 58 Related to learning is teaching or pedagogy. Who is teaching, and how teaching occurs, are integral parts of Indigenous children's growth and development. Henderson (2000a) writes that caring is the source from which all teaching arises (p. 268). Caring is a fundamental value that describes a way of living within the flux and energies of Indigenous knowledge(s), and it is through relationships of truth that one knows the spirit in every relationship (p. 269). These relationships are first found within the circle of a caring family it is from this place that children begin to learn. Learning through experience within the safety and protection of the family and community is common to many North American Indigenous peoples. Cree scholoar Winona Wheeler (2002) describes this circle of care or kinship relations as four concentric circles with the babies and children in the centre. Moving outward to the next circle is the place of the Elders, grandfathers, and grandmothers. The third is for the women; the men make up the fourth outer circle of care and protection. Wheeler explains that in Plains societies, roles and tasks were equal and reflected the egalitarian base of their societies. Family circles ensured that no child or family was left unsupported. Mary Thomas also speaks of the family circle. She speaks of this circle as a place where the goal of the family's survival is intricately woven with children's and family members' learning and teaching: The family circle grew as parents became grandparents, and their sons and daughters became parents. The big brothers, big sisters, uncles, aunts and the older ones became the teachers of the younger ones. They had already learned about survival from the Elders. The family circle is based on survival. It was a peaceful life. In the winter everyone stayed in and prepared their tools, weaved their baskets and got ready for the next season of food gathering. Winter was also a time of storytelling. These were the "school months" for the children. The children were taught to sit and listen to the Elders, even if they didn't fully understand what the older people were talking about. When the children watched the Elders doing the activities in the spring and summer, they had already heard stories about it. Like making 59 baskets, they knew what the basket was for, how it was made, and how to use it. This is how the children were taught. Everything we did had to do with survival. Old men would tell stories of experiences they had hunting and fishing. They, in turn, encouraged the uncles and big brothers to tell their stories. The women did the same. The grandmothers told their stories. They told of the challenges they faced and the things they had accumulated. They encouraged the young women so that they felt they could tell stories too. When a young man took a wife he would remain a part of the family circle. He stayed and learned from his older brothers and uncles. He also bonded with the younger ones who he, in turn, would teach. These young men had the ability to connect with both the older people and the younger people. It was the same for the young women. They taught the younger ones through games and stories. Every day was about learning. (Personal communication, April, 1996) The Native Council of Canada (1990) affirms this notion of a collective responsibility for the care and education of children in their study of urban Aboriginal parents in Canada. Qiildren were the responsibility not only of their biological parents, but also of the entire extended family. Grandparents played a key role in the rearing of children. Grandparents spent many hours telling stories and showing children how to do things, and older siblings as well as those of the same age nurtured a tiny baby. A child's family was also supported through care for him. In short, the whole community took responsibility for both the child and family through extended relationship patterns, clans and other family groupings. In a summary about traditional Aboriginal life, and the context in which children were raised, the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal'Peoples (RCAP), Vol. 3 (1996) offers this description: Babies and toddlers spent their first years within the extended family where parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters all shared responsibility for protecting and nurturing them. Traditional Aboriginal child-rearing practices permitted children to exert their will with little interference from adults. In this environment, children were encouraged to 60 develop as thinking, autonomous beings. At the same time, they acquired language and were integrated into the rhythms of daily life in the family and community. In this early stage of development, children learned how to interpret and respond to the world. They learned how to walk on the land, taking in the multiple cues needed to survive as hunters and gatherers; they were conditioned to see the primacy of relationships over material possessions; they discovered that they had special gifts that would define their place in and contribution to the family and community. From an early age, playing at the edge of adult work and social activities, they learned that dreams, visions and legends were as important to learning as practical instruction in how to build a boat or tan a hide. (pp. 446-47) In this context of family and community, the primacy of relationships to Indigenous knowledge (s) is apparent. The importance of relationships (including how to develop and maintain them) is often one of the first Aboriginal teachings taught to children (Battiste & Henderson, 2000; Henderson, 2000a). Little Bear (2000) writes that "the function of Aboriginal values and customs is to maintain the relationships that hold creation together" (p. 81). "Without relationships, the collective is fragmented and the interdependent ways that have ensured the survival of Aboriginal communities is endangered. Survival of Indigenous knowledge(s) is dependent upon the interrelationships developed at the individual and collective levels. This learning of relationships and collective begins with the children and their teaching and learning. The colonization of Aboriginal peoples in Canada interrupted this relational way of knowing and being. Colonization, with its underlying imperialistic philosophy, is significant primarily in its attempt to destroy and assimilate Indigenous peoples in a colonial history, an attempt linked inextricably to intervention into the care and education of children. The importance of children's care and education within the family and community, and based upon Indigenous knowledge(s), is as critical today as it was prior to and at the onset of colonization. The impact of history and its subsequent changes to reality has also created 61 significant challenges (including identification of who is an "Indian," migration of Aboriginal peoples to urban centres, jurisdictional differences and so on) to implementing early childhood programs reflective of First Nations communities and cultures. The impact of colonization on Aboriginal families— the building block of Aboriginal communities and cultures— has changed the very structure and role they play in the care and education of children. Many Aboriginal children are now being cared for in formal early childhood programs; families and communities no longer assume the sole role of caregivers and educators of their children. Poverty, lack of employment, educational opportunities, and access to services have contributed significantly to the increasing mobility and migration of Aboriginal families from rural and reserve communities to urban settings. This mobility also plays a significant role in reducing extended family support. Not only does this movement reduce the actual number of family members available to offer support to children, it also erodes the very role that individuals play within the collective in providing their care and education. However, as the role of families change, the teaching of collective knowledge(s) shifts and are actualized in new ways. There are, however, beliefs and values that remain constant, changing in their expression but not in their intent. For example, the Anisnabe's "seven teachings of the seven grandfathers": wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility and truth (Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, 2007) have remained constant through the centuries. For other Indigenous peoples, these values are embedded in their laws or protocols. The impact of colonization on the lives of Aboriginal peoples in Canada, and specifically the development of early childhood programs and policies affecting them, are explored further in Qiapter Four of this study. The following section focuses on Indigenous pedagogies or how knowledge has been and continues to be passed from generation to generation through children. Although these ways maybe viewed as being 'traditional' by 62 some, these ways are as important today as in the past. This process of teaching and learning has as much to offer as the content. 3.2 Passing on Indigenous knowledge(s) - "For those yet to come" Flowing from holistic Indigenous knowledge systems are explicit, tangible sources of understanding rooted in the past, serving to both teach those in the present and hold knowledge for those of the future. These understandings are discussed by Indigenous scholars and focus on a variety of sources and processes that lead to them (Battiste & Henderson, 2000; Castallano, 2000; Cajete, 2000; Gardner, 2000; Holmes, 2000; Kawagley, 2001,1995; Sterling, 2002; Weber-Pillwax, 2001). Castallano (2000) offers three overlapping categories of knowledge sources: traditional teachings, revelation, and empirical observation. Traditional teachings, like those identified and recorded by Battiste and Henderson (2000) as traditional ecological knowledge, build upon knowledge that has been passed intact through the generations. This knowledge is evident in such processes as storytelling, ceremonies, and symbols within a context of language and orality. 3.2.1 Language The role of language is at the heart of any examination of Indigenous knowledge(s). It is in languages that knowledge(s) are embedded, transmitted, and created (Battiste, 2002; Gardner, 2000; Williamson, 2000). Witherspoon (1977) argues that, "this world was transformed from knowledge, organized in thought, patterned in language and realized in speech .... In the Navajo view of the world, language is not a mirror of reality; reality is a mirror of language" (p. 175). Language is also tied to our identity as individuals and collectives. Battiste and Henderson (2000) make this observation of language and knowledge: 63 Transmitting Indigenous knowledge is intimate and oral . . . Indigenous peoples view their languages as forms of spiritual identity. In them are the lessons and knowledge that are the cognitive-spiritual power of a certain group of people in a specific place, passed on through the elders for their survival, (p. 49) Indigenous scholars explore the relationship between Indigenous knowledge (s) and language by examining their collective knowledge(s), describing and explaining them (Cohen, 2001, Gardner, 2000; Kawagley, 2001; Williamson, 2000). Gardner (2000) quotes Elders as saying, "Language is central to our identity... and our worldview is embedded in our language" (p. 9). Kawagley (2001) writes about the connection between language and the ancestors, stating that the "Yup'ik language is . . . critical because it intimately connects one to the ancestors and their thought world. This is a spiritual, emotional, and intellectual connection that helps to shape all thinking and behaviour" (p. 51). Henderson (2000a) discusses the fluid relationship between the language and the land: Aboriginal languages express an awareness of a local ecology and are directed to understanding both external life forms and the invisible forces beneath them, which Algonquin languages describe by the sounds mntu, manidoo, manito, manitu orManitou. These words can be equated with the forces or essences of life or spirit, knowledge and thought Aboriginal consciousness and language are structured according to Aboriginal people's understanding of the forces of the particular ecosystem in which they live. They derive most of the linguistic notions by which they describe the forces of an ecology from experience and from reflection on the forces of nature, (pp. 262-263) As a result, many Indigenous languages are primarily verb-oriented and acknowledge and respect the constantly changing energy of the land, thereby creating an active relationship with the living energy within an ecosystem (Henderson, 2000a, p. 262). The sound, the meaning, and the relationships conveyed in the spoken word manifest the very essence of Indigenous knowledge(s) in a way that the written word cannot. Weber-Pillwax (2001) writes that it is: 64 ... impossible to "translate" the lived cultural effects of philosophies and beliefs that are embedded within and associated with the words and terms themselves. Yet . . . herein exactly lies the source of the power and meaning of those words and terms, (p. 159) This power of language, with its connection to the past and its role as repository and transmitter of Indigenous knowledge(s), is enhanced in the act of speaking (orating). Orality is an inclusive concept encompassing oral manifestations and processes including stories, ceremonies (including dances and songs), and symbols (including the medicine wheel and sacred tree). Archibald (1990) positions Indigenous orality within a holistic framework whose primary goal is to achieve: "balance and harmony among [the] animal/human kingdom, elements of nature, and the spirit world" (p. 72). Cultural practices within this context carry the knowledge and behaviour codes necessary for acquiring Indigenous knowledge(s) (p. 72). Weber-Pillwax (2001) underscores this argument: "The survival of Cree epistemologies and cosmologies are totally dependent on the strength and presence of Cree orality" (p. 153). She explains: In the world of the northern Cree, orality systems govern all communication, whether interpersonal or intrapersonal... The systems of Cree language use and Cree thinking patterns determine and guide all forms of social interaction and individual development... Individual development is directly related to an understanding of the values and beliefs of the culture, (p. 152) Elaborating further, she writes that Northern Woodland Cree societies of the past employed primary orality including storytelling, dancing, and singing to ensure the survival of their ways of knowing and being. Primary orality demands understanding (i.e., a capacity, an ability, and a willingness to immerse oneself totally in the event as it is enacted or unfolds) and participation on the part of all the listeners and participants (p. 156). Given the centrality of language and orality to Indigenous peoples and their knowledge(s), it is equally important to note that any change to oral traditions affects the very essence of Indigenous ways of 65 knowing and being (Archibald, 1990). Battiste and Henderson (2000) are adamant that "any attempt to change Indigenous language is an attempt to modify or destroy Indigenous knowledge and the people to whom the knowledge belongs" (p. 50). The importance of language to children's growth and development cannot be overstated. It is a keystone element for their 'good care'. As such, the immersion of children into their language becomes paramount, giving them access to knowledge, and the construction of that knowledge, beyond the spoken word. This significance of language to knowledge is expressed in stories and orality. 3.2.2 Stories Traditional stories are a form of primary orality that provides opportunities for participants to come to understand Indigenous knowledge(s). These stories demand understanding and participation, and serve to both transmit and teach Indigenous knowledge(s). They are described as specific devices containing cultural teachings and processes of living history (Cohen, 2001; Holmes, 2000; Kawagley, 1995; Sterling, 2002; Storm, 1972). Sterling (2002) writes, "Stories are mnemonic devices that help us to remember events for many decades.... they remain alive in the present tense of the stories, reviving, restoring, and revitalizing what has been lost" (pp. 9-10). Holmes (2000) describes stories as memories of the living land that connect humans to the land through a timeless genealogical link (pp. 44-5). Kawagley (1995) defines stories as living history: "Children learn and the grown-ups are reminded of who and what they are, where they come from, and how they are to interact with others, with natural things and with spirits. This is truly living history" (p. 17). Henderson (2000a) explains how the old stories (e.g. the trickster stories of Coyote and Weeseekeechuk) focus on "the processes of knowledge . . . how to acquire relationships on every level, how properly to use them, and how to lose them" (p. 266). Cohen (2001) writes of stories as 66 metaphors in which the listener creates meaning by using one attribute of an experience to understand another (p. 143). In other words, stories serve a dual purpose. On one hand they are an explicit expression of knowledge. On the other hand, they are a vehicle or tool through which others may create their own understanding of Indigenous knowledge(s)— they are both content and process understood through experience. The importance of stories for children is critical— stories offer pathways to their Elders, their history, their knowledge(s), and ultimately to their identity as individuals and members of the collective. To travel these pathways requires listeners to engage with both a story and a storyteller in a certain way so that a synergy is created for making meaning through the story, thereby resulting in meaning and understanding (Archibald, 2008). Archibald (2008) coined the term "storywork" to describe this unique experience. 3.2.3 Storytelling The experience of listening to a story is complex. The listener engages with the story and as Cherokee scholar, Hyemeyohsts Storm (1972) writes that after we have heard a story it becomes a part of our awareness and understanding: Stories are like paths or Ways. Whenever we hear a Story, it is as if we were physically walking down a particular path that it has created for us. Everything we perceive upon this path or around it becomes part of our experience, both individually and collectively, (pp. 16-17) Holmes (2000) offers Elders' stories as a "circular connection between the people, ... the gods, and the land is forged not by information but by blood and roots. Central to this concept of blood and roots is the notion that experience is crucial to knowledge" (p. 42). She describes her experience of listening to the Elders: "It seemed as if through them, knowledge lodged in the heart of the listener, memory flowed through bloodlines, and the land was given voice and agency" (p. 40). From this experience, Holmes identifies three 67 categories of Elders' teachings: heart knowledge (knowledge that is passed on to others in the context of relationships and deep feelings), blood memory (knowledge forged not by information but by blood and roots, and is passed through generations of Hawaiians, uniting them with the Elders of the past), and the voice of the land (p. 42). Holmes suggests that the third category is derived from a belief that knowledge exists within a grounded cosmology, and when the Elders share their knowledge they are articulating the voice of the land (p. 46). She refers to these categories collectively as "an ancestry of experience that shapes dreams, desires, intentions, and purposeful activity" (p. 46). Storytellers play an essential role in Indigenous societies. Sterling (2002) describes the storyteller Yetko as a "tradition-bearer, the teacher of values and morals, and the entertainer" (p. 6) whose knowledge is passed through the generations. Archibald (1990) writes that "it was the magic of the storytelling skill that allowed the thoughts and meanings to meet and create new patterns of understanding; personal and communal knowledge found a meeting place with orality" (p. 77). It is the relationship— that is the energy between the story, the teller, and the listener— made explicit in orality that creates the space for learning and understanding to occur. Sterling (2002) writes of this experience as a "living experience." Her experience of listening to her mother's story of Yetko causes her to reflect: More than anything else, the story of Yetko is a personal one. She was my blood kin, an ancestress, a member of the family clan . . . teacher of my mother whose friendship and presence I can experience through my mother's stories about her. (p. 6) She adds that Yetko and Sophie are still teaching since: [t]he story about them is a living tradition because they are alive in the memories and living words of the storyteller... the experiences they allow us to have are in the present, because as hearers we are in the present, (p. 7) 68 Holmes' (2000) and Sterling's (2002) reference to blood memory and blood kin begs the question: can individuals who have fragmented connections, or who have been completely disconnected from their blood memory or blood kin, come to understand Indigenous knowledge (s)? Such is the experience of some of the children that attend Aboriginal early childhood programs in Canada. As evidenced in the writings of Indigenous scholars identified earlier in this paper, there are multiple ways of coming to understand Indigenous knowledge(s). In its essence of fluid totality, Indigenous knowledge systems and worldviews are inclusive of all beings and relationships, and therefore can neither be reduced to a single way of coming to know nor be simplified to any single attribute that allows one to come to know. For those of fragmented and uneven histories, Holmes offers this solution: "If one does not have the experience, knowledge must come through the experience of the kupuna [Elders]" (p. 42), the storytellers who also have a responsibility to teach the morals and ethics that go along with that knowledge (Battiste & Henderson, 2000). This solution along with others is particularly important when considering colonization and its impact on Aboriginal children, their families and their communities. We draw from these storytellers, from the stories, from our past, and from our lived experience to gain understanding of Indigenous knowledge(s) and come to know and understand our world from that place. Sometimes these opportunities to learn take the form of ceremonies. 3.2.4 Ceremonies Ceremonies (including song and dance), like stories, are explicit vehicles of knowledge that serve to teach those in the present while simultaneously connecting to the past and the future. Knowledge experienced by the heart and the mind allows learning to occur. Indigenous scholars write of the ability of ceremony participants to connect with their being, 69 with their ancestors, and with their spirits. Armstrong (2000) locates understanding of ceremonies, songs, and art in the spiritual dimension: [Through] ceremony and the original teachings we can come to understand our own spirituality, or, you can call it your philosophy, of the world. If we look at the world through the eyes of generations past, to the time when ceremonies were constructed, we can begin to see how each ceremony helps us to sustain, maintain, and pass on those philosophical values that affirm family, community, and land .... The spirituality of our dances, songs, feasts and festivals, and ceremonies celebrate the self, the family, the community, and the land... [and] is about renewal and regeneration, (pp. 40-41) She advises that "you cannot be spiritual if you are not being spiritual at the physical level, at the emotional level, and at the intellectual level" (p. 41). Writing of Bush Cree ceremonies, Weber-Pillwax (2001) explains that "the words, the music, the drumming all contribute to the total experience of the individual in the ceremony" (p. 157). She explains further that "we experience ourselves through the talking, the dancing, the drumming, and the feasting as a physical expression of the collectivity as it exists across time and space" (p. 160). Using dance as an example, she elaborates: Such events as the wihkohtowin [dance of the ancestors] provide powerful connections with the consciousness that bring to the individual the presence of all the living persons, the ancestors, and the spirits that are part of his or her collective family or group or community. The wihkohtowin experience of orality consciousness is one of healing, a reconnecting to self and to collectivity, not in a cerebral logical way, but at the deepest level of acting and engagement with life. It is psychological healing of a most intense nature: that of knowing who you are and where you belong, (p. 162) Writing about the Yupiaq people, Kawagley (1995) states, "Rituals and ceremonies enable [the Yupiaq] to recognize their own uniqueness as human beings and the 70 interconnectedness of all" (p. 35). Songs are another expression of Yupiaq being and knowing. Kawagley cites the "Eskimo"12 Orpingalikas saying: Songs are thoughts, sung out with the breath when people are moved by great forces and ordinary speech no longer suffices . . . it will happen that the words we use will come of themselves. When the words we want to use shoot up themselves— we get a new song' (qtd. in Halifax, 1979). The 'enlightened wisdom' of a spiritual being seems to express itself without the conscious effort of the recipient, the person through whom it is speaking. All it requires is that the person be willing to be the vehicle of expression, (p. 34) Like stories, ceremonies offer pathways to understanding Indigenous knowledge(s) - pathways that provide connections to the spirit, the heart, and the mind. They too are critical to children's growth and development as fully participating citizens of their communities and collectives. 3.2.5 Symbols Indigenous knowledge(s) may also be learned from symbols. Kawagley (1995) suggests that art is a symbol that makes an idea clear for a group of people. He states that "the making of masks is an expression of what one has experienced through one of the many levels of thinking. It is bringing into a tangible level the experience. Art is the essence of this" (p. 33). Pueblo people express their worldview through their art, particularly their pottery (Cajete, 1994). In art forms such as Pueblo pottery, we are reminded of our connection with those things that give life to ourselves and our community. The creation of pottery, or any traditional art form among Indigenous people is filled with understanding of relationship. For Pueblo people, pottery is a prayer realized in physical form. Every step in the traditional making of pottery is a reflection of who Pueblo people are and their respect for life. (p. 185) 12 The word "Eskimo" is a colonial term for the Inuit peoples of the north. In some cases, individuals prefer to be identified using the colonial names of the past as did myMoshum (grandfather). He referred to himself as an Indian, ignoring the current-day terms of First Nations, Aboriginal, or Indigenous. 71 Storm (1972) describes the Medicine Wheel, another symbol used to convey Indigenous knowledge(s), writing that "the Medicine Wheel can best be understood if you think of it as a mirror in which everything is reflected: 'The Universe is the Mirror of the People,' the old Teachers tell us, 'and each person is a Mirror to every other person'" (p. 5). He explains the powers of the Medicine Wheel are one of the first teachings a child learns. The teachings of the Medicine Wheel include these: To the North on the Medicine Wheel is found Wisdom. The Color of the Wisdom of the North is White, and its Medicine Animal is the Buffalo. The south is represented by the Sign of the Mouse, and its Medicine Color is Green. The South is the place of Innocence and Trust, and for perceiving closely our nature heart. In the West is the Sign of the Bear. The West is the Look-Within Place, which speaks to the Introspective nature of man. The Color of this Place is Black The East is marked by the Sign of the Eagle. It is the Place of Illumination, where we can see things clearly far and wide. Its Color is the gold of the Morning Star. (p. 6) In this context of being, Storm writes, "After each of us has learned of our Beginning Gift, our First Place on the Medicine Wheel, we then must Grow by Seeking Understanding in each of the Four Great Ways. Only in this way can we become Full, capable of Balance and Decision in what we do" (p. 6). These symbols and art forms provide more pathways to learning Indigenous knowledge(s) for children as they come to know and realize their gifts individually within their collective. 3.2.6 Revelation Other Indigenous scholars focus on coming to understand Indigenous knowledge(s) through dreams and visions, or through "revealed knowledge." Brant Castellano (2000) writes that dreams and visions are timeless and "understood to be spiritual in origin" (p. 24). She claims "constant testing of knowledge in the context of current reality creates the applications that 72 make timeless truths relevant to each generation" (p. 24). Brody (1988) documents the lives of the Beaver Indians and their ability to dream, to dream of the hunt, of trails, of trails to heaven (pp. 45-46). However, he writes: ... today it is hard to find men who can dream this way. There are too many problems. Too much drinking. Too little respect. People are not good enough now. Maybe there will again be strong dreamers when these problems are overcome. Then more maps will be made. New maps. Oh yes, Indians made maps. (p. 45) Like Brody, Kawagley (1995) writes of shamans and others with no specific training other than having the ability to vision and dream: Shamans were trained to have visions via a pot of water, through an animal's eyes, through a star, and other means. These abilities were referred to as Tangruak or "pretend to see," and the visions were often brought to fruition. Dreams often told of the future, especially with respect to an individual's impending death. The shaman could tell by the picture or aura of a sick person whether he or she would be ill for a long time, get well, or die. (p. 32) Children are not exempt from visions and dreams. 3.2.7 Empirical knowledge Empirical knowledge is derived from information gained through the senses, through experience. Little Bear (2000) states that "the only things I know for sure are the things I experience, see, feel, and so on. The rest of it is presumption and persuasion" (p. 85). Brant Castallano (2000) drawing upon Waldram describes empirical knowledge(s) as being: ... created from many observations by many persons over extended time periods. 'This information processing forms a constant loop in which new information is interpreted in the context of existing information, and revisions to the state of knowledge concerning a particular phenomenon are made when necessary.' (p. 23) Kawagley (1995) argues that the quest for knowledge is "sought through the use of the five physical senses, well sprinkled with intuition" (p. 18). He also writes of Elders and 73 others talking about the conditions of their environment, that is, their observations of the environment and when there were times of plenty and times of scarcity: "Nature would give them the indicators, as long as they were willing to observe, learn, and apply knowledge to ensure the continuation of the people" (p. 32). He includes serendipitous discoveries in his discussion, such as, for example, that polar bear fur is good for absorbing radiant energy (p. 33). Taken together, these ways of coming to understand Indigenous knowledge(s) are what he claims Yupiaq knowledge was based on: "a blending of the pragmatic, inductive, and spiritual realms" (p. 33). I am reminded of Mary Thomas's teachings in which she describes and identifies edible and non-edible plants and medicines. I asked her once how she knew all these things. She said her grandmother and mother began teaching her when she was just a little girl and continued to teach her throughout her life. I asked, "How did your mother and grandmother know?" She said, "In the old days, they used to watch the animals and what they ate and didn't eat; other information was passed to them from their ancestors and their own experiences." As I reflect on this story and experience with Mary, I am reminded of how children were taught— through stories of life that were connected to the land and everyday experience. This was her experience with her grandmother, and my experience with Mary. 3.3 Closing comments Understanding Indigenous knowledge (s) and its place in our lives likewise allows us to understand its place in the lives of children. The relationship between Indigenous knowledge(s) and the care and education of children is critical when one considers children and their development, particularly of their identity. This individual and collective identity development maybe conceptualized as being ultimately tied to the perpetuation of cultures 74 themselves. The nature and processes inherent in Indigenous knowledge(s) provide opportunity and elements that constitute the 'good care' of children and that maybe also used to inform a theoretical and policy framework for First Nations early childhood programming in Canada. The fundamental role of language to Indigenous knowledge (s), and thus to children's learning, is of primary significance. Other elements include stories; ceremonies including feasting, songs, and dances; experiences through the senses; and revelations through dreams and visions. Each element has the potential to provide a tangible connection to the past, to the values and protocols of their cultures and knowledge systems. While these elements constitute the cultural markers that map the teachings and learning important for children and their care, how we view children also impacts their 'good care'. The early childhood setting becomes the context in which children are embedded and where they become sites of cultural transmission. With this in mind, one of the greatest challenges facing early childhood caregivers is to take principles of Indigenous knowledge and actualize them in current practice. This is a topic I explore in later chapters. 75 CHAPTER FOUR A Chronicle of Undertaking this Study OPENING The kitchen was warm when I walked into the house. Off to the left sat an electric frying pan and you could hear the fat sizzling within it. Straight ahead of me was a large rectangular kitchen table, with a wood stove nearby. It was just about suppertime and Rose's older sister was preparing caribou meat. I knew this from the fresh hindquatter leaning out of the sink. I had not met Rose's father, but I had heard many stories about him. Rose introduced us. He was no longer a young man, but I could feel the strength still in his grip as we shook hands. I felt the look of his eyes as we sat down after much excitement about our arrival. Rose's home was located in one of the northernmost reserves in Alberta; it was late fall and we were glad to be indoors. I had come to visit Rose's father - to hear him speak of his childhood and how his parents and family cared for him many years ago. We sat at the kitchen table and shared stories of our travels and the things we had done over the past few weeks. I should say that Rose shared the stories; I only added to them when she called upon me to do so. Mostly I listened, and watched, and learned. Her father and family spoke of other family members, how soon the winter would come, and the goings on in the community. Sometimes we sat in silence, thinking about what was being said. At some point, the fat in the frying pan stopped sizzling. Somewhere in our discussions, Rose had woven in the general purpose of our visit and how that fit with what we had been doing for the past few weeks. She turned to me and asked me to explain the specifics of our project to her father. At some point the other family members had moved away from the table and only Rose, her father, and I remained. I spoke of our project— its purpose, usefulness to the community, confidentiality, and ownership of information. In the warmth of the kitchen, in relationship with Rose and her father, it felt strange to speak of these things, as if they had no place there, as if we were insulting our relationship by speaking of them aloud. As Rose's father began to speak of his childhood, we stepped back into relationship, into visiting: I heard the sizzling of the fat begin once more. 76 4.1 Introduction Indigenous peoples have experienced Euro-western research processes since the arrival of Europeans in the Americas. Research, although not new to Indigenous peoples, has often historically and contemporarily been undertaken on and about them - not by them, for them. Indigenous scholar, Vine Deloria, (1969) writes of anthropologists in the 1960s: the implications of the anthropologist, if not for all America, should be clear for the Indian. Compilation of useless knowledge "for knowledge's sake" should be utterly rejected by the Indian people. We should not be objects of observation for those who do nothing to help us. (p. 98) Some 30 years later Charles Menzies (2001) wrote "it is unfortunate that there are still many researchers who continue to conduct research on Aboriginal peoples as opposed to with us" (p. 21). Menzies, like others, argues that: despite nearly four decades of debate over the impossibility of objective research and the importance of a researcher's subjective location, the academic establishment still values dispassionate and "clear-headed" science above personal testimony and experience.... Although my personal experience does not privilege my voice it does allow me to see the impact of a colonial research ideology that puts the accumulation of knowledge ahead of the interests of the people studied (p. 20). He also reminds Indigenous academics of their responsibilities, insisting that they understand they are affiliated with mainstream institutions and located in places of power within dominant society. From this position of power, he cautions Indigenous researchers not to "expand the power and knowledge of dominant society at the expense of the colonized and the excluded [warning that] to deny the colonial legacy by not adapting our research projects to accommodate Aboriginal concerns is to participate in the colonial project itself" (p. 22). With these individual warnings, and in spite of significant structural challenges, Indigenous research approaches have emerged and continue to do so within the academy. These approaches challenge Euro-western paradigms, offering ways that take into account 77 the impact of colonialism and Eurocentrism on Indigenous peoples and in doing so, recognize and legitimize Indigenous ways of knowing and being within the academy. Linda Smith's (1999) seminal work, Decolonizing Methodologies, highlights the importance of understanding the impact of imperialism and colonization on Indigenous peoples and research, advocating for the decolonization of Euro-western research processes. Cree scholar Shawn Wilson (2008) draws upon Steinhauer's (2001) work to illuminate a fourth category of research, one that is independent of Western scientific methodologies and one that articulates methodologies and methods anchored in Indigenous knowledge(s). His recent work also offers an Indigenous research paradigm characterized by a foundation of Indigenous ontology, epistemology, axiology and methodology. He argues that these concepts are interrelated and defines ontology as the relationship one has with an object. He claims that the essence of Indigenous knowledge systems or epistemologies is the understanding that multiple relationships make up reality, and that this reality is derived from thinking of the world as a web of connections and relationships where nothing can be without relationship. Axiology and methodology, according to Wilson, are based on relational accountability. He argues that "what is more important and meaningful [than right or wrong, validity, significance or worthiness] is fulfilling a role and obligations in the research relationship - that is being accountable to your relations" (p. 77). Methodologies flowing from this paradigm are ones that preserve and foster positive relationships by employing such principles as respect, relevance, reciprocity, and responsibility. Indigenous research paradigms, including Wilson's, also offer sites of resistance, transformation, and change within the academy and beyond. This research study stands with these works in its desire to support transformation and change, in this case for First Nations children, their families and their communities. 78 In this chapter I consider the methods and methodology of this project. Specifically, I situate the research within an Indigenous research paradigm characterized by beliefs and values derived from Indigenous ways of knowing and being. At the onset of the chapter, I discuss the overarching theoretical principles (respect, reciprocity, relevance and responsibility) that guide this study and also guide the methodology and methods employed. These considerations appear in the second section "Chronicling my journey" and their implementation is evident throughout this chapter. I then present a description of the case study approach, along with a rationale for why it was selected as the most appropriate strategy for gaining information about the 'good care' of children. This is followed by a discussion about research participants and my role in the information gathering process. An integral part of applying these methods was the integration of cultural protocols. Consequently, I describe the methodology and methods, including cultural protocols of this study, through story- a story that identifies the strategies and methods, chronicles the process of undertaking the work, and makes explicit the beliefs, values, and theoretical principles guiding the study. I allow the chronology of the research activities to dictate the story's structure. Finally, I examine the qualitative methods for data collection which aligned with a case study approach. Specifically, I talk about individual interviews, focus groups, observations, document reviews, and audio-visual tape reviews. In the third section, data review and analysis follows the story with a brief discussion of accuracy, consistency, and relational accountability relative to this research. I conclude the chapter by reflecting on what I learned undertaking this study. 79 4.2 Chronicling my journey To undertake this research I drew upon the teachings of Elders, my family, and my academic education. I also drew upon my experience working with Indigenous communities, including knowing that communities have distinct protocols that I had to learn about in order to establish the relationships necessary to undertake the work. 4.2.1 Descriptive case studies I began this study believing that a descriptive case study approach was the most appropriate research strategy for undertaking this project given the phenomenon that I wanted to leam about and the nature of the research questions. In 1985, Lincoln and Guba wrote that while there are many references to case studies in the literature, there is little agreement about what a case study is. They identified different kinds of case studies as: 1) those that have different purposes, for example a chronicle of events or a document to teach with; 2) those that are written at different analytical levels that are factual, interpretive or evaluative; 3) those that demand different action from the researcher; and 4) those that result in different products (p. 361). Three years later, Merriam's (1988) Case Study Research in Education defined a qualitative case study as "an intensive, holistic description and analysis of a single entity, phenomenon, or social unit. Case studies are particularistic, descriptive and heuristic and rely heavily on inductive reasoning in handling multiple data sources" (p. 16). She adds that while case studies can accommodate multiple methods of information gathering, they are anchored in real life situations. This anchoring leads to rich and holistic accounts of a phenomenon (p. 21). Merriam explains further that qualitative research, including the case study approach, also assumes there are multiple realities defined by personal interaction and perception. 80 These perceptions are based on beliefs, rather than facts, gathered through observation, intuition, and a sense of the natural setting (p. 17). Stake (2000) applies Merriam's multiple realities, arguing that defining a case is not independent of the paradigm in which it is situated. In fact, depending on the worldview or situation, the same case maybe seen differently depending on the audience's orientation (p. 449). He thus adds to case study description and definition, asserting that "a case study is both a process of inquiry about the case and the product of the inquiry" (p. 436). In this research study, I drew largely upon Merriam's (1988) case study work in education partly because of its kinship with early childhood education but, more importantly, for its ability to take into account distinct paradigms. In the case of my research, this includes Indigenous ways of knowing and being, diverse contexts, and individual and collective perceptions of the world. This rationale also considers Wilson's (2008) argument for use of methods that maybe borrowed from other suitable research paradigms so long as the methods fit the ontology, epistemology, and axiology of the Indigenous paradigm. He advises that "some methods and strategies have inherent in them more relationship building and relational accountability and therefore maybe more attractive in an Indigenous paradigm" (p. 39). The case study approach employed in this research provides opportunity for relationship building and relational accountability. This approach afforded me a way to develop a rich narrative about Indigenous knowledge(s) and reflections on early childhood programs (particularly their structures, policies, and practices) with community members and others. Furthermore, the approach was respectful, relevant, and useful to them. Finally, and not to be underestimated, was the fact that past experience has taught me that this approach is familiar and acceptable to many Indigenous communities. 81 4.2.2 Research participants Selection of research sites, and the choosing of individual participants within those sites, took into account several considerations. One of those considerations was Merriam's (1988) 'purposeful sampling.' This technique is sampling based on the assumption that one must "select a sample from which one can learn the most" (p. 48). Two distinct Indigenous groups, located in Canada and Aotearoa / New Zealand, were thus selected. Research participants were drawn from First Nations and Maori communities that had established early childhood programs and displayed evidence of language and cultural practices. In Canada, two Carrier First Nations sites located within the traditional territory of the Carrier people of north-central British Columbia were selected. In Aotearoa / New Zealand, two Tuhoe Maori sites located in the central area of the North Island - one on Tuhoe territory (Tawhaki Te Kohanga Reo - rural Ruatoki) and the other on Ngati Ana territory, although the site taught and was oriented to the Tuhoe language (Te Tumaanako Kohanga Reo Kawerau) - were selected. The Carrier peoples have established early childhood programs: a child care program (Lake Babine Nation Day Care) and a Head Start program (Tl'azt'en Head Start Program). These two sites also exhibit use of the Carrier language and continue to implement the bahlats (potlatch or governance) system in their communities. The Tuhoe Maori peoples have established Te Kohanga Reo (the language nest) programs throughout their territories, are strong in the language, and engage in the practices of the marae (sacred gathering place). From these four research sites, a total of 63 Elders (Kaumaatua), caregivers, and/or teachers, parents, key informants, and community members participated in this research (Table 4.1). 82 Table 4.1: Number of Research Participants by Role and Locale Country Key Informants Elders Parents Caregivers / Teachers Total Canada 9» 7 22 6 44 Aotearoa / New Zealand 414 5 4 6 19 Research participants were selected for their knowledge and expertise in Indigenous early childhood practice, policy, and service delivery within community, at a regional and national level. Key informants were those individuals whose role and/or positions included Canadian federal government early childhood program officers, Canadian provincial Aboriginal non-government organizations engaged in the implementation of provincial early childhood programs, senior community administrators, and knowledgeable community members. In Aotearoa / New Zealand, key informants were knowledgeable of regional and national development and implementation of Te Kohanga Reo. Elders and parents who participated were directly, or had been directly, involved in the respective programs, while caregivers/teachers were currently involved in the programs. Elders were also selected given their role within the collective - as keepers of cultural knowledge including the care of children. 4.2.3 My role as a researcher entering the research process Undertaking this study demanded an awareness and understanding of both the phenomenon being studied and the ways in which information was to be gathered. The study also 13 Key informants in Canada included individuals from national, provincial/regional and community perspectives. 14 Key informants in Aotearoa / New Zealand included individuals whose expertise included knowledge of the regional and national development and implementation of Te Kohanga Reo. 83 demanded that I play different roles throughout the process. Some of these roles are identified by Stake (1995) as teacher and interpreter, while I also add learner, fellow community member, and peer. My role as teacher was evident, for example, when asked by community members about recent political or policy shifts or current practices. In writing the case study report, I was an interpreter offering different ways of viewing or seeing a phenomenon through words. In this way, I felt much like an artist who paints an interpretation of the world for others to, in turn, connect with and interpret in their own way. I was also a learner in this study. I am both a member of the Indigenous collective and thus, in most venues of the research, a peer with those I was interacting with. These latter roles respond more directly to Stake's discussion of relativity where he maintains that the most important choice a researcher will make is how much they will be themselves and how much that role will be determined by the immediate circumstances. Stake insists that whatever role a researcher chooses, it should be "an ethical choice, an honest choice" (p. 103). What is important in this role shifting is awareness of self and the role needed in a particular context. For all of these reasons, it was important to know and be myself throughout this research process while at the same time taking on different roles. This was especially important in cultural ceremonies and activities. To be other than myself would be disrespectful of me and others; I would be denying my own integrity and a collective way of knowing and being which are, in turn, intricately connected to the theoretical principles underlying this study. Indigenous scholar Cora Weber-Pillwax (2001) insists that personal integrity is a critical attribute of a researcher. She describes personal integrity as being "based on how [she] contextualizes herself in the planet, with the rest of all living things" (p. 168). In this 84 way, the researcher is in relationship with all aspects of the research. To not have integrity, then, would be a denial of the relationships I was engaged in throughout this research. Wilson (2008) affirms this understanding, writing that researchers are not objective and outside of the research relationship but are embedded within it. He argues that the more relationships researchers have between themselves and the phenomenon being studied, the more fully they can comprehend and understand it (p. 79). However, engaging in these relationships brings with it a responsibility, in this case a responsibility that comes with bringing a new idea into being (or articulating/making visible an existing one) within a context that respects all other relationships. It is this responsibility to ensure respectful and reciprocal relationships that becomes the axiologyor the measure of a person's integrity in making the connections (p. 79). Entering the data collection phase of this research, I was also reminded of the advice of Indigenous scholars like Smith (1999) who offers codes of conduct to follow: 1) respecting people, 2) presenting yourself to people face-to-face, 3) looking, listening . . . speaking, 4) generously sharing and hosting people, 5) being cautious, 6) not trampling over the mana (spirit) of people, and 7) not flaunting your knowledge (p. 120). I revisit my experiences undertaking this research later in this chapter. 4.2.4 Entering the community sites: Community guides and protocols Community guides are respected members of their communities who are knowledgeable of both the ways of the community and the community's early childhood programs. They taught me about their communities prior to entering them and travelled with me as I engaged with their communities. Their presence provided me with a cloak of credibility by virtue of our relationship, and I accepted the responsibility of those relationships. I had a relationship with these individuals prior to undertaking this study, and it was because of 85 these relationships that I was able to engage them in undertaking this study with me. Wilson (2008) identifies this process as a cultural practice that includes proper protocols for building healthy relationships. He states that: One important Indigenous research practice is the use of family, relations or friends as intermediaries in order to garner contact with participants. This use of intermediaries has practical uses in establishing rapport with research participants and placing the researcher within a circle of relations. This in turn enforces the accountability of the researcher, as they are responsible not only to themselves but also to the circle of relations, (p. 129) To enter each community in a respectful way, I learned protocols necessary for gaining entrance. My relationship and the teaching that Tina Ngaroimata Fraser, a Maori woman of the Tuhoe people, gave me was critical to my ability to work in Aoteoroa/New Zealand and her people. Appendix 1 contains a brief description of the process involved in securing permission to undertake research with the Tuhoe peoples, as written by Tina. Appendix 2 contains the letter I wrote to Tina's father, Mr. Richard Ranapia Tamehana, a Tuhoe prominent leader, and copies of the response letters I have since received from Dr. T. Black and Mr. J. Tamehana giving me permission to visit their land and their people and to learn from them. In a like manner, I had the guidance of friends and colleagues in approaching individual communities within the Carrier Nations (in Canada), in particular the support and help of Monty Palmantier, Warner Adam, and Yolanda Spenst. In some regards, I had my own relationships with members of the community through my work in early childhood education. When approaching the Lake Babine Nation, I sent an initial e-mail to the Chief and head counselor identifying the question I was seeking to answer and asking for direction about how to approach the nation in a respectful way in order to obtain their reactions to my study question and to ascertain whether or not they would like to participate in the study. 86 Upon receiving their response, I prepared a briefing note and a Band Council Resolution (BCR) and presented them to the Chief and Council (see Appendix 3 for copies of the Briefing Note and BCR). The study received unanimous support from the Lake Babine Nation Chief and Council. It is significant to note that some points of discussion focused on ownership of the findings and this resulted in agreement on joint ownership of any publications resulting from this dissertation. When entering the Tl'azt'en Nation, a similar process was followed. It began with a meeting between the band manager, senior research and program administrators, Monty Palmantier and me. Like Lake Babine Nation, I received a BCR and also agreed to adhere to the ethical guidelines of the community (see Appendix 4 for the BCR and ethical guidelines). These formal processes of entering First Nations in Canada were possible because of both formal and informal relationships I had established at individual and collective levels. Throughout this study, awareness and respect for community (including the relevance of the study to them) was at the forefront. In addition to these collective community-specific protocols, specific UBC ethical research requirements also demanded proof of community permission to allow the study to occur as well as agreement by individuals to participate in it. These ethical requirements also focused on ensuring that individual study participants were completely informed and aware of what they were consenting to in the study (see Appendix 5 for introductory letters and consent forms). 4.2.5 Gathering information: Qualitative research methods Qualitative data-gathering methods, which in this project involved individual and group interviews, observations, document reviews, and audio-visual tape reviews, were employed in this study. Using multiple methods to collect information is considered one of the strengths 87 of a case study approach (Creswell, 1998; Stake, 1995; Yin, 2003). Merriam (1988) suggests that "the depth and detail of qualitative data can only be obtained by 'getting close,' physically and psychologically to the phenomenon understudy" (p. 68). She also argues that "interviewing is necessary when we cannot observe behaviour, feelings or how people interpret the world around them" (p. 72). Individual or group interviews offer opportunity for conversations with a purpose (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). I prefer to understand the interviews as 'visiting' because, in addition to addressing the purpose of the study, visiting is an 'everyday' cultural process of interaction that fosters relationships based on equity and common commitment to the topics of discussion. These conversations allow entry into another person's perspective and to get close to the phenomenon for which information is being sought, in this case, the development of early childhood services, care of children, and policies and legislation that impact children's care and the services designed to serve them. Interviewees in this study were informed following the UBC ethical guidelines. Sufficient time was allowed to discuss any questions raised by study participants or clarify any necessary points. Community guides assisted by clarifying and translating when needed. In-depth semi-structured interviews were used in this research, taking into account interviewer knowledge of the subject, including an awareness of what is not known about the topic and of cultural attributes unique to the cases being studied. My background knowledge and experience in early childhood practice and policy led me to view my relationship with the majority of interviewees as that of a peer. However, in most cases I was regarded first as a fellow Indigenous person and second, as a researcher with all of its various roles. This regard of my Indigeneity though was not automatic, particularly when working across cultures. This affirmation is bestowed by the community 88 and its members. The concept, then, of being an insider from one perspective (sharing an Indigenous identity) but still an outsider to the community assumes some level of collective experience and/or knowledge, but not necessarily specific cultural community knowledge and protocol. Specific questions designed to guide individual and group interviews and discussions were developed for each group of study participants (Elders, community administrators, parents, early childhood educators, community members, and key informants) who were knowledgeable about early childhood programs at the community, regional, and/or national levels. The community questions were piloted with community members, early childhood caregivers, and parents from the local Aboriginal Head Start program to ascertain their relevance and meaningfulness for interviewees. Based on the responses, the questions and the way in which they were asked were revised. The questions were further revised after they were reviewed by community guides from the respective study sites (see Appendix 6 for final versions of interview and focus group instruments). Although the wording and manner in which the questions were asked were modified to account for cultural and protocol differences, the essence of the questions remained the same. Implementation of these methods required unique processes such as adherence to distinct protocols, 'visiting', participation of community guides, gifting, and giving back, all of which were intended to demonstrate respect, reciprocity, and responsibility. In addition to these individual and focus group interviews, I also made observations (which I have written in Chapters Six and Seven), reviewed program policy documents that are evidenced in the case studies (Chapters Six and Seven and in Chapter Five, 'Setting the Context'), and made use of audio-visual tapes of the Tuhoe Aruhei, as described in Chapter Seven. 89 It should also be noted that storing and use of the research participant's information adhered to the University of British Columbia Ethics Guidelines. These guidelines emphasize confidentiality, cultural safety, and future uses of the information gathered. Likewise, use of participant information also adhered to the First Nations agreements identified earlier in this chapter. 4.2.6 Gathering information: Cultural processes (community guides, visiting and stories, gifting and giving back) I reached back in my experience to recall the teachings of myMoshum (Grandfather) who used to take me visiting. This visiting was characterized by the development of respectful, reciprocal interactions, the kinds of interactions that I needed to build in this study. Visiting generally took place in community members' homes or in a place of their choice. Visiting always included an explanation of what I was trying to learn or accomplish. Such was the case in this study. In most instances, visits occurred in the early childhood settings or in individuals' homes with the community guides present. The guides assisted in establishing the relationship between me and the interviewee(s). They provided introductions, translation, and assistance in explaining questions when needed. Our visits began with conversations on important topics such as our families, the weather, and the land. These were followed by an explanation of what I was trying to learn. I also sought participants' permission to audio-tape and/or record in written notes the information we were going to be talking about. In most cases, snippets of information were given to me throughout our whole visit, which meant I needed to listen well the entire time. While I had developed questions to guide our conversations, inherent in seeking responses was the sharing of stories. The act of telling stories or storytelling is one of the processes through which Indigenous knowledge (s) is passed from generation to generation (Hampton, 90 1995; Little Bear, 2000; Cruikshank, 1990; Sterling, 2002). According to Little Bear (2000), storytelling is a very important part of the educational process. It is through stories that customs and values are taught and shared. Sterling (2002) writes that "like the grandmothers before us we can create lessons built on experience and storytelling to transmit knowledge and skills, cultural pride, and self-confidence" (p. 5). In fact, according to King (2003), "[t]he truth about stories is that that's all we are. 'You can't understand the world without telling a story,' the Anishinabe writer Gerald Vizenor tells us. "There isn't any centre to the world but a story"' (p. 32). In most Aboriginal societies, there are hundreds of stories of real-life experiences, spirits, creation, customs, and values (Little Bear, 2000), and this was the reality for this study as well. I needed to be patient as I listened to Elders, parents, and early childhood caregivers offer their stories. It was highlighted to me once again that even though I had focused on the interwoven questions, the dialogue around the stories were paramount - it was part of developing the relationships and understandings of each other. These stories of life experience and the collective pasts were offered during these visits rather than being elicited. The questions acted as catalysts to explicitly and implicitly encourage purposeful stories of the development of early childhood services, care of children, and legislation (see Appendix 6 for the specific questionnaires). All aspects of the process, including listening to the stories, engaging where appropriate, and the way in which questions were asked, were grounded in a fundamental belief in the centrality of relationship. Visiting is about respect and reciprocity. It is about learning and showing patience. I showed respect by preparing for my visits by learning about the people, their land, and their protocols as best I could as an outsider; by listening with my head and my heart in their presence; and by observing and being attentive to their non-verbal teaching. I, in turn, 91 received respectful behaviour, ideas, and teaching. This respect and reciprocity for each other laid the foundation for trusting, lasting relationships that allowed us, in the moment, to work together, to collaborate toward a common goal. A related aspect of respect and reciprocity within the process of visiting is the concept of gifting. There are different cultural reasons for gifting. Gifting, as Elders have taught me, is to show honour, respect, and generosity. It is not meant to be payment for a service rendered but, instead, understood as a way of showing individuals and groups my recognition and appreciation, in this case, for their contribution of knowledge, experience, and time to this study. I offered gifts at the end of our visits to participants as an outward expression of this gratitude. Through their stories they allowed me to glimpse their realities and perceptions so that I could better understand. A follow up step in the research relationship was to return the transcripts and /or recorded notes to each participant for their review (with an eye to accuracy) and to provide an opportunity for individuals to add further comments. This process of purposeful giving back occurred a second time as the dissertation was being drafted for their review, and will occur one final time when this dissertation is complete. Visiting with Elders is unique by virtue of their special role and status within the community. Elders in many communities are considered the repositories of cultural knowledge, wise teachers, and leaders of the community. I had been taught by my Cree Moshum (Grandfather) protocols for inviting Elders to share their knowledge. This involves cultural gifting and a move to a spiritual place. Although this protocol was unique to Cree culture, I employed it in many of the communities I worked with in this research. Face to face, Elders from these communities understood the spiritual significance of my gesture as 92 displaying respect and honour for their role in the community, their stories, and their collective knowledge. Food was also an important aspect of visiting - of reciprocity. In almost every community meeting (with both individuals and groups), there was a time to share food with each other. In some cases, the sharing of food was meant to welcome and honour me as a guest in their territory. The sharing of food was also a collective time when we came together to laugh and get to know each other by sharing personal stories of who we are. In community, I came to understand that sharing food is also about connection and relationship. It is about being hospitable and showing a reciprocal respect for each other. Reflecting on these cultural processes (of employing community guides, visiting and stories, gifting, giving back and hospitality), including where I learned them and how they were used in this study, brings with it an awareness of their connection and reflection of Indigenous ways of knowing and being. It specifically highlights the theoretical principles underlying this study. 4.3 Reviewing and analyzing the information gathered I began the analysis by reviewing my initial research questions: 1) What are some of the attributes that Indigenous peoples and communities identify as necessary for the 'good care' of their children? 2) How do government and community strategies and policies guide the development and implementation of First Nations-specific early childhood programs? 93 3) How can the development and implementation of Te Kohanga Reo in Aotearoa / New Zealand inform the development and implementation of early childhood programs and services within a framework for change in the Canadian context? As much as possible, data analysis was undertaken throughout the research process with the bulk of analysis completed following data collection. Analysis is both descriptive and interpretive, and considers the original purpose of the research and the questions to be answered. The data gathered was first reviewed and categorized, taking into account recurring themes, credibility of categories with participants, uniqueness, and specific anomalies (Merriam, 1985). Conceptual categories, that is, categories evident from the data but not the data itself, were then developed. These conceptual categories include identity, the tension between language and culture, community and provincial licensing, success and utility and self determination. This development also involved interpreting the meaning of the data. The analyzed data from each case were given to individual participants from each of the respective communities and to the community guides for review and feedback, particularly in ensuring the accuracy of data analysis and interpretation. The analysis of the data also sought to build broad philosophical or structural constructs that would reach across the case studies. Yin (2003) writes that in multiple case studies, one attempts to build general explanations across cases even though they differ in their details. Besides these categories, analysis in this study involved understanding the context and its impact on each community and early childhood program. The cross-case analysis focused on its original intent, which was to learn from the experience of others by identifying those broad structural and philosophical constructs that inform both case settings. 94 4.3.1 Accuracy, consistency and relational accountability To ensure the accuracy (internal validity) and consistency (reliability) of the information presented in this study, I looked to strategies appropriate to case study approaches (that is qualitative research). Trianguktion is one strategy that address both accuracy and consistency by responding to how well the study findings match the perspectives - reality and experience - of study participants and how consistent those responses are across the methods used. Merriam (1988) explains that trianguktion is a strategy that takes into account the fundamental strength of case studies, that is, the opportunity to use multiple methods, stating that "the flaws of one method are often the strengths of another, and by combining methods observers can achieve the best of each, while overcoming their unique deficiencies" (p. 69). Cresswell (1998) writes that the trianguktion process involves "corroborating evidence from different sources to shed light on a theme or perspective"(p. 202). Strategies offered by Merriam and Cresswell, and ones that I used to address accuracy and consistency, occurred throughout the study process. These included: (a) employing different methods such as focus group interviews, individual interviews, document reviews and audio-visual tape reviews; (b) inviting study participants to review the data and findings; (c) checking interpretations with community advisors and colleagues; (d) clarifying my own perspectives, stance, and assumptions (researcher bias); and (e) including community as much as possible throughout the research. Evidence of these strategies maybe found in earlier sections of this chapter and within the case study reports themselves—Chapters Six and Seven. These strategies also fit within a broader Indigenous research paradigm, within the construct of relational accountability. 95 Relational accountability plays a fundamental role in this study. This construct is embedded in an Indigenous worldview and considers the obligations of researchers to their relationships within the research process. Wilson (2008) argues that: Right or wrong: validity; statistically significant; worthy or unworthy: value judgements loose their meaning. What is more important and meaningful is fulfilling a role and obligations in the research relationship— that is, being accountable to your relations.... The knowledge that the researcher interprets must be respectful of and help to build the relationships that have been established through the process of finding out information. Furthermore the Indigenous researcher has a vested interest in the integrity of the methodology (respectful) and the usefulness of the results if they are to be of any use in the Indigenous community (reciprocity), (p. 77) This accountability occurs in all aspects of the study in the design of the project, in individual interactions, in learning collective cultural protocols, in coming to understand the knowledge offered, in being accountable to the people with whom and for whom this study was undertaken, and so on. I am reminded of my earlier discussion about researcher integrity and the necessity for this relational accountability, and the responsibility that goes with taking on such a project. There are times when I feel overwhelmed. 4.4 Closing comments I close this section by identifying some of the challenges or concerns leveled against case study approaches. Case studies are often criticized for their inability to provide scientific generalizations. By definition, case studies are contextual and individualistic. As such, they offer opportunities for powerful exploration and description, but the findings they generate are not scientifically generalizable to the broader population (Yin, 2003). Yin does however argue that: case studies like experiments are generalizable to theoretical propositions and not to populations or universes. In this sense, the case study, like the experiment does not represent a "sample" and in doing a case study, your 96 goal will be to expand and generalize theories (analytic generalization) and not to enumerate frequencies (statistical generalization), (pp. 10-11) Another concern expressed about case studies is the fact that they are time consuming, complex, and difficult. They demand a high level of knowledge (for example, of methods and of specific topics) and skill from the researcher. In this study, knowledge and understanding of Indigenous ways of knowing and being, including established relationships, were also necessary requirements for its successful implementation. Undertaking this research, apart from being successful in achieving the purpose of this study, also enhanced my learning as a researcher. In some cases this learning affirmed my understanding and in others, deepened my knowledge of a particular aspect of the process. These areas included clarification of the relationship between the theoretical principles guiding this study and the realization of those principles in the methodology of this study. Examples of this realization are evidenced in earlier sections of this chapter. These principles also form the foundation for the claim that this study is anchored in Indigenous ways of knowing and being, and therefore employs an Indigenous paradigm for undertaking research. This understanding is also congruent with my own view of reality. Undertaking this work has led to a much deeper comprehension of my own Indigeniety and as a result, has impacted overall understanding of my research topic including the methodology. This learning has also allowed me to explore the interface of research paradigms oriented to diverse worldviews. As a result I am even more resolved in positioning this descriptive case study approach within a larger Indigenous research paradigm. And as I reflected upon this experience, I heard the sizzling of the fat begin once more. 97 CHAPTER FIVE Setting the Context.. OPENING The schools alienated Aboriginal people from their culture by separating children from their families, forbidding them to speak their languages or to honour their traditions. This has taken a toll on succeeding generations. For example, one generation of children were punished for speaking their languages; when they became parents, they did not teach their children their native tongue, to protect them; the third generation was denied an opportunity to learn their languages, cultures, and traditions and is now attempting to recover that knowledge (Assembly of First Nations, Health Secretariat, 1998, p. 5). I am one of those children who were not taught their language. I can recall my Dad speaking fluent Cree when he drank, but never when he was sober. I remember watching him practice writing his name on little bits of paper, and we talked about handwriting and learning English in school. And he always said, "I write 'good English'" and "I speak 'good English'". And I knew that these comments were rooted in a much larger teaching, a teaching that taught him he was not as good as everyone else. And he accepted this, internalized it, and denied the identity of his birth. It saddens me to think of him denying who he was as an Indian person. In my head I understand why, but it is not so easy in my heart. I feel the depth of his sadness when I am asked if I know my language and I have to say "no." This comes in part from a deep and resonating understanding of how important language is to cultures and peoples, and in part from others, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, who seek to judge who is an Indian and who is not according to their own criteria. Much has been written about colonization, yet to live its impact is to know it to the depths of your being. 5.1 Introduction From the time of contact, the lives of Aboriginal peoples have been dominated by attempts to change their cultures, their ways of knowing and being— their very lives. Colonial processes and practices, both implicit and explicit, were implemented by non-Aboriginal 98 peoples who encountered Aboriginal peoples in North America. Residential schools (one of the most significant forms of colonial intervention) (RCAP, Vol.1,1996; Haig-Brown, 1991; Milloy, 1999), discriminatory land and territory allocations such as "Indian" reserves (Harris, 2002), and legal policies or laws such as the Indian Act and ongoing litigation findings that deny Aboriginal histories or claims15 (Armitage, 1995) were all pathways for implementing government assimilation policies. What is important to keep in mind is that these explicit interventions also perpetuated an attitude that Aboriginal peoples' social constructions are uncivilized, irrational, subordinate, and heathenistic (Raibmon, 2005). These colonial interventions and (reconstructions impacted Aboriginal families. Witness Duncan Campbell Scott, deputy superintendent of the Department of Indian Affairs between 1913 and 1932 wrote: The happiest future for the Indian race is absorption into the general [white] population, and this is the object of the policy of our government [and] 'great forces of intermarriage and education will finally overcome the lingering traces of native custom and tradition.' (Titley, 1986, p. 34) In Scott's statements, the collision of colonial agendas and Aboriginal families becomes transparent. As Emberley (2005) observes, the family was the site of paramount focus in imperialist and colonialist interventions during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: "The [Aboriginal] family emerged as a material force in the [colonial] destruction of kinship societies and their subordination, socially and economically, to the colonial and imperial nations" (n.p.). 15 For further information on the means through which Canada's legal system systematically negates Aboriginality, see for instance: Bell, G & Asch, M. (1997). "Challenging Assumptions: The Impact of Precedent in Aboriginal Rights Litigation". In M. Asch (Ed.) Aboriginal and Treaty Rights in Canada: Essays on Lay, Equality, and Respect for Difference (pp. 38-74). Vancouver: UBC Press; Green, J. (December 2001). "Canaries in the Minces of Citizenship: Indian Women in Canada". Canadian Journal of Political Science, 34:4. 715-38. 99 This chapter borrows from Armitage's (1995) six periods of Canadian Indian policy (Early Contact, Period of Royal Proclamation, Transition Period, Assimilation, Integration, and Self-Government Assertion) as a contextual backdrop to the emergence of First Nations-specific early childhood programs. The chapter draws upon the writings of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal scholars and policy analysts, statistical information garnered from both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal sources, and mainstream research on the quality care of children for those aspects and activities of social policy and subsequent program development that impact Aboriginal peoples. The importance of understanding this context and reality in which we currently find ourselves, is as great today as it was at the onset of colonization. It is this understanding that begins to fill in the canvases of our reality and reveals the threads that tie us to the past as we seek to create the future. Early childhood programs, as written in previous chapters, play an important role in children's lives through the very strategy that played such a significant role in the colonization and assimilation of past generations of children— education and care. Taken together, the sections of this chapter provide a glimpse of the policy and program context in which this study is located. 5.1.1 Contact, colonization, and assimilation First contact between Aboriginal peoples and Europeans was sporadic and occurred about a thousand years ago when Norsemen are believed to have landed and established a village in the northern parts of what is now Newfoundland. Intermittent contact between Aboriginal peoples occurred as European sailors came in search of natural resources such as fish, furs, and timber, and in the 1400s, a route to the Orient. These brief explorative voyages grew to longer encounters with Aboriginal peoples and by the time of Carrier's visits to the Maritimes and inland, trade patterns were being established. These early trade relationships between European and Aboriginal peoples were characterized by mutual cooperation and benefit, albeit sprinkled liberally with racist stereotypes (RCAP, Vol. 1,1996, pp. 99-100). Importantly, there was a balance of power between groups rather than the imbalance that came to define the process of settlement and land colonization (Fisher, 1992, pp. 96-7). By the 1700s, more immigrants were arriving and the simple numerical differences began to shift the balance of power between Aboriginal peoples and European immigrants. Colonial societies flourished; Aboriginal societies declined. The end of the 18th and early 19th centuries saw Aboriginal peoples subordinated to colonial governments and European ideologies. These ideologies stemmed from a scientific belief in the "evolutionary development of human beings from lesser to greater stages of civilization" (RCAP, Vol. 1, 1996, pp. 188) to beliefs in racial and cultural superiority in non-Aboriginal people. This period also saw the agendas of colonial governments move from protecting Indian peoples and their lands to "civilizing" and assimilating them: "It was a policy designed to move communities, and eventually all Aboriginal peoples, from their helpless 'savage' state to one of self-reliant 'civilization' and thus to make in Canada but one community— a non- Aboriginal Christian one" (RCAP, Vol. 1,1996, p. 333). One of the most paternalistic strategies taken to ensure the civilization and assimilation of Indians was education, but not just any education — education through residential schools. These schools received the complete support of the churches and the federal government, both of whom believed that they were "responding not only to a constitutional but to a Christian 'obligation to our Indian brethren' that could be discharged only'through the medium of the children'" (RCAP, Vol. 1,1996, p. 334). The socializing influence of residential schools made them more than just tools of social construction and control. In effect, the schools also played a larger role in nation building by marginalizing Indian peoples (RCAP, Vol. 1,1996, p. 334). 101 Through most of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Government of Canada intervened in Aboriginal families by removing the children and placing them in residential schools. These interventions were established in policy through the 1876 Indian Act and consolidated in 1879 by Nicolas Flood Davin's Report on Industrial Schools for Indians andHalf- Breeds, in which he noted that the "call of the wigwam" would only be circumvented with Aboriginal children's removal from families and their placement into long-term boarding schools that would provide the "care of a mother" in the form of "circles of civilized care." Residential schools were officially established in 1892 with a three-pronged vision of education (as a tool of assimilation): "first, a justification for removing children from their communities and disrupting Aboriginal families; second, a precise pedagogy for re- socializing children in the schools; and third, schemes for integrating graduates into the non- Aboriginal world" (RCAP, Vol. 1,1996, p. 337). The schools were concentrated in Western Canada and were implemented through a partnership between the federal government and churches (Assembly of First Nations [AFN], Ffcalth Secretariat, 1998, p. 9). Children aged 5-15 years (with some as young as three years) were removed from their families and homes and put into the residential schools. Families who resisted risked being charged under the Criminal Code. While some children returned home for the summer months, others stayed at the schools year-round. The curriculum offered in the residential schools generally focused on domestic skills for the girls and farm skills for the boys. This training was intended to meet the government's requirements to provide work-related training while at a practical level help defray the operating costs of the schools themselves (Haig-Brown, 1991, p. 69). Until 1946, approximately two hours of each day were spent on reading, mathematics, and composition. This was a far cry from the five hours of each day devoted to academics in schools for non- 102 Aboriginal peoples (Haig-Brown, 1991, p. 66). Nowhere in the curriculum was there evidence of the children's lives prior to coming to the schools (Armitage, 1995, p. 111). At age 16, children were forced to leave. By the late twentieth Century, residential schools were on the wane. In 1969, the government-church partnership ended, although some schools continued into the 1980s: In the end, the residential schools did not prepare First Nations children for life in any type of community: not for the First Nations community from which their parents originally came; not for the urbanized white communities to which they tried to go; and not for the idealized Christian community which existed only in the minds of the missionaries. (Armitage, 1995, p. 112) The impact of residential schools on families and kinship ties was devastating. Martens, Daily, and Hodgson (1991), writing of the separation of children from their families, describe the breadth and longevity of this action: The structure, cohesion and quality of family life suffered. Parenting skills diminished as succeeding generations became more and more institutionalized and experienced little nurturing. Low self-esteem and self- concept problems arose as children were taught that their. . . culture was inferior and uncivilized, even "savage." (p. 10) The intergenerational impacts of the schools struck at the very heart of cultural continuity. The removal of children from their families and communities "severed the ties which guaranteed culture continuity and effectively eliminated Native forms and norms of the informal learning process" (Barman, Hebert &McCaskill, 1987, p. 144). Thousands of people alive today are past attendees of these schools, and there is ongoing litigation for damages by Aboriginal peoples against the Government of Canada and the churches. In December 2002, Canada announced the Canada's Resolution Framework This framework- supports a variety of initiatives intended to provide counseling support to those who are dealing with their experiences at residential school which can help former students and their communities to learn more about their history and to honour and pay tribute to one another through commemoration. It 103 also provides additional options for individuals and groups to pursue legal claims for sexual and physical abuse. (Government of Canada, 2003a, p.l) Some six years later Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered an historic formal apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools. He sought forgiveness for government's role in students' suffering and subsequent damage to Aboriginal cultures and languages. The treatment of children in Indian Residential Schools is a sad chapter in our history" Prime Minister Harper said. Today we recognize this policy of assimilation was wrong, caused great harm, and has no place in our country. The Government of Canada sincerely apologizes and asks forgiveness of the Aboriginal peoples of this country for failing them so profoundly. (Office of the Prime Minister, June 11,2008) In sum, colonial processes and practices through education strategies bound to assimilation ideologies and policies (along with other Euro-colonial interventions) simply dismissed the socio-cultural structures of Aboriginal peoples, in particular families and kinship systems, and characterized them as inherently flawed when positioned against European and colonial practices and norms. Ultimately, these processes and practices, operated through discourse and physical interventions, sought to construct, reconstruct, and conceptualize Aboriginal peoples as 'othered' in reference to (colonially defined) "normalcy", thereby creating and justifying the marginalization and continued assimilation of Aboriginal peoples. Assimilation of Aboriginal peoples into Canadian society continued as the Canadian government's overarching policy direction until well into the 1950s and beyond. During the period of World War II, policy makers gave scant attention to Indian matters, developing only ad hoc policies. However, one significant policy direction that did arise during this time was a new direction that would achieve the goal of assimilation by turning over to the provinces responsibility for services to Indians. The overall policy goals were to erode barriers provided by the reserves and the Indians' special status (at the same time still under 104 the constitution) through a new policy of provincial intrusion on reserves. Although these guidelines could not ensure speedy assimilation of Indian people into the broader Canadian society, it was the alternative the Canadian government was looking for (Tobias, 1991). After the war, Canada entered a period of renewed interest in Indian policy. This interest resulted both from public pressure to examine the plight of Indian people, some of whom had fought alongside other Canadians on the war front, and from the failure of assimilation policies (Di Gangis & Jones, 1998; RCAP, 1996, Vol. 1, p. 583). Stark differences between Indians and the broader Canadian society became evident. Although Canada was maturing into a modern welfare state, the revisions and changes to Canadian government structure and policy continued to perpetuate the assimilation of Indians into broader non- Aboriginal Canadian society. It was during the 1940s and into the 1950s that universal programs emerged that were either funded by the federal government or cost-shared by the provinces (Di Gangis & Jones, 1998, p. 147). While these programs were meant to be universal, in reality they often excluded Indian peoples. For example, the Family Allowance Program, introduced in 1945, provided cash directly to mothers on a basis of the number of children in the family. The distribution of funds to Indian mothers was different from that of their Canadian counterparts. The Department of Indian Affairs administered funds intended for Indian mothers through local Indian Agents as an extension of welfare rations. This deviation from the overall federal program policy left Indian mothers vulnerable to local Indian agents who were positioned to withhold (or threaten to withhold) goods to exact compliance with a desired behaviour such as sending children to residential schools or failing to assure children's school attendance (Di Gangis & Jones, 1998). This program, one of the first universal programs targeted to children and families, also marked the beginning of undertaking programs for Aboriginal 105 children differently, albeit in this instance unfairly and unjustly, from those of broader society. This is no surprise when one considers the broader goal of assimilation inherent in Indian and social policy. 5.1.2 Integration and equality Integration and equality policies in the 1960s sought to normalize relations with Indians by discarding assimilation and separateness (reserves) in favor of a principle of assimilation through integration and mainstreaming of Aboriginal peoples (Di Gangis & Jones, 1998, p. 22). Laws that prohibited Indians from living on reserve or from becoming citizens were eliminated. Qtizenship was no longer dependent on acceptable levels of assimilation. Indians could now be Canadian citizens without being forced to relinquish Indian status (Crawford, n.d., p. 18). This new policy environment, however, continued to reflect the common assumption that to be citizens of Canada, Indians must be integrated into the broader Canadian society. The expansion of national programs administered by provincial governments became one of the most significant mechanisms through which the federal government could ensure the perpetual assimilation of the Indian peoples while at the same time reducing their responsibility for Indian peoples. Although specific initiatives for Aboriginal early childhood programs were virtually non-existent in the 1960s, there were sporadic government-driven activities that, while not the primary focus, included preschool children. For instance, the Canada / Ontario Agreement Respecting Welfare Programs for Indians (1965) were one of those rare activities. This agreement made Ontario the only province with parental subsidies for child daycare services accessible to on-reserve Indian parents in need. In doing so, the agreement gave credence to Indian communities' expression of need for on-reserve early childhood programs while at the same time acting as a model for how services could be funded like 106 those of non-Aboriginal parents living in mainstream Canadian society. For some, this agreement was a double-edged sword. On one hand it meant problematically complying with provincial legislation. On the other hand, it actually allowed access to funds for child and family services. The prevailing democratic ideologies of integration and equality of the 1960s were likewise articulated in the Hawthorne Report (1966), one of the first government inquiries to examine the needs of preschool Indian children. Although the focus of this study was on the socialization of Indian children and their preparation for integration into provincial education systems, the report brought the needs of these preschool children into public view. The report pointed to the inequity of service availability and accessibility between Indians living on reserve and the rest of Canada. Out of this policy context, the rationale for need, based on inequity, emerged. It would form the basis of arguments for Aboriginal- specific early childhood programs for the next two decades. In 1969, with the transfer of services for Indians to the provinces near completion, the federal government released the White Paper on Indian Policy (Government of Canada, 1969). The White Paper announced the government's intention "to absolve itself from responsibility for Indian affairs and the special status of Indians and to repeal special legislation relating to Indians— that is, the Indian Act" (Tobias, 1991, p. 141) by completing the transfer of services for Indians to the provinces. Under a guise of equality and non- discrimination, this strategy argued that Indians would then receive the same services from the same sources as other Canadians. Structurally, the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs would be dismantled and the provinces would administer programs for Indian peoples except for trusteeship for Indian lands (Hawthorne, 1966, p. 392). Weaver (1981) has written that while the White Paper once again represented the federal government's 107 policy of assimilation; it is better seen as an experimental reformulation of that policy with the addition of the idea of termination of special rights. Aboriginal peoples across the country protested the White Paper. They gathered in strength and formed their own organizations to respond. The Indian Association of Alberta responded in 1970 with the Red Paper (Indian Association of Alberta, 1970). This document described how Indian peoples with distinct cultures wished to contribute to Canadian society while at the same time exercising political and economic power at the community level. Despite this strong resistance from Aboriginal peoples from across Canada, the federal government continued to pursue its policy of assimilation under the guise of partnership, consultation, and local control tied to federal standards and laws. Components of the White Paper policy were to be broken down and implemented separately using a low-key approach so that the larger goal of assimilation was not lost (Di Gangis & Jones, 1998, p. 159). 5.1.3 Self-government efforts According to Armitage (1995), the 1970s saw the onset of the assertion of self-government by Aboriginal peoples, albeit blurred by ideologies of integration. Weaver (1982) describes this time as characterized by experimentation (as in the reformulation of assimilationist policy in the form of the White Paper) evidenced in unique decision-making strategies aimed at providing native organizations with a greater role in federal policymaking. Economically, the 1970s was both a time of general prosperity in broad non-Aboriginal Canadian society and a time of rapid expansion in programs and services for Indian peoples. Nevertheless, this time also resulted in an enhanced dependency on many programs by Indian peoples. Increased amounts of money were put into social programs, but none targeted the root dilemma of dependency. By 1978-79, Department of Indian and Northern Affairs (DIAND) program expenditures for social assistance and support accounted for 22.3% of its 108 budget compared to 6.6% allocated for Indian economic development (Thalassa, 1983, pp. 160-1 quoted in Di Gangis & Jones, 1998). The late 1970s saw a shift from the development of social welfare programs and increased expenditures to a time of evaluation and accountability (Di Gangis & Jones, 1998). Job-creation strategies characterized the 1980s, and repatriation of the constitution, land claims, and Aboriginal rights, along with fiscal restraint, improved federal-provincial relations (Di Gangis and Jones, 1998, p.163). National Aboriginal political organizations continued to grow and develop expertise in lobbying for their rights (Hewlett, 1994, p. 638) while the courts held views on Indian matters differing from those of the federal government. Public support for Aboriginal people and their struggles increased across the country. Non-Aboriginal organizations pressed the government to address Aboriginal rights to land and self-determination. Following the 1980 Quebec referendum, and the failure of the first ministers' conference on the constitution, the federal government in 1982 decided to repatriate and amend the constitution. In the repatriation process, Aboriginal leaders were able to successfully ensure that the Constitution Act, 1982 would contain sections that would recognize Aboriginal rights and ensure that individual rights could not annul or diminish Aboriginal collective rights. It was in the midst of this change and recognition of Aboriginal rights that Brian Mulroney's Tory government was elected in 1984. The Constitutional Conference of 1983 had resulted in three more First Ministers' Conferences in 1984,1985, and 1987. The focus of these conferences was Aboriginal self-governance. Aboriginal groups came to the negotiations with the position that the right to self-government was neither delegated nor constitutionally created, but inherent. Consensus could not be reached, and as 109 a result, there were no further amendments to the constitution in any of the three First Ministers' Conferences (RCAP, Vol. 1,1996). The Tory platform of reduced government spending and overall reduction in government's role and size mirrored the call for fiscal restraint that started in the 1970s. The Task Force on Program Review, established in 1985, provided the federal government with the rationale it needed to reduce programs to Indians, thereby reducing expenditures and invoking provincial government and the private sector with regard to their involvement in delivery of Indian programs and services. At the same time, the government sought to pass on its responsibility for Indians and to limit expenditures to Indian communities, (in the guise of local control), thereby forcing Indian governments to resolve current and historical problems themselves (Di Gangis & Jones, 1998). This report was met with great resistance from many Indian groups across the country. Unlike in the 1960s, First Nations people were more politically skilled at defending and promoting their unique rights and interests. As Weaver (1986) writes, formal announcements of policy without prior consultation (such as those Nielsen planned) were not destined to elicit Indian consent (p. 30). She points to the way in which the policy was developed as its downfall: The Nielsen Task Force on Native Programs, like the 1969 White Paper, was mounted at the cabinet level in the context of government priorities, removed for the "realpolitik" of the department's relations with Indians and the expectations raised among them by new, well-intended ministers. Like the White Paper, the task force operated in isolated secrecy to its own detriment and that of the government. In both instances, old bureaucratic advice found new political receptivity at the cabinet level where it influenced the course of policy development, only to be denounced by Indian people. In both cases, the episodes of deception fortified the institutionalized distrust of government among Indians in regard to policy content and process, (p. 29) 110 Weaver (1986) also coined the concept "foundation policy", which she describes as the government's first expression of policy reform in the field (p. 29). These polices were generally informed by a minister's (and his or her advisor's) unmasked attitudes and values which become viewed as the real agenda. It was assumed that these values and attitudes would likely shape any new policy development. These were also the policies that become the benchmarks against which government declarations earn or do not earn credibility (Weaver, 1986). Despite resistance from Aboriginal peoples, Indian Affairs began a process of devolution in November 1986. The federal government emphasized the benefits of this new policy direction for First Nations peoples as local control, more flexibility in program expenditures, certainty in funding levels, etc. These advantages also benefited the federal government as it was seen by the general public to be transferring responsibility to Aboriginal peoples, thereby being responsive to their requests. At the same time, the federal government would become less accountable to Aboriginal peoples. In the meantime, the drive for Aboriginal self-government continued. The Meech Lake Accord was signed in 1987. Although the Accord resulted in Quebec being recognized as a distinct society, it did not address Aboriginal and treaty rights. The Accord, a constitutional resolution, was defeated in the provincial legislatures: "Aboriginal peoples were unable to have their nation-to-nation relationship recognized, and Quebec was unable to have its distinctiveness as a society recognized" (RCAP, Vol. 1,1996, p. 213). While these moves toward the recognition of First Nations people characterized the 1980s and onward, as Armitage (1995) writes: [The moves] exist alongside government actions which suggest that the objective of assimilation remains deeply rooted in Canadian Indian policy. For example, the Indian Act, 1951, is still the formal basis for policy. Today, this statute is administered in a manner that permits local decision-making 111 and autonomy at the band level— but what can be permitted can also be withheld, (p. 82) Economic trends, along with assertions of Aboriginal organizations and individuals for the recognition of Aboriginal peoples, are reflected in the rationales used to establish early childhood programs (with child daycare being the first of those Aboriginal-specific programs) in Aboriginal communities. The rationale shifted from arguments of equity to the creation of links between employment, education, and early childhood. This underscored further an overarching climate of fiscal restraint along with a demographic change in both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women's participation in the workforce. One of the first national activities to highlight the relationship between employment, education, and early childhood was the 1984 Liberal government National Task Force on Child Care, which gave nation-wide recognition to the need for "Native" child care. The report of the Task Force recognized that Native communities' needs for child care support were similar to those of the general population: namely that quality child care services would "allow parents to seek and maintain gainful employment... at the same time providing the opportunity for them to preserve and maintain their language and cultural traditions" (Status of Women Canada, 1986, p. 87). As Aboriginal organizations developed political expertise and became more vocal, however, rationales began to emerge that were more holistic and emphasized the identity and socialization of children. For example, in 1986 Native Women's Association of Canada presentated to the House of Commons: The reason why child care is so important is because of the nature of our families, of the social and economic conditions of our men and women. Our children require child daycare so that we can break the cycle of poverty, we can break the cycle of alcoholism, but most important so we can pass on our culture, values and language. Without child care services designed by us for our children, in which Elders tell our children their history and assist in the 112 teaching of our children their traditional languages and values, we will only continue to suffer racism, assimilation, and language loss. Our children will be more alienated as they grow up and the cycles of poverty, of violence and of abuse will continue. (Native Women's Association of Canada, 1986, p. 7) In response to the need for early childhood services by Aboriginal peoples, the federal government began to consider their requests in broader early childhood initiatives. In 1987, the Progressive Conservative government announced a National Child Care Strategy. Part of this strategy was a seven-year contributions program, the Child Care Initiatives Fund (CQF). The fund was designed to encourage and evaluate child care innovations and to enhance the quality of child care in Canada. Although the CQF had Aboriginal child care as one of its priorities, the fund was not designed to support the establishment or delivery of especially Aboriginal child care services. However, it provided an opportunity for Aboriginal groups to access funds for a variety of projects including national child care inquiries; regional- and community-based needs assessments; development of formal training programs, program support materials, and culture and language curricula; and a wide range of service models. The Government of Canada stated of the program: CQF funding has enabled some (Aboriginal) communities to test and develop community and culturally appropriate standards for child daycare services. Other projects have shown how language and culture are not only critical elements of Aboriginal child care programs, but also a means of reviving and retaining language and culture in communities. Most significantly, these initiatives have shown how child daycare can play a role in achieving community wellness. (Human Resources Development Canada, January, 1994, p. 1) Despite these activities, most Aboriginal communities did not reap the benefits of the limited funding available, nor was federal funding allocated for the development of Aboriginal child care services. However, one of the most significant benefits of the CQF was the opportunities it provided for Aboriginal peoples to identify the nature and purpose 113 of child care services in their communities. Specifically, the CQF supported the creation of Aboriginal-specific documents and research projects. For example, one of the first national Aboriginal studies to be funded by CGF was The National Inquiry into First Nations Child Care undertaken by the AFN in 1989. This report stressed the importance of First Nations child care in providing children with an early sense of security, stability, motivation, and pride. It also stated that child care should be regarded as a basic social service available to all parents. More importantly, it regarded child care as holistic and saw its intent not only as addressing economic barriers to employment and training, but also as having the potential to be a vehicle for social change. For the first time, Aboriginal people had the opportunity to write about themselves, their communities, and their vision for their children and their children's care. Products of the CQF would be used to form the basis of arguments for the development of Aboriginal-specific early childhood services in years to come. Akin to the on-reserve experience, little focus or attention was given to the unique needs of Aboriginal children and families residing in off-reserve communities. In some cases it was assumed that these children and families, once off reserve, would simply use the programs and services of broader Canadian society. There were no comprehensive studies undertaken to ascertain the child care needs of these families for their children until 1988 when the Native Council of Canada undertook such a study. This report states: "Cultural appropriateness is sorely absent in present childcare services. Emphasized is the fact that a cultural foundation in child care is a priority and a base from which any structure or program must be developed" ((Native Council of Canada, 1990, p. 35). Like their on-reserve counterparts, Aboriginal off-reserve organizations argued for early childhood programs that would meet the unique cultural needs of their peoples. 114 5.2 Aboriginal-specific early childhood programs emerge I didn't think I would be accepted into the program, after all, who would want a barmaid working with their children? These were my thoughts as I awaited my interview with the Chair of the early childhood development program at the college located nearest my home. Little did I know that the program had to accept me because of my standardized test scores. Still today, I hope that was not the only reason they granted me entrance. Ultimately, I came with a particular history, including an academic background and a lifetime of experience as an Indigenous person. It was this experience coupled with my new knowledge of early childhood education that led me on this life journey. The following stories are derived from national and provincial program documents along with my recollections of participating at both levels of government (not as a member of government but as a member of the related advisory committees) in the development of the First Nations Inuit Child Care Initiative and the Aboriginal Head Start On Reserve Program nationally and provincially. As the seeds of need that Aboriginal-specific early childhood services had sewn in the 1960s, 70s, and '80s took root, Aboriginal-specific early childhood services began to emerge in the 1990s. Children's rights were also being addressed during the early 1990s. Following Canada's hosting of the 1990 World Summit for Children, the Government of Canada initiated a five-year National Plan of Action entitled Brighter Futures. This initiative, announced by the federal government in 1992, comprised two components. One component was designed for First Nations children and families residing on reserve (Brighter Futures). The other, the Community Action Plan for Children (CAPC), was created for Aboriginal children and families living off reserve or outside of Inuit communities. These five-year initiatives sought to employ a community-determined approach to supporting the well-being of Aboriginal children and families living both on and off reserve. The primary focus was on the developmental needs of children and youth between the ages of 0 and 23 115 years in the areas of community mental health, childhood injury prevention programs, healthy babies programs, parenting skills, and solvent abuse. Brighter Futures and CAPC provided, and continue to provide, opportunities for communities to begin to address some of the complexities of caring for their children in a more holistic way— that is, having the ability within a single program to address multiple needs. This was also a time of building new relationships between the federal government and Aboriginal peoples. In 1991 The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples was established in order to undertake this mandate. Constitutional talks began again, this time with the full participation of Aboriginal people. The constitutional conferences of 1992 resulted in the Charlottetown Accord, although once again Aboriginal peoples failed to gain recognition for their inherent right to self-government. In 1993, a Liberal government under the leadership of Jean Chretien was elected. In addition to the financial problems that the new government faced, there was a continuing need to address federal-provincial relationships. As in the 1980s, program reviews sought to cut government spending, thereby reducing the deficit and downsizing government. Also, as in the past, neither review considered Aboriginal rights, land claims, or fiduciary obligations, nor were Aboriginal peoples consulted. Government commitments articulated in 1993 in the Creating Opportunity: The Liberal Plan for Canada (Red Book) (Platform Committee, 1993) "were considered not Red Book commitments but Red Book pressures in the context of Program Review and subordinated to the overall imperative of reducing costs and reducing federal presence" (Di Gangis & Jones, 1998, p. 176). These budget cuts, unilateral decision making, and off- loading of federal responsibilities— including services for Indian peoples— onto provincial governments, significantly impacted relationships between the federal and provincial and territorial governments " (Di Gangis & Jones, 1998, p. 176). 116 In the midst of these Red Book commitments was a promise to create new child care spaces in Canada. However, there was no mention of spaces specifically for on-reserve child care, although there was a promise of an Aboriginal early intervention program. The following year, then Minister Axworthy's Improving Social Security in Canda:A Discussion 'Paper (1994) restated the federal government's child care commitment, including First Nations and Inuit communities (Human Resources Development Canada, 1994, p. 36). Out of these federal government commitments emerged the First Nations Inuit Child Care Initiative (1995) and the Aboriginal Head Start Initiative (1995). For the first time, formalized Aboriginal-specific (although Head Start had been adapted from the US Head Start program) early childhood programs and services became a reality in Canada. 5.2.1 First Nations and Inuit Child Care Initiative (FNICQ) The FNICQ (1995) had a mandate to create 6,000 new child care spaces in First Nations and Inuit communities. The initiative came with a fiscal commitment of $72 million in the first three developmental years and $36 million ongoing thereafter. The services envisioned for this initiative were to represent a new way of doing business with First Nations and Inuit peoples. The programs were to be delivered and managed by communities, so that communities could develop services in a way that reflected their culture, values, traditions, and priorities. The program was to be First Nations and Inuit directed, designed, and delivered from the start, and in this context, the Minister invited First Nations and Inuit to be directly involved in the design of the Initiative prior to his return to cabinet to seek approval for the program. In response to the funding announcement and the government's commitment to a new way of doing business, federal officials together with the Assembly of First Nations, the Native Women's Association of Canada, and Pauktuutit (which was mandated to work with 117 communities on child care issues in Inuit communities) established the Joint First Nations/Inuit/Federal Child Care Working Group. It was to be comprised of diverse technical experts from First Nations and Inuit communities and be co- chaired by the three national Aboriginal organizations and Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC). I was one of those "experts". This group was mandated to explore options on the basis of their experience and knowledge of child care, consult with community members, discuss ideas with provincial and territorial representatives, and prepare recommendations for designing the First Nations and Inuit Child Care Program and Funding Framework. These would be the basis for the minister's approach to cabinet to seek approval for that program (Joint First Nations/Inuit/Federal Child Care Working Group, 1995). The First Nations and Inuit Child Care Program and Funding Framework summarized this new way of doing business by government this way: Direct participation by First Nations and Inuit technical experts in the design process of a new program within the Department, prior to Cabinet approval, represents an improved and innovative approach to program design within the federal government. The technical nature of the design process enabled members to take an apolitical approach so that deliberations could focus on what works best at the community level for children. The Working Group was committed from the outset to the interests of children, families and communities. At the same time, First Nations and Inuit members were keenly aware that their input was primarily based on their individual expertise and most did not have the capacity to "represent" First Nations/Inuit leadership in the regions. (Joint First Nations/Inuit/Federal Child Care Working Group, 1995, p. 3) The question of representation was a significant consideration for me. Too often in the past, Aboriginal people had participated in federal government processes in good faith only to find their participation misrepresented as "consultation" or "involvement of Aboriginal peoples", i.e., as representative of all Aboriginal peoples in Canada (Cardinal, 1969). I recall articulating clearly (as did other members of the Joint Working Group), that I 118 did not, and could not, "represent" the First Nations leadership or Aboriginal peoples of Canada. As a First Nations person on one of the federal government's technical advisory committees or working groups, one is always in the dilemma of being there to ensure there is Aboriginal voice while running the risk of one's very presence being represented by government as engaging or consulting with the overall Aboriginal community. And for some, at a very pragmatic level, presence in these initiatives may ensure or improve chances of receiving program funding. Given that there is never enough funding, competition for limited resources often results in divisions among Aboriginal peoples which can result in even greater discord among them. The curriculum of the proposed Child Care Initiative, while not articulated in the same manner as that of public schooling, was instead based on broad program principles that were to guide the care and education of young children aged 0-6 years. Consequent programs were to observe the following guiding principles: 1. They would be First Nations and Inuit directed and controlled. 2. They would be community based, holistic, and focused on child development. 3. They would deliver quality of service inclusive of: child/staff ratios, standards, regulations and licensing, training, environments, administration, funding, programming, and family and community involvement. 4. They would be inclusive, comprehensive, flexible. 5. They would be accessible. 6. They would be accountable. 7. They would be affordable. (Joint First Nations/Inuit/Federal Child Care Working Group, 1995, pp. 14-15) 119 While these principles embraced concepts such as holism, control by First Nations and Inuit communities, and family and community involvement, they also set parameters that were doorways through which government could maintain control and (when read skeptically) continue to assimilate First Nations children. Mechanisms such as accountability, standards and regulations, and licensing provide these pathways. In fact, in British Columbia, First Nations programs and services were required to comply with the provincial child care standards and regulations in order to receive funding. Many of these provincial standards and regulations are in discord with First Nations beliefs and values, protocols and traditions, two examples being the prohibition of serving traditional foods and adherence to specific age groupings of children. These mechanisms are deeply rooted in colonial paradigms and subsequent policies which continue to take form in contemporary guises and continue to influence the lives of our children. A decade later, the FNICQ, now a full-fledged program, still makes no mention of First Nations and Inuit assuming control of child care services. There remains no emphasis on a holistic culturally-based approach to programs for children. Rather, there continues to be a focus on parental support for employment and or education. This positioning of a decade ago was not the intent envisioned by the technical working group. They saw a program designed to support families' and communities' visions for the optimal growth, development, and well-being of their children. The principles and values underlying the program speak to a holistic approach steeped in culture, language, and values of the people. However, given the political direction of the day and its emphasis on employability and education, the FNICQ was positioned in its proposal to cabinet as a support to parents who wanted to be employed or participate in educational activities. This positioning was meant to ensure cabinet approval of the program. Today this emphasis remains. 120 5.2.2 Regional implementation of the F M C Q The FMCQ was implemented across the country using a variety of existing structures in each province and territory. In British Columbia, the Assembly of First Nations was initially charged with rolling out the First Nations and Inuit Child Care Program. Early on, this task was passed on to the First Nations Summit Child Welfare Committee which eventually morphed into the First Nations Day Care Committee and finally into the British Columbia Aboriginal Child Care Society (BC ACCS). In 2000, situating child care as support for parental employment or parental education once again arose to haunt those who believed that it was more than that. This positioning of child care served to support rationales for the shift, in B.G's case, from BC ACCS, a child care-specific non-governmental organization, to the B.C. Aboriginal Human Resource Development Agreement Holders (AHRDA), a government-sponsored entity focused on employment and education. In sum then, the Child Care Initiative went through significant structural change at the national and B.C. provincial levels and, ultimately, at the community level. The Federal First Nations and Inuit Program and Funding Framework offered minimal guidance for implementing the program, but no concrete policies or formal introduction to it. Each province had to determine how best to implement the program in its communities. In B.C., a Request for Proposals (RFP) was developed and put out to all 203 First Nations communities. The option to universally fund all communities was impossible, given their sheer number and the amount of funding received. In those days, the funding received would have covered approximately eight percent of the total need. An initial provincial information meeting was held to introduce the program to the First Nations of British Columbia and to encourage them to respond to an RFP that had very short timelines. These timelines were a result of the need to distribute significant 121 amounts of funding to the communities within the last two months of the fiscal year. Fiscal year-end allocation of funds, to be spent responsibly in a very limited time frame, has been the history of many First Nations programs and the theme of criticism from First Nations communities to government in many forums. Non-compliance would mean losing funding intended for children. As a consequence of this limited time frame, the reality was that criteria for acceptance of proposals and distribution of funds was developed as the RFP and process of implementation unfolded. Over the first three (developmental) years of the program, policies continued to be refined and developed. Provincial implementation policies mirrored, as closely as possible, those proposed strategies and approaches presented in the national program and funding framework. These strategies included requiring provincial licensing which then tied it to funding and, ultimately, a community's ability to access the program. Funding to communities also mirrored the proposed funding formula presented in the program and funding framework. In retrospect, even though the program was (and continues to be) implemented by First Nations entities at the provincial level, implementation processes continue to be challenged by their inadequate funding (to meet the needs of communities) and overall lack of First Nations community involvement and direction. 5.2.3 Aboriginal Plead Start In 1995, the then Health Minister Dianne Marleau announced the Aboriginal Head Start Urban and Northern Initiative (AHSUN). This $83.7 million, four-year, early intervention initiative fulfilled the federal government's commitment for an early intervention program that would serve Aboriginal parents and children living in urban and large northern communities. Unlike the FNICQ, this program relied on the more traditional process of federal program development, in which community experts were engaged after cabinet approval and then primarily to discuss and advise on the implementation of the program at the community level. The same angst I felt when participating on the Joint First Nations/Inuit/Federal Child Care Working Group returned when I was invited to participate on the National Advisory Committee for the Aboriginal Head Start Urban and Northern Initiative. This time my angst went beyond community engagement to examining structural intent. The AHSUN Initiative was modeled in large part after the US Head Start system beginning with a intervention rational for families in need. Supporting those in need using a deficit rationale often results in masking individual and collective strengths. The US model of Head Start addresses this need for intervention by attending to the social competence of children of low-income families. Social competence here refers to children's ability to effectively deal with their current environment as well as their school responsibilities later in life (Mallory & Goldsmith, 1991). Today, US Head Start continues emphasizing school readiness (US Department of Health & Human Services, 2009). What is not necessarily focused on or structurally supported is the cultural diversity of the children and families the program serves. The AHSUNC differs from the US model of Head Start most significantly by the addition of 'language and culture' to program components focused on education, health and social development. The language and culture component provides opportunity for addressing cultural diversity and ensuring individual and collective identity development. Yet, in implementation, some components are emphasized over others. Education or school readiness is one such component (AHSOR Program, 2001-2002 Annual Report, p. 3; British Columbia First Nations Head Start (BCFNHS), Head Start Mandate). Availability of resources, ease of assessment and evaluation, parental desires, and the relationship of early 123 childhood programs to the formal school system supports this emphasis on school readiness not unlike that of the US Head Start program. Of concern is a focus on non-Aboriginal skills and knowledge rather than on the enculturation of children into their collective culture. In 1999, the Aboriginal Head Start On Reserve Program (AHSOR) was announced. This program, an expansion of the Aboriginal Head Start Urban and Northern Initiative (1995), was designed to support First Nations children and families living on reserve through locally controlled and designed early-intervention strategies: The Aboriginal Head Start On Reserve initiative is designed to prepare young First Nations children for their school years, by meeting their emotional, social, health, nutritional and psychological needs. This initiative encourages the development of projects that are comprised of the following program components: culture and language, education, health promotion, nutrition, social support and parental involvement. The program encourages the development of locally controlled projects in First Nation communities that strive to instill a sense of pride and a desire to leam; provide parenting skills and improve family relationships; foster emotional and social development and increase confidence. It is also designed to assist parents to enhance their skills which contribute to their child's healthy development. (Health Canada, 2005, p. 5) Like its sister program, the AHSUNC (but unlike the FNICQ) the AHSOR followed a more typical approach to program development by establishing its advisory committee after the Memorandum to Cabinet had been approved. Within the parameters of the established AHSOR program framework (including the six common Aboriginal Head Start components), implementation processes for the principles and guidelines, evaluation strategies, and curriculum considerations were reviewed, revised, and developed by the national advisory committee. 124 5.2.4 Regional implementation of the AHSOR program The AHSOR Program shared a similar, although not identical, implementation history to that of the FNICQ in B.C. Funds for implementing the program in B.C. flowed from the federal government to the regional16 First Nations/Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) office. Like the FNICQ, the AHSOR Program has never been a universal program. As a result, First Nations communities across B.C. once again entered into a competitive, proposal- driven process to access funding. In early 1998, all First Nations communities were sent information so that they could apply for a community Head Start program should they choose. The communities were to undertake an assessment intended to ascertain the need and capacity of the community to implement a Head Start Program. Regional information sessions including proposal-writing workshops were offered throughout the province for communities interested in applying. Early on in the implementation process, the regional FNIHB established, in partnership with the B.C. First Nations Chief's Health Committee, a Regional Advisory Committee (RAC). The inaugural RAC was comprised of First Nations Elders, child care specialists, representatives of the Chiefs' Health Committee, and officials from different government departments (BCFNHS Program, 2001, p. 6). As the RAC evolved, so did its membership. In 2001, five community program representatives from each of the province's five regional health zones were added to the committee. There were, and continue to be, challenges in communication with individual communities in the regions. Lack of resources and geographic distances pose significant barriers. With involvement of the RAC in proposal selection in this first fiscal year (1998/1999), 25 community programs were funded— albeit at the end of the fiscal year and within a very short time frame. All 16 There are seven Ministry of Health (First Nations Inuit Health Branch) regional offices across Canada. The B.C/Yukon region comprises the Province of British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. program contribution agreements were between the FNIHB and First Nations communities. In this case all communities are directly accountable to government for their funding. As this program development was occurring, RCAP was released. It reaffirmed the need for specific Aboriginal child care services, stating that child care is viewed as a means of reinforcing Aboriginal identity— instilling values, attitudes, and behaviours that give expression to Aboriginal cultures. Aboriginal people also want to prepare their children for stronger academic performance: [b]ut their concerns go beyond a singular focus on cognitive development. They recognize the need of families for support and respite while they struggle with personal and economic problems. They want to see early identification of children with special needs and provision of appropriate care and parent education in the community. They see high quality child care as a necessary service for parents undertaking training or gaining a foothold in the workforce. (RCAP, Vol. 3,1996, p. 449) In the wake of the development of these three major national Aboriginal early childhood initiatives in the 1990s came the release of Whispered Gently Through Time, First Nations Quality Child Care: A National Study (Greenwood & Shawana, 2002). With few research studies or policy inquiries documenting First Nations' community voices in defining and articulating a vision for the quality care of their children, and given the focus on Aboriginal early childhood programs, this study sought both to examine implementation models for the development of First Nations quality child care programs and to develop options for First Nations jurisdiction in child care. The study found that a First Nations quality child care program would: (a) provide safe, loving, and nurturing care for children, (b) meet the needs of the children, families, and communities, (c) facilitate the passing on of the culture and language from generation to generation, (d) provide children with opportunities to learn their culture and language so they are instilled with a sense of pride about who they are, (e) foster all aspects of children's growth and development, and (f) give children 126 opportunities to learn and develop school readiness skills (Greenwood & Shawana, 2002). The context in which these attributes were expressed maybe summarized in two thoughts: first, that formalized child care services were new to many communities; and second, that First Nations must have control over the development and delivery of child care services in their communities so as to safeguard against policies of assimilation and the repeat of residential school experiences (Greenwood & Shawana, 2002). This research study was also unique in that it began to examine the concept of "quality" care of children relative to First Nations. However, the study stopped short of examining care concepts in-depth, although it does reflect the broader policy directions evident in the Aboriginal policy and program development of the day. In short, exploration of the quality care of First Nations children mirrored that of broader society's focus on the quality care of children. 5.3 Opportunities and growth, integration and coordination In the late 1990s and into 2000, along with the recognition of and significant increase in the attention given to Canadian children, including Aboriginal children, there was also an apparent shift in government arguments and rationales to justify the need for early childhood programs and services. Arguments that had previously focused on the need for equity and employment support began to shift to acknowledging the unique circumstances and lives of Aboriginal children (McKenzie, 1991) as well as their needs for healthy growth and development. For example, child development experts argue that loving care, social interaction, and stimulating environments are important for promoting all aspects of brain development. 127 As the rationales of the day shifted, so too did the direction of the policies guiding these programs to a rationale of integration and coordination of programs and services for young Aboriginal children. In January 1997, the federal, provincial, and territorial (FPT) governments agreed to work together toward the well-being of Canada's children. In December of the same year, the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Council on Social Policy Renewal agreed to undertake the development of a National Children's Agenda. The foundation for the National Children's Agenda is a framework identifying the following intents: 1. to develop long-term goals and a plan for achieving positive outcomes for young Canadians 2. to establish common FPT priorities for action 3. to provide a basis for coordinated and integrated efforts and partnerships among many sectors which share responsibility for policies, programs and services for children and youth. (National Children's Agenda, 1999, p.2) It is interesting to note that documents supporting and articulating the agenda made little reference to Aboriginal children, despite the fact that the agenda would impact their lives significantly. Specifically, the Children's Agenda Framework (National Children's Agenda, 1999) made only one reference to Aboriginal children: Children have a special place in Aboriginal cultures and are the hope for a strong future for Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Aboriginal children should grow up in an atmosphere that respects their unique history, recognizes their identity and values, and enables them to draw on the inherent strengths of Aboriginal communities and traditions, (p. 7) In September 2000, the First Ministers announced the Early Childhood Development Agreement (2000) (ECDA) that carried with it a fiscal commitment of $2.2 billion over five years for early childhood development programs in the provinces and territories. The agreement provided funding for the implementation of four broad themes: 128 (a) healthy pregnancy, birth, and infancy, (b) parenting and family supports, (c) early childhood development, learning and care, and (d) community supports. Specifically, the investments were intended to result in better access to services, including prenatal classes and screening, preschool programs, and child care and parental information (Federal/Provincial/Territorial Early Childhood Development Agreement, 2001, p. 1). As part of the ECDA, the First Ministers also agreed to work with Aboriginal peoples to find practical solutions to address the developmental needs of Aboriginal children. This strategy included several new federal early childhood development investments for Aboriginal children (Government of Canada, 2002). These investments were consistent with commitments outlined in the January, 2001 Speech from the Throne (Government of Canada, 2001), wherein the government articulated a commitment to work with First Nations to improve and expand the early childhood development programs and services available in First Nations' communities. The 2001 Speech from the Throne also committed to significantly expand the Aboriginal Plead Start program and reduce the number of newborn babies afflicted with fetal alcohol syndrome. These commitments were reiterated in the 2002 Speech from the Throne (Government of Canada, September 2002), along with a new commitment to support the special learning needs of First Nations children. These recent Speeches from the Throne, more than at anytime in the past, recognize the unique needs and circumstances of Aboriginal children in Canada. While there is a gaining recognition of this difference, programs and policies specifically for Aboriginal communities and their children continue to reflect the overall direction of broader society. 129 5.3.1 "Single window" approach in early childhood development Another key feature of the 2002 budget was a commitment to support the development of a "single window" approach to early childhood development programming for Aboriginal children. The overall goal of this approach is to ensure coordination between federal early childhood development programs for young Aboriginal children and their families. This federal government emphasis on a single window approach also fulfilled the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Council on Social Policy Renewal's (1997) commitment to reduce overlap and duplication among programs and services. Six specific results are anticipated from the implementation of a single window approach: 1. an integrated system at the community level 2. community-based decision-making 3. flexibility and responsiveness to diverse needs 4. improved outcomes and accountability 5. reduced administrative burden on communities 6. a foundation for other programs (Health Canada Coordinating Committee on Children, November, 2002) It is interesting to note that early childhood programs and services in broader society were not required to use a single window approach to the implementation of early childhood programs. This requirement, for Aboriginal peoples, is reminiscent of the budget reduction strategies of the 1980s and 1990s. In October 2002, cabinet authorized HRDC, HC, and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAQ to jointly implement the federal Early Childhood Development Initiative for Aboriginal Children (Health Canada, 2002). Under this authorization, there was a commitment to return to cabinet by March 2004 in order to propose options for a coordinated approach to early childhood development programming (Government of Canada, 2002). In preparation for their return and report to cabinet, the three federal 130 ministries of HRDC, HC, and INAC collaboratively undertook several initiatives, including an environmental scan led by HRDC. The scan was designed to 1. provide information on existing programming; 2. identify best practices in early childhood development; 3. verify capacity at the community, regional and national levels; and 4. share innovative approaches to integration and coordination. (Government of Canada, 2002) INAC took the lead in implementing early childhood development pilot sites. Those pilot sites focused on three areas: (a) assessing community planning that will provide lessons on joint planning and priority setting processes at various levels; (b) testing evaluation tools within four sites, each having diverse early childhood development programs and unique community settings in order to ascertain the feasibility of establishing common measurable outcomes of a range of programs and services, and (c) assessing the viability of coordination and collaboration between departments and other partners at the regional level (Indian and Northern Affaire Canada/HRC/HC, 2003). In addition to the environmental scan and the pilot projects, HC and INAC also undertook a National Dialogue designed to engage people who were involved and interested in early childhood development activities. This National Dialogue comprised two parts: a dialogue with individuals and groups across Canada, and comment from constituents from the five national Aboriginal organizations (Government of Canada, 2002). These dialogues were an effort to gather feedback and information regarding the development and improvement of the federal early childhood development delivery system. A final federal government commitment (which is still underway) is an Aboriginal Children's Survey (ACS). This survey's primary objective is to address the data gaps that exist regarding Aboriginal children by producing quantitative data on the health, social, and 131 economic characteristics of Aboriginal children under the age of 6 years, and who live both on and off reserves. Statistics Canada, through Social Development Canada, continues to work on a national survey of young Aboriginal children that parallels the Early Childhood component of the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth and includes additional questions that are culturally specific. In response to the federal government's current activities and policy moves to ensure integration and coordination of early childhood development programming for Aboriginal children through a single window approach, a handful of documents (Spigelman et al., 1998; Morgan &McGettigan, 1999; McDonald, 2001; Noonan & Associates, 2002; Greenwood & DeLeeuw, 2004) were developed by Aboriginal groups and individuals to explore various aspects. Taken together, these documents highlight a number of considerations for the coordination and integration of early childhood programs and services for Aboriginal children. Common emphasis lies in recognizing these six issues: 1. First Nations child care programs are an integral function of self-government and self-sufficiency. 2. There is a need for sustained and adequate resources inclusive of capital development and administrative support. 3. First Nations cultures and values will define child care curricula, evaluation, and accountability criteria. 4. Where appropriate, three levels of government— First Nations, provincial, and federal governments— will collaboratively develop policies, reporting practices, and data management systems. 5. Flexibility is needed in order to honour and preserve diversity between First Nations communities and a broad range of community needs and processes. 132 6. Integration of services must enhance, not diminish, existing programs, and be truly effective in creating effective infrastructures and processes for communication, administration, and evaluation. (Greenwood & De Leeuw, 2004) These considerations for Aboriginal-specific, early childhood programs ran headlong into broader Canadian society's early learning and child care priority. 5.3.2 Early childhood development and early learning and child care (ELCC) intersect At the same time as First Nations and Inuit early childhood development dialogues (with their inherent health perspective) were being undertaken, the FPT governments identified ELCC as a shared priority. Just a year earlier, and setting ELCC as a priority, the First Ministers had agreed upon objectives and principles in the 2003 Multilateral Framework for Early Learning and Child Care (Government of Canada, 2003b). Under the Multilateral Framework, the Government of Canada committed to transferring $1.05 billion over five years for provincial and territorial governments to make new investments for improving the availability and affordability of quality early learning and child care for children under age 6. The October 5,2004 Speech from the Throne confirmed the Government of Canada's commitment to work with the provinces and territories on the development of a national vision to guide the development of the ELCC system. The development of the ELCC was, however, based on the four principles of Quality, Universal Inclusivity, Accessibility, and Development (QUAD) (CBC News in depth: Canadian Government, October 2004, p.6). In moving forward, the Government of Canada sought agreement on an approach that focused on results, built on best practices, and reported to Canadians on progress. As such, stronger accountability was a key element of a new agreement. At their November 2,2004 meeting, FPT ministers responsible for social services recognized the critical need to engage First Nations and Inuit leadership in discussions about 133 ELCC implementation. In the following year (2005) at the May 31 federal government Policy Retreat, the government announced that it would merge and enhance four existing Aboriginal early childhood development programs17 to create a new, consolidated ELCC program for First Nations and Inuit children. First Nations and Inuit ELCC programming would be aligned to the same QUAD principles as the national system, but would be culturally adapted to, and by, First Nation and Inuit communities (Assembly of First Nations, 2005). The rationale for an Aboriginal-specific ELCC strategy was, first and foremost, to enhance service delivery as opposed to cutting costs. Secondly, it was to reduce the administrative burden on communities, enhance the quality and accessibility of regulated child care for First Nations and Inuit children, and provide support for parents to explore educational and employment opportunities. Thirdly, the ELCC program was to assist in supporting, maintaining, and revitalizing the languages and cultures of First Nations and Inuit, including ensuring a prominent role for Elders. As a result of these new policy directions, national Aboriginal groups were asked to revise their current coordination and integration consultations (which were simultaneously underway) by engaging participants in exploring the interface of the QUAD principles proposed by the ELCC within a single window approach to Aboriginal early childhood service delivery. The outcomes of these constituent discussions were four national reports: (a) The Native Women's Association of Canada, Discussion Paper: Early Learning and Childcare (April 29, 2005), (b) Aboriginal Engagement Strategy Inuit Early Learning and Child Care Discussion Paper, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (April 30, 2005), (c) Early Learning and Child Care for First Nations, Assembly of First Nations (April 2005b), and (d) Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, 17 Aboriginal Head Start On Reserve Program (HC), Aboriginal Head Start Urban and Northern Communities Program—North of 60 and Inuit projects (Public Health Agency of Canada), FNICCI (Human Resources and Skills Development Canada), and Day Cares in Ontario and Alberta (INAC) Building a National Aboriginal Early Learning and Childcare System (April 30, 2000). These reports shared common attributes, namely, a vision for Aboriginal early childhood that would be both holistic and comprehensive, and that would see services anchored in traditional community beliefs reflecting distinct early childhood needs. These needs include: providing a safe environment, fostering a positive sense of self, promoting a desire for lifelong learning, and providing opportunities for children to develop fully and successfully. The reports also identified common principles for programs such as local design and control by community, inclusion of language and culture, adherence to the tenets of child development, diversity and flexibility, fostering partnerships and collaborations, and highlighting parental involvement. At the May 2005 Policy Retreat, INAC was named as the lead federal department in the development of a single window ELCC transition plan. The transition plan was to be undertaken by five federal ministries: INAQ HQ HRD, Social Development Canada (SDQ, and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). During considerations, the federal ministries were joined by the AFN, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), and the National Aboriginal Head Start Council (NAHSC). Together, they were charged with working collaboratively to develop an ELCC transition plan. The Transition Plan was to include recommendations on a new ELCC program for First Nations and Inuit communities. This strategy was to merge and enhance the services of the four existing federally funded Aboriginal early childhood development programs, the goal being a single point of access under one federal department— the single window. As a first step, an Engagement Strategy was developed to build on the earlier early childhood development integration consultation reports (with their inclusion of the QUAD principles) undertaken by the national Aboriginal organizations to ascertain advice and recommendations from First Nations and Inuit 135 organizations and communities at the national, regional, and community levels. This input was to guide the design and transition of the ELCC program. Completion of the Engagement Strategy was to be the summer of 2005. The Transition Plan was expected to be completed by the late fall of 2005. Once completed, the Transition Plan would continue implementation of the consolidated ELCC program for First Nations and Inuit communities. However, implementation was not to be. With the election of a new Progressive Conservative federal government, movement in the design and implementation of a single window approach to the delivery of Aboriginal early childhood services has slowed considerably during the transition from the former government. Though not yet in power for a year, the new Tory government has fulfilled its commitment to Canadian families, implementing the Choice in Child Care Allowance which provides $1200 per year for each child under six (Conservative Party of Canada, 2006). The slogan "parent choice" and direct payment to families recalls the 1954 Family Allowance Program. As in the 1950s, Canadians will have to wait to realize a comprehensive early childhood care and education system for their youngest citizens. Liberal government-initiated Aboriginal-specific early childhood programs continue; however there has been no substantive increase in Aboriginal-specific programs and services by the Conservative government. Thus, the critical need for programs, anchored in Aboriginal ways of knowing and being, continues to be a priority for Aboriginal peoples. 5.4 Closing comments Rapid development of early childhood programs, specifically for Aboriginal children between 1995 and 1999, were undertaken with little, if any, time for meaningful community engagement. A common complaint that I have heard from many Aboriginal politicians, 136 senior administrators, and individual community members was the need for more time to engage with community in the visioning, design and delivery of programs and services. A practical reality of this haste is the neglect of meaningful community involvement, particularly in the visioning and designing of the programs and services. For example, there was no time to respond to fundamental questions such as, how will the children's curriculum incorporate and reflect the language and ways of knowing and being of their community and culture? A hasty process also calls into question accountability and informed decision- making by communities. I also reflect upon my role as an "expert" on advisory committees for the development of the First Nations Inuit Child Care Initiative, Aboriginal Head Start Urban and Northern Program and the Aboriginal Head Start On Reserve Program. I found myself in a contested place, a place of interface between the needs, aspirations, and protocols of community and government opportunities. I have come to understand that there are no blacks and whites, there is no good or bad, but rather, complexity that is multifaceted and ever changing. I asked myself, what guided my thinking on these committees? It was the teachings of myMoshum (grandfather) and Kookum (grandmother), my experience, and my learning. They had advised me that "if we are not at those tables we have no chance for voice at all. Government will do what they want whether we are there or not so we better be there in whatever way we can." They spoke from a collective place, a place of First Nations' peoples' voices. I think of their words, and those of Indigenous writers such as Thomas King. King (2003) writes of Antonio Gramsci's "organic intellectual" as "an individual who articulates the understandings of a community or nation" (p. 41). I recall thinking about how strategies and processes for program development would be different if they were in control of First Nations peoples. 137 Relatedly, I remember the responsibility I felt as I sat at those tables. The reality of the process in which I found myself was rooted in a larger context of colonization, and responsibility and accountability to my own collective, all of which seemed to collide in those moments of time. I thought of the children's and families' lives that would be impacted by these programs. Ultimately these programs could be seen as a step in the survival of our children, our families, and our nations. From a very practical place, I was once again reminded of the teachings of my Moshum (grandfather) and Kookum (grandmother) to "take the best, that which is good, and leave the rest behind." In other words, knowing that we do what we can within the parameters in which we work, take advantage of those pieces. In this case, we would do well to ensure the program frameworks and related processes are flexible enough to provide opportunities for communities to implement the early childhood programs in ways that are meaningful to them and their children. It was important to remember that these programs offered families and communities access to formalized early childhood program opportunities that they had never had before. Constant vigilance of these programs, especially against continuing forms of colonization and assimilation at all levels, is necessary to ensure their implementation is as effective as it can be for the children and communities they seek to serve. Cattails grow in moist, wet, marshy places like the ditches along the roads I walked as a child. They are a strong, wispy plant whose leaves are sleek and slender. Cattails are deeply rooted in the land and wave gracefully in the wind. They pass through the seasons of life, bursting into the spring and sharing their seedlings in the fall. Such is the strength and knowledge of our peoples. Despite colonial interactions, despite programs designed^ Aboriginal peoples and not by them, the continuity of our being as Aboriginal peoples passes 138 through each new season of policy and government change to take form in relationships, rooted as they always have been, in our being with the land. We are entwined within the complexity of government policies, programs, and services. Rationales for First Nations-specific early childhood programs are but a microcosm in which larger policy directions are reflected. These program rationales have, like so many other policies for Aboriginal peoples, always been entwined and directed by Canadian governments. The relationship between Aboriginal peoples and the Canadian government, with its historical power imbalance, is always at the base of all considerations. Lines are blurred in policies and rationales except for arguments that focus on the cultures and languages of the people. The practical reality of this situation forces communities to adopt those rationales that allow them access to funds and services and potentially perpetuate a cycle of colonial relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples. Yet it is within these relationships that pathways to respect and power equalization have the potential to be created as shown in the following case studies. 139 CHAPTER Six Pathways to Learning: First Nations of British Columbia It is a good day to tell stories ... 6.1 Introduction This chapter focuses on the results of research conducted in two distinct First Nations located in north-central British Columbia. I chose to focus on Lake Babine Nation and Tl'azt'en Nation. Both are Carrier Nations and have the largest populations within the overall Carrier Nation. Although identical methodologies were implemented in both research sites, and while similar themes emerged from both research inquiries, the communities are dealt with separately because each implemented a unique early childhood program. Lake Babine operates a child care program, while Tl'azt'en operates a Head Start program.19 Accordingly, the structure of this chapter begins with an overview of the Carrier Nation as a whole, and then splits into two separate discussions: first, Lake Babine, and second, TTzat'en. At the onset of each discussion is a positioning or description of my relationship with the community. I conclude the chapter with a discussion of themes common to both communities concerning their experiences developing and implementing early childhood programs. My personal journey ultimately led to this research, and is apparent in the Indigenous protocols that inform the methodology that guided the research. These protocols are derived from unique epistemologies and ontologies, and are at the heart of the theoretical and methodological considerations employed in this research. It is these considerations that form 18 These words were offered by Elder Celestine Dennis from Tl'azt'en Nation in the winter of 2005. See Chapter Three for a description of the Aboriginal Head Start Urban and Northern Communities Program and Aboriginal Head Start On Reserve Program. 140 the framework from which I come to understand the development and implementation of specific early childhood programs in First Nations communities. In order to gain an understating of the early childhood realities of the Lake Babine Nation, I pursued multiple stages of qualitative inquiry, including (a) interviews with community administrators (key informants including band leadership and senior administrators) and caregivers (current administrators and staff of the daycare), and (b) focus groups comprising parents, Elders, and other interested community members. In total, 22 members of the Lake Babine Nation who had significant interests in early childhood issues in their Nation partook in this study. Participants focused on the development and implementation of the community child daycare centre. In ITzat'en, 18 community members participated in this study focused on the Head Start program— its establishment and provision of services to children and parents. I used qualitative methods, including (a) individual interviews with caregivers and administrators of the Head Start program along with one key informant interview, and (b) independent focus groups with parents and Elders. In both communities where I conducted interviews and focus groups (or visited with a number of people from the community as detailed in the methodology section of this dissertation), it was vital that both formal and informal community protocols were followed. A consistent experience in undertaking this research was the hospitality displayed by both communities, including the sharing of food. With reference to the individualized interviews, all discussions were tape-recorded and supplemented with handwritten notes. In the focus groups, flip charting and private notes were used to record the participants' words. After recording and transcription of the data, thematic analysis techniques were used to analyze the perspectives and words of participants: this approach used close-reading techniques 141 coupled with in-depth evaluation of overlapping or consistent wording and phraseologies, comparative evaluation of statements, and point and counterpoint overlay of discussion trends. As part of the research method and ethical commitment to the community and individuals within it, the transcriptions and subsequent report were returned for their review. Participants were generally in agreement with what was written and had only minor changes. It is also important to note that the final copies of the dissertation will be offered to the community sites. Broadly speaking, a number of consistent and constant themes emerged from the voices and perspectives of Lake Babine Nation and Tl'azt'en Nation members who spoke of the realities of early childhood in their communities. 6.2 The Carrier people The description of the Carrier peoples in this section is not meant to be comprehensive. Instead, it is meant to provide a general sense of the people— their geographic location, their language, and their most prevalent protocols. 142 Figure 6.1: First Nations Peoples of BC TUTOHONC^B*" W • KASKA f llLANDTLINGIT IPJJFHAH TAHALTAN SEKANI DUNNE-ZA GITXSAN WET'SUWET'EN British Col um I Aborigi People DAKELH HEILiSUK ^UXALK... • O W E E K E W ^ S I L H Q O T I N SECWEPEMC KWAKWAKA'WAKW .sfc^ ., STL'ATL'IMC COAST SALISH fJftKA'PAMUX KTUNAXA OKANAGAN NUU-CHAH-NULTH Source: Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC The Dakelh (Carrier) people are the Indigenous peoples of a vast territory located in the north-central interior of British Columbia (Figure 6.1). This area spans from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west. The Carrier word "Dakelh" means "people who travel by water." The word Carrier is a term used by neighbouring Sekani peoples to describe the Dakelh peoples. According to Fiske and Patrick (2000), this translation from Dakelh to Carrier by the Sekani peoples: originated from the widow's practice of carrying ashes of her deceased husband on her back for a period of a year or more, depending upon her social status and the capacity of her family and clan to hold a feast to mark the end of her bereavement, (p. 32) 143 While Carrier societies may be closely linked with Sekani societies, their social order and language are not identical (Holyk, Adam, & Shawana, 2005, p. 1). Both men and women have important roles in Carrier society; for example, each can be trained to be a hereditary leader. The Carrier language is a member of the Athabaskan language group (Poser, 2004) and comprises different dialects that may be seen to parallel the geographic differences among them. The bah'lats system, the governance system of the Carrier people, is organized around four primary clans: Bear, Caribou, Frog, and Beaver. Each clan has several subclans which may vary from nation to nation.20 Each main clan is generally led by one head clansman. Hereditary chiefs, who hold rank as wing chiefs, represent each subclan. All these positions are passed down through family or clan lineages or may result from selections guided by clan Elders. The role of the head clansman varies and includes being main spokesperson for the clan they represent, looking after clan members' welfare, and providing direction to them (Holyk, Adam, & Shawana, 2005; Fiske & Patrick, 2000). The bah'lats is the core economic, political, social, legal, and spiritual institution of the Carrier peoples. While protocol is flexible and adaptive to the differing systems of each community, the guiding principles of the bah'lats system are shared among communities. Formal business in the bah'lats is conducted in an open and transparent environment where clan members witness all transactions. As witnesses, individuals are expected to commit to memory the details of transactions, and in the case of hereditary chiefs to recount in oral histories the transactions at future feasts when those transactions are relevant (Holyk, Adam, & Shawana, 2005, p. 6). Subclans are sometimes referred to as houses or crests, and members are generally matrilineal kin. 144 Several protocols in Carrier society are followed when specific formal business is being conducted in the bah'lats feast hall. The most commonly known protocols are those used for the assignment of hereditary chiefs' names, solidifying of law, shaming, and the announcement of births, marriages, or adoptions. The sanctioning of actions, business plans, and transactions in Carrier law is known as "Chus," the law of the eagle down. This law- making is expressed in a ceremony that opens and closes all law-making business in Carrier society, particularly in the feast hall (Holyk, Adam, & Shawana, 2005). In addition to this law-making authority, several principles flow from Carrier laws. These principles are intended to guide the conduct of individuals. They include respect, responsibility, obligation, compassion, balance, wisdom, caring, and sharing. Each principle is expected to be followed one after the other and with equal emphasis on each. These principles and subsequent behaviours are undertaken in relation to spiritual energy. For example, the Carrier believe that "whatever energy is expressed, good or bad, will be visited on the individual in the future. This belief guides the respect demonstrated towards all other beings" (Holyk, Adam, & Shawana, 2005, p. 2). As I wrote earlier in this chapter, two Carrier Nations participated in this study Lake Babine Nation and TTazt'en Nation. The remainder of this chapter focuses on the experiences of community members from these nations (i.e., Elders, parents/guardians, caregivers, community administrators, and community members) who participated in the development of the First Nations Inuit Child Care Initiative (FNICQ) and Aboriginal Head Start On Reserve Program (AHSOR) in their communities. The first section focuses on the Lake Babine Nation and development and implementation of the FNICQ, while the second examines the development and implementation of TTazt'en Nation's AHSOR Program. 145 6.3 Lake Babine Nation The highway to Lake Babine Nation is often closed in the winter because of treacherous driving conditions. This was the case the first evening we visited the Woyenne community of the Lake Babine Nation. We inched our way along the windy highway for almost three hours before, as we rounded the final bend in the road, we saw the twinkling of residential lights and the glare of business signs diffused in the crystals of ice hanging in the air. Never was I so glad to see the small town of Burns Lake, since it is adjacent to the community of Woyenne. As we drove up to the band office, I could see the parking lot was almost full. We were going to have a good turnout this evening. The invitation we had sent ahead of time invited community members and the Nation's leadership to come together to discuss the care of their children and the daycare centre. Parents, Elders, leadership, caregivers, and interested community members were assembled in the council chambers. I thought about how I had come to be here. I recalled the many relationships I had with Lake Babine community members, including community administrators and politicians. I also thought of how much I had learned about the community, the culture, and the people from my experience of being in the community over time— as a teacher of early childhood education, a presenter at the community's annual general meeting, a friend to individual community members, and an invitee to potlatches. When I attend potlatch, I am seated with the Bears. The Bear is my totem from myMoshum. My relationship with the then chief and a senior band administrator (along with others) facilitated my ability to undertake research in the community. Monty (the senior administrator and my friend) had come with me to teach and guide me, as he had on numerous occasions— in this instance, through protocols for engaging the chief and council formally. I wanted to seek their permission and participation in my doctoral studies. Monty 146 subsequently advised me on whom to contact for assistance to help me in the actual conduction of the research with community members. In addition to his advisory role, Monty participated in the research as one of the study participants. His support and that of all the community contributed to the success of this work. 6.3.1 Geographical location, the people The Lake Babine Nation comprises three geographically separated communities with a collective population of over 2,100. The main community, Woyenne Indian Reserve # 27, is located adjacent to the community of Bums Lake. Both these communities are 227 km west of the larger northern British Columbian city of Prince George. The two smaller Lake Babine communities, Tachet (Babine Indian Reserve # 25) and Fort Babine (Babine Indian Reserve # 6), are located within the Babine River watershed, one on Lake Babine itself and one on the Babine River respectively. Prior to 1916 when the Royal Commission allotted reserves, the Lake Babine Nation (as it currently exists today) comprised the "Old Fort Babine" and "Fort Babine" Bands. These merged in 1957. For the purposes of this research, such a geographic and historical framing is important because it is the context in which the only child daycare facility of the Lake Babine Nation exists. The Woyenne Child Day Care Centre is one of two formal early childhood settings in the community. The other setting is the DIA-funded K-4 preschool program. Notwithstanding the centralized nature of the child daycare centre, tensions exist over the institution's mandate to serve all parts of the Nation, including populations in more far-flung geographic areas. I arrived late in the day. Most of the children were gone; staff were busy picking up toys, wiping counters, and arranging furniture for the next morning. This was the second time I had been to the daycare centre. My eye was again drawn to the child-sized, ebony- black dugout canoe that seemed to dominate the room. The Elders had made the canoe for the children along with other real-life replicas, such as the traditional beaded leather clothing for their play. The large room was divided in two by a centrally located kitchen. On one side of the kitchen was the infant/toddler room with its high chairs lined up against one wall. The wall at right angles was dominated by windows. Light streamed in through the windows flooding the room with brightness. The windowed wall extends beyond the infant toddler room into the preschool room sharing the light. The preschool room was sectioned by low- level shelving which divided the children's specific play areas (e.g., block area, role play, and storytelling). The entrance to the daycare centre was dominated by a bulletin board with a host of parent notices. The weekly meal plan and activity schedule were pinned to the left of the board. The door opened and the parent of the last child entered to pick up her son. It was 10 minutes to five and the centre was soon to close. 6.3.2 Development of the community child daycare centre Lake Babine's child daycare centre emerged out of a fundamental need for integrated children's services as a way to better address children's and families' needs. This strategy brought together a vision for community education and employment and the community's desire to meet the specific needs of the children. This vision for community education and employment was based on a belief that education has the potential to lead to employment and thus ultimately to a better way of life (Community Administrator, 2005). The child daycare centre was to support parents who worked or chose to go back to school by providing daycare for their children. However, this did not mean that the care of the children was secondary to parents' needs. And, in fact, positioning educational and employment opportunities for parents as a primary impetus for the establishment of a child daycare centre more closely mirrored the national rationale and intent of the First Nations Inuit Quid Care Initiative funded by the federal government. There is something to be said 148 here about communities and their need to be astute in accessing program funding. Sometimes this means positioning needs to mirror those of the program being offered. In this particular case, the establishment of a community daycare centre was a response to a government funding opportunity as well as meeting the community's need and intent for its members. Simultaneous community objectives for parents and children in the establishment of the child daycare centre were intricately entwined. Services were being targeted to young parents, parents who had dropped out of school and were attending the community learning centre, staff who worked for Lake Babine Nation, and other community members employed outside the home (Community Administrator, 2005). There was also a need to accommodate community members in need of respite care. This was especially important for single mothers needing support and for those children in care of the Ministry of Children and Families. In comparison to the statistics for non-First Nations children, a disproportionate number of First Nations children are in the care of the ministry (Blackstock, Gark, Cullen, D'Hondt, & Formsma., 2004). Lake Babine Nation is no exception. It is particularly important to examine this reality in light of the underlying historical, social, and cultural context in which it sits, a context born of the colonial experience. Others have written extensively of the impacts of colonization, particularly the effects of residential schools on Aboriginal peoples, (Milloy, 1999; Miller, 1996; Haig-Brown, 1991). The effects of the colonial experience are evidenced in high numbers of children in care, low school- completion rates, and a high incidence of alcohol and drug abuse and family violence, to name only a few examples (Fournier & Grey, 1997; McGillvray & Comasky, 1999; Blackstock et al., 2004; Rae, 2006; Office of the Provincial Health Officer, 2007). Establishment of the child daycare centre was seen to have the potential to create a "place" 149 for change where the impact of the colonial experience in today's realities could be addressed (Community Administrator, 2005). This larger conceptualization of the child daycare centre was to become challenged and mired in the complexity of the interface between the community's aspirations and desires for their children within an unfamiliar and formalized structure— the child daycare centre, and the conceptualization of a child daycare centre evident in the policies surrounding funding requirements and implementation of the centre. While the need to support parents by providing them with child daycare services was great, the direct care of children was equally important to community members. Beginning from a place of values and beliefs, community members expressed the teachings of their Elders— that is, the importance of children to the community and of taking responsibility for their care and preparation for the future just as the Elders had done for the current generations. Thus, the desire for community members to care for their children in the community by themselves was significant, or as one participant noted, "There was no formal care place for children to go— the only other care facility was a non-Aboriginal child daycare centre offered by the local college" (Parent, 2005). This fundamental belief, coupled with the desire to create a holistic environment where culture, family, and community needs and strengths are combined, formed the context in which to address the specific needs of children such as those in the care of the ministry, those having special and unique needs, or those afflicted by such ailments as FASD/E (Caregiver, 2005). In this context of needs, realities, and vision, the opportunity for funding provided the basis from which to realize the establishment of a child daycare centre. The initial step in their journey was for the Lake Babine Nation leadership to hire a child daycare manager who could first access the funding and second, oversee the development and establishment of the 150 centre once funding was confirmed. In anticipation of the successful acquisition of funding for the child daycare centre, Lake Babine Nation needed to ensure that the individual who was hired in the manager's position had formal early childhood education training and experience, a requirement of the RFP. This precluded hiring community members, none of whom had such credentials. A First Nations person was hired from outside the community. One drawback to this decision (one that would become evident as the process of implementation played out) was the fact that the new manager was unfamiliar with Lake Babine culture and community ways (Caregiver, 2005). Lake Babine Nation responded to the BC First Nations Day Care Committee's Request for Proposals (RFP) described earlier in this case study. The child daycare manager and a team of experienced individuals wrote the proposal and submitted it to the provincial Day Care Committee where it was accepted and funded a year later (1999). To address the problem of the new manager's unfamiliarity with Lake Babine culture and respect the direction of the community in the care of their children, the community entered into a partnership with the local college to develop an early childhood education program that would incorporate Lake Babine culture. The early childhood training was to occur in the community simultaneously with the physical construction of the child daycare centre. The child daycare manager was to oversee the development and establishment of the centre. One of her first tasks was to solicit community members' participation in the upcoming early childhood training. She did this by going door to door and providing families with information and, in part, by hosting a community information clinic (Caregiver, 2005). Community members interested in taking the training were guaranteed employment in the new child daycare centre. Many of the students, having been out of school for many years, had to upgrade at the same time as they 151 were taking the early childhood education training. The program was offered in the evening so that students could work in the child daycare centre during the day. In fact, the centre opened to staff a month and a half before the children arrived so that the student caregivers could put into practice some of their learning by developing curriculum resources, practicing circle-time activities, participating in the provincial early childhood conference, and visiting other centres (Caregiver, 2005). Of the 12 students who started the three-year early childhood education training, four graduated. There are several reasons for this, one of which was a fundamental difference in the perspectives students brought to the program versus the underlying assumptions and orientation of the curriculum, including the practices being taught. This dissonance is evidenced in the words of a study participant as she reflected on her formal training: "I didn't know this— we never grew up this way" (Caregiver, 2005). In this context, training might be understood as situated at the interface of knowledge systems where Western European thought is the paradigm found in the majority of mainstream institutions and, by virtue of the power inherent in its existence, serves to perpetuate itself. The reality is that these paradigms reach beyond the training program. In the case of early childhood education training, it influences individual caregiver's practice with children through to the structural operation of the program. Mechanisms such as licensing (with its roots in Western European dominant thought) is one such strategy that serves to reinforce such paradigms despite continuous and consistent calls from community for changes to the standards and regulations (inherent in licensing) and their application to First Nations children, families, and communities. Just as training practices (and experience of them) highlighted differences in worldviews, so did community members' perceptions of child daycare. As one study 152 participant said, "The daycare was a foreign structure to the community" (Community Administrator, 2005). The community had many questions around the licensing of child daycare centres by the province. It was the newly hired manager who was faced with explaining provincial regulations to community members and the leadership. When it came to licensing, the community had many questions about why provincial regulations were being implemented on reserve (Community Administrator, 2005). This is not surprising when one considers the history of federal-provincial relations with First Nations peoples. The new child daycare manager shared information with the chief and council and community members about child care in general, and in particular, the provincial licensing requirements the child daycare centre was required to operate under in order to receive funding. The community was unaware of the requirements or implications of those requirements on their community. As one community administrator said, "[The] community wanted a daycare but did not really understand— they did not know what child care was or what was involved in, for example, building a building, child-staff ratios" (Community Administrator, 2005). Chief and council saw provincial licensing as an infringement on their inherent rights, yet in order to access the funding, compliance was necessary. As expressed by study participants, there were many challenges— not the least of which was community awareness and licensing— to implementing the child daycare service. One of those challenges was combating a general perception in the community about the child daycare centre as a place to drop children off for babysitting. Considerable time was spent "educating" community members (including parents) about their roles and responsibilities in the new child daycare centre (Community Administrator, 2005). The magnitude and complexity of introducing and implementing such structures in a community is not to be underestimated, especially in communities where there is a legacy of residential 153 schools and the removal of children. In this context particularly, it is critically important to be aware of what and how new structures, philosophies, and practices are introduced and engaged by the community. Community members may have multiple reasons for engaging or not engaging with the new child daycare structure, but ultimately (over time) their engagement or lack thereof will determine its structure and success. In addition to facilitating the early childhood education training for community members, the child daycare manager was simultaneously charged with providing architects with information and direction that would inform construction of the child daycare centre, while at the same time gathering their ideas, advice, and guidance in its construction. As it drew near to the opening of the child daycare centre, the lack of curriculum resources became apparent, particularly those specific to the community and those for use by the Elders (Caregiver, 2005). Community members focused on the cultural aspects of the program. They sewed dress-up clothes for the children, made beaded vests and slippers, and made dolls with moosehide clothes. The Elders made canoes, paddles, snowshoes, and drums for the children. The community also engaged in how the playground was developed. The development of a parent advisory committee was planned, but has not yet been realized (Community Administrator, 2005). 6.3.3 Language and culture On all of the research forms, language and culture were emphasized as the single greatest, and most important, aspect of all discussion concerning early childhood in the Lake Babine Nation. One Elder mused, "It is important to understand why language and culture are so important" (Elder, 2005). This understanding comes from realization that impacts on language and culture must be set within historical and contemporary contexts of colonization and its negative impact on community. For example, one community member 154 stated that colonization (with attendant outcomes of assimilation, annihilation, and even ethnocide) is at the roots of the negative issues we face today These tenets of colonization are found in government policy and these realities come into effect when we talk of developing services for the best care of children. The layers of colonization need to be rolled back so that people understand that the issues we face today are not issues of our own but that were forced upon our nations" (Community Administrator, 2005). The impacts of colonization have led to a unique social, political, and historical context where First Nations children are born into a legacy of low socio-economic status, high rates of substance abuse, residential school trauma, loss of language and culture, and high rates of interactions with the criminal justice system. It is in this context that First Nations communities across B.C. have developed child daycare centres with the intent of fostering in every child a sense of who they are as a First Nations individual and as a member of the greater First Nations collective. This place of development of identity ultimately leads to a place of change where the impact of the colonial experience in today's realities could be addressed. Thus, the need for culture and language expressed by study participants is rooted in a context that not only foreshadows a need, but demands it for the survival of a people and nation. This cultural continuity is a right of all First Nations children (Rae, 2006; Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 1989, Article 30). If First Nations children are to become healthy citizens of their Nations and the world, it is imperative that they know, understand, and internalize the values, histories, and ways of their culture and people. Repeatedly, study participants stressed the centrality of children, saying, "Teach children that they are special and precious" (Parent, 2004) and that children should understand that "their voice and presence is important" (Caregiver, 2005). All participants again highlighted elements of language and culture as key teachings for 155 children. In the words of one parent, "It is important for children to know their culture, meaning who they are, where they come from, what territory they belong to, and what clan they belong to" (Parent, 2004). Another parent added language, protocols, and values of the people as critical aspects in early childhood programming. These expressions go well beyond the traditional framework of children's growth and development. They include a holistic approach rooted in a unique history and anchored to distinct epistemologies and ontologies. These frameworks for children's growth and development are, according to study participants, found in the community and as such require a community-driven process for their articulation. These frameworks are also anchored in the values of the people. The centrality of children, as discussed previously and illustrated in a caregiver's comment, "Children must be at the centre of our caring" (Caregiver, 2005), is a theme that also speaks to the centrality of children as a mechanism for the transmission of values to children. Such a value is reflective of specific cultures. At the heart of teachings for children is the need to pass on to them t
UBC Theses and Dissertations
Places for the good care of children : a discussion of indigenous cultural considerations and early childhood… Greenwood, Margo Lainne 2009
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