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Ts'ekoo beni Hinzoo : urban aboriginal parents' experience of a culturally specific parenting program Cameron, Michelle Ann 2007

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( TS'EKOO BENI HINZOO: URBAN ABORIGINAL PARENTS' EXPERIENCE OF A CULTURALLY SPECIFIC PARENTING PROGRAM by MICHELLE ANN CAMERON B.S.W., The University of British Columbia, 2005 B.A., The University of British Columbia, 1996 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SOCIAL WORK in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA JANUARY 2007 © Michelle Ann Cameron, 2007 ABSTRACT Urban Aboriginal parents are an under-researched group, as are culturally specif ic parenting programs. The Ministry of Chi ldren and Family Development ( M C F D ) in the Prov ince of British Co lumb ia is in the process of devolving child welfare serv ices to regional Aboriginal Authorit ies. Part of devolution involves reconsider ing how to best approach Aboriginal child welfare. Cons ider ing that referral to parenting programs is currently the norm in c a s e s where there are chi ld protection concerns, this study analys ing how Abor ig inal parents exper ience a culturally speci f ic parenting program is vitally important to determine whether programs such as these are working, from the parents' point of view. Th is study ana lyzes the exper ience of urban Aboriginal parents from a symbol ic interactionist/feminist standpoint theoretical perspect ive. TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT ii TABLE OF CONTENTS iii LIST OF TABLES v LIST OF FIGURES vi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS vii INTRODUCTION 1 Background 2 Literature Rev iew 5 Theoret ical Framework 12 Methodology 15 Samp le Character ist ics 18 MAIN FINDINGS 21 Theme 1: Myths and Stereotypes 21 Theme 2: Cultural Disconnect ion and Reconnect ion 23 Theme 3: Facil i tators as Role Mode ls 28 T h e m e 4: Substitute Family 31 T h e m e 5: A b s e n c e of M e n 32 T h e m e 6: Medic ine W h e e l 33 Theme 7: The Journey, or the Red Road 38 T h e m e 8: Apprec iated Program Elements 39 D iscuss ion 41 Recommendat ions 49 iii Role of the Parent ing Program 51 Future Directions 53 CONCLUSION 56 BIBLIOGRAPHY 57 APPENDICES 64 Append ix A : E A G L E Spirit 12-week Structured Program Outl ine 64 Appendix B: Qualitative Interview Quest ions 66 Append ix C : Notice of Ethical Rev iew 68 Appendix D: U B C Ethics Approval 69 iv LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Demographics of Sample LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1: Parents' Medicine Wheel ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank my partner Meghan Thompson for her infinite pat ience as I progressed through this journey towards complet ion of this degree. I thank my sister Shannon C a m e r o n for her support and encouragement . I thank my mother Cece l i a Tal ley for being my role model , and for being such a source of strength to me. I thank my grandmothers Nancy Char l ie and Gerry Cameron for the gifts of being the women they are. I thank my thesis chair Dr. Margaret Wright for being the professor I wish one day to become. I thank professor El izabeth Rob inson for her gu idance and shoulder to lean on throughout my academic pursuits. I thank Dr. Richard V e d a n and Dr. Merry W o o d for their valuable time and energy being on my thesis committee. Final ly, I wish to thank all of the Elders, facilitators, and parents from the E A G L E Spirit parenting program at Helping Spirit Lodge in Vancouver , B .C . , for their vital input into this study; without you, it could not have happened. Musi cho to you al l , I raise my hands to you in gratitude! vii INTRODUCTION I a m a member of the Dakelh-ne (Carrier Peop les) First Nat ions. I am privi leged to have the full support and acknowledgement of my Band , and Indian Status through the federal government. I mention this because many Aboriginal academics writers do not acknowledge or analyze the position of privilege from which they operate. It is hypocrit ical to attack sys tems oppress ing Abor ig inals, and not to acknowledge whether you are benefiting in any way from them in the meant ime. My location as a First Nat ions woman contributed to my understandings of which methodologies and theories would be most al igned with traditional Aboriginal va lues and beliefs. To honour Aboriginal women 's daily, grinding struggle to exist and to keep their famil ies together, I have titled this thesis Ts'ekoo Beni Hinzoo which in Sheraton Carr ier means "Women With G o o d Minds". What I am referring to with the Carr ier title is how these women work so hard to better themselves, and bring about positive change for their famil ies, using their mind, heart, and spirit. Aboriginal mothers are the ones showing through their act ions that they are willing to travel down the hard road to wel lness, to recover their chi ldren, and hold their famil ies together. I honour the courage, integrity, resi l ience, and beauty inherent in all Aboriginal mothers as they try to walk the R e d R o a d to balance. Traditionally, women were honoured for doing this; now it s e e m s it is just taken for granted. I chose the name of this thesis to honour these women : our sisters, aunt ies, mothers, and grandmothers. 1 Background Accord ing to Statist ics C a n a d a ' s 2001 data, British Co lumb ia has the second -largest Aboriginal population in C a n a d a , at 170,025 people (2006, p.79). The majority of Abor ig inals in British Co lumb ia live off reserve (73%), and the Aboriginal population is growing rapidly (Statistics C a n a d a , 2006, p.79). Between 1996 and 2001 , the Aboriginal population grew by 2 2 % , as compared to only 5 % growth for the total population of British Co lumbia (Statistics C a n a d a , 2006, p.79). In addit ion, in 2001 4 8 % of these Abor ig inals were under the age of 25 (Statistics C a n a d a , 2006, p.79). Urban Abor ig inals are a young, d iverse, and rapidly growing populat ion. Comb ine these demographic characterist ics with British Co lumbia 's Ministry of Chi ldren and Fami ly Development ( M C F D ) statistics indicating that in 2001/01 Aboriginal children represented 36 .6% of the total population of children in care of the ministry. This has steadily increased to 4 9 . 1 % in 2005/06 ( M C F D , 2006, p.20). Statist ics can be higher, depending on the region you are looking at. For example , "As of March 2005, there were 900 children in care in Vancouver . Of those chi ldren, 580 were Aboriginal (65%)" ( M C F D , 2005, p.3). Card ina l & Ad in (2005) state that in 2001 , 36,855 Abor ig inals were living in the Greater Vancouve r Regional District ( G V R D ) , compris ing approximately 1.85% of the total population in the G V R D (p.18). Abor ig inals make up less than 2 % of the G V R D total population yet make up over half of the children in care of the Ministry. This glaring statistic reflects the vast over-representat ion of Aboriginal chi ldren in the child welfare sys tem in the Lower Main land. To put a stark lens on the issue, there are three t imes more Aboriginal children in care in C a n a d a now than at the height of the Resident ia l Schoo l era (Bennett & Blackstock, 2002). This is especia l ly shock ing consider ing that in traditional Aboriginal societ ies, it was never necessary to put our chi ldren into the care of strangers (Community Pane l , 1992); the extended family, C l a n , or tribe would arrange for care of children when necessary . Abor ig inals have been increasingly pushing for control over their own socia l serv ices (Community Pane l , 1992). Many Abor ig inals envis ion control over child welfare serv ice provision as a component of Aboriginal se l f -governance. A s M C F D 2 moves towards devolving child welfare serv ices to Aboriginal Authorit ies, quest ions have been raised by Abor ig inals working in the field of child welfare. T h e s e quest ions focus on the appropr iateness of current programs, and how to ensure that they are the best cho ice for urban Aboriginal cl ients. Sinclair , Ba la , Li l ies, & Blackstock state: "While increasing the degree of control and involvement of Aboriginal communit ies in the provision of child welfare is having positive effects, the transfer of responsibil i ty is a complex and contentious process" (2004, p.201). The Ministry's strategic policy shift towards devolution began with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) September 2002 between M C F D and var ious Aboriginal agencies/communi ty stakeholders that indicated a commitment to return child welfare serv ices to Aboriginal communit ies through Regional Aboriginal Authorit ies (Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) , 2002). In the M O U , M C F D acknowledges Abor ig inals ' inherent jurisdiction over their own chi ldren, and the subsequent need to provide their own child welfare serv ices to their chi ldren and famil ies. Aboriginal Regional Authority Planning Commit tees have been assemb led , and are in the process of preparing for transfer of governance to Aboriginal Authorit ies. On the Aboriginal Chi ld & Fami ly Development component of M C F D ' s websi te, it states, "The first authority is expected to be establ ished by 2007. O n c e created, the authority will eventually a s s u m e responsibil i ty for the Aboriginal child and family serv ices currently del ivered by M C F D " (retrieved January 8, 2006 from: http:/ / index.htm). The devolution process is a lengthy one, and is currently ongoing. In the Indian Act, s.88 transfers authority to enforce child welfare regulations over to the Prov inces, which in British Co lumb ia is done through the Child Family and Community Service Act, 1996 ( C F C S A ) . Regard less of devolut ion, any child welfare provision will have to adhere to the C F C S A . However, there is flexibility as to what form the programs assoc ia ted with child welfare serv ices will take. Th is means current norms need to be examined to help determine which serv ices Aboriginal cl ients find the most helpful, and why they find them helpful. B a s e d on my own 3 exper iences and interactions within the Ministry of Chi ldren and Fami ly Development, it s e e m s that two of the most common child welfare responses to protection concerns are referral to family preservat ion, and referral to parenting programs. In a previous socia l work practicum placement, I encountered a culturally speci f ic Aboriginal parenting program in another Reg ion of the Lower Main land. B a s e d on the s u c c e s s e s I wi tnessed in that program, I became more interested in the culturally speci f ic aspec ts of parenting programs. Subsequent ly , when I dec ided to do thesis research for my Master of Soc ia l Work, I a lready had an interest in culturally speci f ic parenting programs. For this reason, I dec ided to focus my research on the exper ience of urban Aboriginal parents taking a culturally speci f ic parenting program in Vancouver , B . C . Cons ider ing the number of Aboriginal children in care, the number of Aboriginal parents taking parenting programs must be similarly high, as these parents struggle to regain care of their chi ldren from the child welfare system through compl iance with M C F D ' s requirements. In addit ion, not all parents taking parenting programs are mandated by M C F D to be there. There are many who voluntarily attend the parenting program in an attempt to keep their chi ldren out of care of the Ministry. However, this over-representat ion of Abor ig inals involved with the child welfare system is not reflected in the number of culturally speci f ic parenting programs targeted at their needs. In Vancouver , there are few culturally specif ic parenting programs for Aboriginal cl ients. For the purposes of this research, I am defining "culturally speci f ic" as a parenting program that descr ibes itself as including traditional Aboriginal teachings, has Aboriginal facilitators, and has Aboriginal Elder involvement. M C F D does not define "culturally specif ic" in their pol icies or procedures; however, they do emphas ize in their Serv ice Standards the need for serv ices that respect the chi ld's and family's culture and identity (Child and Fami ly Serv ice Standard 5, Chi ldren in Ca re Serv ice Standard 2), ( M C F D , 2003, p.23 & p.96). 4 Literature Review The term "parents" can be defined as "all those who provide significant care for chi ldren in a home or family context" (Moran et a l , cited in Hume, Hubberstey & Rutman, 2005 , p.3). Th is definition acknowledges that a parent need not necessar i ly be biologically related to the child. This definition also acknowledges that the typical vision of a nuclear family is a narrow construct, which is not culturally appropriate for some non-Western constructs of family and kinship, such as Aboriginal famil ies. Aboriginal famil ies often involve extended family, C l a n , and kinship networks, as well as informal familial inclusions such as non-biological "Aunties", which is a far more expans ive concept of family than Western constructs. Hume, Hubberstey, & Rutman (2005) state that "good" parenting pract ices "are culturally def ined and inf luenced, and are rooted in the belief sys tems that define the culture" (p.4). It is important to note that those defining "good" parenting pract ices in C a n a d a are for the most part distinctly non-Aboriginal . Chi ld welfare serv ices in C a n a d a are marked by a critical shortage of Aboriginal socia l workers. Th is means most of the people assess ing Aboriginal parents' parenting skil ls are outsiders to Abor ig inal cultures and norms. This lack of knowledge about Aboriginal cultures and their norms undoubtedly contributes to the growing over-representat ion of Abor ig inals in the child welfare sys tem. In any case , a common response to child protection concerns around parenting issues is to refer to a parenting program. Watson , White, Tapl in & Huntsman (2005) define a parenting program as "A clearly planned and speci f ied set of activities to be undertaken with parents" (p.25). Parent ing programs exist to improve parent/child interaction, to provide support for parents, and to alleviate child protection concerns. Accord ing to Bar low & Parsons (2004), group-based parenting programs began in the 1970's, and their usage has expanded ever s ince. Numerous studies exist that purport posit ive benefits of parenting programs (Bunting, 2004; Moran, Ghate , & van der Merwe, 2004; Thomas , Camilett i , C a v a , Fe ldman , Underwood, & W a d e , 1999; Bar low, 1999; Webster -Stratton & Taylor, 2001 ; Coren & Bar low, 2003). However, very few of these studies 5 address minority populat ions that utilize parenting programs. If culture or ethnicity is addressed at all, it is usually done in the "suggest ions for further research" sect ion. A n except ion to this is an article by C h e n g Go rman & Baiter titled "Culturally Sensi t ive Parent Educat ion: A Crit ical Rev iew of Quantitative R e s e a r c h " (1997). C h e n g Go rman & Baiter state, "Restrict ing the evaluation of culturally sensit ive parent educat ion programs to quantifiable measures (e.g., the occurrence of specif ic target behaviours) may be reductionistic in light of the intricate nature of interpersonal relat ionships" (1997, p. 366). This statement was useful for two reasons; first of al l , it helped me to decide I w ished to avoid reductionistic thinking and analys is in my study. Second ly , it helped me to subsequent ly pick a theoretical framework that would accommodate my desire for non-determinist ic thinking. C h e n g Go rman & Baiter point out the need and value of qualitative analys is around parenting programs, rather than a sole focus on quantitative methodology. This is echoed in the paper by Hume et al (2005), which states, "The exclus ion of other types of research and evaluat ion, particularly qualitative des igns, leaves us with little information about why certain interventions s e e m to produce positive changes , as well as which program components make the difference, and with which groups" (2005, p.24). This statement serves as a rationale for the qualitative and phenomenologica l des ign of this study. In addit ion, Hume, et al (2005) state, "Most of the knowledge about parenting support is based on interventions with women , and in particular, white women. Engaging fathers and cultural minorities has proven more chal lenging" (2005, p. 25). This limitation of the literature was echoed by Coa rd , Wa l lace , S tevenson , & Brotman (2004), who state, "Limited attention has been paid to consider ing whether program eff icacy can be enhanced by focusing on relevant racial, ethnic, and cultural i ssues for the targeted group" (p.278). This was indeed true of most of the literature I rev iewed. Cons ider ing Abor ig inals are vastly over-represented by the child welfare sys tem, and referral to parenting programs by child welfare workers has been growing steadily s ince the 1970's (Barlow & Parsons , 2004), it makes sense to take the time to evaluate what 6 Aborig inal parents taking parenting programs actually think about the exper ience. Hume et al (2005) and Coard et al 's (2004) statements serve as a justification for my qualitative focus on urban Aboriginal parents' exper ience of a culturally speci f ic parenting program. Abor ig inals are increasingly demanding cultural re levance in programs provided to them. Abor ig inals are tired of paternalistic programming that a s s u m e s others have the knowledge and expert ise as to what is needed: First Nat ions have a wealth of traditional cultural knowledge about child development and parenting, about the importance of environment and exper ience from the point of concept ion throughout early chi ldhood. W e have teachings about pre-conception and concept ion, as well as teachings, songs, and ceremonies about birth and parenting. W e need to value and trust those ways because they remain valid for our people today. They are a source of strength for our children and youth. W e need to use those traditions to support famil ies and communit ies to give their chi ldren the best fighting chance for survival and well being ( B C Aboriginal Ca re Society, 2005, p.63). Aboriginals are the experts on what Abor iginals need, not the oppress ive sys tems that purport to serve them while continuing to contribute to their ever-expanding over-representat ion. Abor iginals are call ing for greater control, cultural re levance and specificity. The literature does not adequately address culturally speci f ic parenting programs, a gap which this smal l study attempts to begin to fill in. Brave Heart 's (1999) article helped guide the research quest ions in this study. S h e d i scusses how a parenting program curriculum that dealt with intergenerational effects of t rauma, combined with a re-attachment to traditional Lakota va lues was exper ienced as helpful and effective by the parents in the program. Braveheart 's (1999) innovative study directly informed the central research quest ion in this study, which asks the parents what the cultural components such as Elder involvement, the pipe ceremony, utilizing the Medic ine Whee l , and participating in traditional ceremonies such as the Sweat mean to them. C h e n g Go rman (1996) del ineates three types of cultural parenting programs: culturally translated, adapted, and specif ic. Culturally translated programs are translated, unaltered, into another language. Culturally adapted programs 7 incorporate parts of the target group's culture. Culturally speci f ic programs are des igned specif ical ly for a target group, with their needs and context in mind throughout the process (in C h e n g Go rman & Baiter, 1997; p.343). B e c a u s e of events like the "60's S c o o p " and the Resident ia l Schoo l sys tem, Abor ig inals have an abysmal relationship with the child welfare sys tem. For this reason, I think culturally translated or adapted programs are inadequate to deal with their unique needs. Only culturally speci f ic programs that cater to Aboriginal wor ldviews and understandings have the potential to work, and to overcome the legacy of distrust Abor ig inals deservedly feel towards the child welfare sys tem. Ye l low Horse & Brave Heart d iscuss this when they state that there is a need for "culturally based , culturally congruent, and culturally grounded practice that emerges from traditional A I /AN [American Indian/Alaskan Native] wor ldviews. Native phi losophies, behavioural norms, relationships and attributes are included and Nat ives develop the program for their own population" (in Strode, 2004, p.35). Addit ive solut ions will not work in an Aboriginal context, especia l ly in the contentious realm of child welfare and the support serv ices that accompany it. Ye l low Horse & Brave Heart l iken additive solut ions to "Indian window dress ing" , which will ultimately not work due to its superficiality (in Strode, 2004, p.35). A major component of cultural specificity for Aboriginal programs needs to involve an honest acknowledgement and awareness of the effects of previous assimilat ive pol icies and procedures. Ye l low Horse & Brave Heart address this when they d iscuss the idea of Historical T rauma, defining it as "cumulative and emotional psychological wounding, over the l i fespan and across generat ions, emanat ing from mass ive group trauma exper iences" (in Strode, 2004, p.39). I doubt there could be a better working definition of the effect the Resident ia l Schoo l sys tem had on Aboriginal societ ies. Wes ley -Esqu imaux & Smolewsk i (2004) a lso d iscuss the idea in their paper Historical Trauma and Aboriginal Healing, prepared for the Aboriginal Heal ing Foundat ion. Duran & Duran label this as Intergenerational Posttraumatic S t ress Disorder (1995, p.30), and Stone labels it as Postcolonia l S t ress Disorder (2002, p.99). Mainst ream parenting programs lack this focus on Historical T rauma, 8 and therefore ignore a major contributing factor to why Aboriginal parents intersect so often with the child welfare sys tem. Dufour & Chamber land (2003) point out that, "Interventions for abusive and neglectful parents have se ldom been evaluated and they are still subject to signif icant methodological limitations" (p.17). However, based on their systemat ic review of avai lable literature, they also support the idea that many of the parenting programs are "promising". Many of the smal ler parenting programs such as the E A G L E Spirit program are too smal l to pay someone to do an evaluation or to attract academic attention. Therefore, although programs such as this one may be promising, they are not usual ly written about. This study focuses on two neglected areas in the literature: urban Abor ig inals, and smal l , culturally speci f ic parenting programs. Bunting (2004) outl ines five different types of parenting programs: 1) behavioural , 2) cognit ive-behavioural , 3) re lat ionship-based, 4) rational emotive therapy, and 5) mult i-modal (p.330). Behavioural parenting programs involve learning and applying new parenting ski l ls. Cogni t ive-behavioural programs add techniques to help parents learn new ways of thinking about themselves and their chi ldren. Relat ionship-based programs teach communicat ion ski l ls, as well as teachings around understanding relationships. Rat ional emotive programs aim to reduce negative thought patterns, and replace them with healthier ways of thinking. Mult i-modal ways incorporate several of these modalit ies into one program. Due to the numerous legacies of the residential school sys tem in C a n a d a , I put forth the argument that a multi-modal parenting program stands the best chance of s u c c e s s with Aboriginal parents. The reasons for this tie in c losely with Duran & Duran 's (1995) concept of historical trauma. Events such as centuries of attempted assimi lat ion, residential schoo ls , the "60's S c o o p " of Aboriginal chi ldren, and the continuing over-representat ion of Aboriginal children in care of the Ministry all indicate that a s imple "one s ize fits all" parenting intervention will not work with Aboriginal parents. The legacy of mistrust they carry is too large, and their memory of socia l work and socia l workers is far too dismal for a gener ic intervention to work. 9 This links in with G o o d m a n & Richards ' (2005) report pointing out the var iables risk factors may be assoc ia ted with. G o o d m a n & Richards (2005) state: Adve rse risk factors may be assoc ia ted with the parent (e.g., a lcohol /substance abuse , depression) , family situation (e.g., low income, single parent), parent-child relations (e.g., ineffective parenting, family dysfunction), the child (e.g., disability, health problems, difficult temperament), or the community (e.g., high-risk, under-resourced, disproportionate criminal activity) (p.5). Aboriginal parents deal with multiple intersecting risk factors and oppress ions in their daily ex is tence. S o m e deal with all of these listed factors. A single mode type of parenting program is clearly insufficient for their needs. A multi-modal program has the best chance of adequately serving their complex needs as an indigenous minority with a unique history of colonial and assimilat ive oppress ion exerted through socia l serv ices in C a n a d a . Bremberg (2004) splits parenting programs into an even more basic dichotomy: parenting support geared towards chi ldren, and parenting support geared primarily towards the parents. Accord ing to Bremberg (2004), there is ample literature indicating positive outcomes for programs that target chi ldren; however, there has been little research done on programs targeting parents. The lack of avai lable research becomes even more evident when looking for literature on minority groups involved in parenting programs or, more specif ical ly, Abor ig inal , Native Amer i can , A laskan Native, or Indigenous groups involved with these programs. Harachi , Cata lano, & Hawkins (1997) state, "Underuti l ization has been attributed to severa l factors including cultural and linguistic appropr iateness of serv ices" (p.24), and that this could have a detrimental effect on recruitment for a parenting program. This inf luenced me to ask the parents what drew them to this particular parenting program, and how they heard about it initially. This helped to determine if the obvious cultural components in the program's descript ion helped in the recruitment p rocess . 10 The dearth of literature on Aboriginal peoples ' involvement with parenting programs was a major incentive to pursue this research. The E A G L E Spirit program is very different than most of the other parenting programs offered in the Lower Main land. O n e of the main dif ferences between the E A G L E Spirit parenting program, and others offered in Vancouver Coas ta l region are the Aboriginal culturally speci f ic components of the program. The backbone of this study is built around determining what the cultural components mean to these urban Aboriginal parents. Simi lar to the program in Brave Heart 's article, the E A G L E Spirit program also examines the intergenerational effects of the Resident ia l Schoo l sys tem, and how this has impacted severa l generat ions of Aboriginal parents. The E A G L E Spirit program is a multi-modal parenting program, with workshops that have elements of all four types of parenting programs 1 as defined by Bunting (2004). These e lements include: behavioural , cognit ive-behavioural , relat ionship-based and rational emotive therapy. The E A G L E Spirit program is a lso an Early Chi ldhood Development ( E C D ) program, so theoretically it focuses on the chi ldren. However, when one looks at the workshop schedule of their standard structured program, it is obvious the program pays a great deal of attention to the parents' needs a lso. A s Bremberg (2004) points out, there is a gap in the literature around programs focusing on the parents, and this served as another rationale for the construction of this study. In addit ion, from the literature review, it became evident that humanist ic, interpretive qualitative studies are rare in the d iscourse and research around parenting programs. This in turn led me towards the select ion of a theoretical framework and methodology that were culturally appropriate for use with Aboriginal peoples, and respectful of their ways (and my own) of being and knowing. 1 See Appendix A for a sample of a schedule of workshops for the EAGLE Spirit program's structured parenting program. 11 Theoretical Framework A s stated previously, a major flaw with positivistic quantitative methods and theories is that they a s s u m e a universality that does not exist. Holstein & Gubr ium (1994) state that these sorts of methods and theories " A s s u m e that others exper ience the world basical ly in the way we do, and that we can therefore understand one another in our deal ings in and with the world" (in Denz in & Lincoln, 1994, p.263). Battiste (2000) labels this as "cultural imperial ism" (p.xvi). Abor ig inals have had their wor ldviews, va lues, and norms denigrated, at tacked, and d ismissed by a dominant society s ince its first contact with the colonizers. The absolute rule of positivistic empir ic ism has meant that often research purporting to be "helpful" to Abor ig inals is, ironically, at the s a m e time contributing to their cont inued si lencing through the implied assumpt ion of superiority of Western constructs of epistemologies and ideologies. This is something that I, as a First Nat ions researcher, sought to avoid perpetuating. For these reasons, I w a s drawn more towards humanist ic, interpretive theories. A s an Aboriginal researcher, it is essent ia l for me to choose theories which are not only congruent with Aboriginal epistemologies, but which actually embrace Aboriginal ways of being and knowing. Qualitative methodologies and humanist ic, interpretive theories are the best fit for this reason. B e c a u s e I dec ided to focus the study around the meanings that the parents ass ign to the culturally speci f ic e lements of the program, symbol ic interactionism fit well as the theoretical underpinning to this study. Bes ides the focus on meaning inherent in symbol ic interactionism, severa l other aspects of symbol ic interactionism informed the development of this study. T h e s e include symbol ic interactionist understandings of symbols and roles, which I will d i scuss further later in this sect ion. In Blumer 's seminal text Symbolic Interactionism (1969), he d i scusses two important concepts central to symbol ic interactionism: emergence and personal agency . T h e s e two concepts tie in very well with the Aboriginal concept of self-determination because they value the individual's expert ise in their own affairs. 12 Within the following quote by Musolf are severa l of the reasons I se lected symbol ic interactionism as my primary theory for analys ing the exper iences of the parents: Interactionism will a lways emphas ize agency no matter how overpowering the structure. Emergence , indeterminism, choice, meaning, definitions of the situation - in genera l , minded activity, that is the interpretive, reflexive, and mediated nature of everyday life, and the agent ic aspects of human nature -are emphas ized" (in Reyno lds , 2003, p.114). A s an Aboriginal researcher, I seek out theories and methodologies that are compatible with my indigenous worldview, and the worldview of the Aboriginal parents I conducted the research with. Kenny, Far ies, F iske , & Voyageur state that for Aboriginal people, a core component of their worldview is a belief in adaptability and change (2004, p.8). Symbol ic interactionism shares this core belief in humanity, and as such , is a good fit for this research. The C h i c a g o schoo l of interactionist thought fol lows a more purely interpretivist Blumerian tradition; and this is where I locate the symbol ic interactionist s ide of my theory, rather than in the more positivistic Iowa schoo l of thought. The Blumerian tradition holds a greater sense of human agency and emergence than the Iowa tradition of interactionist thinking. Th is belief not only fits better with the Aboriginal worldview, but I a lso think it fits better with a socia l work perspect ive, where the worker, ideally, must maintain faith in the client's capacity for change. Symbo l ic interactionism guided data analys is by identifying the patterns of meaning ascr ibed to participation in the parenting program, towards the culturally speci f ic components of the program, as well as repeated symbols or metaphors used by the participants. T h e s e were then grouped into broader themes, and ana lysed for interrelationships between each other. Throughout the process , client ideas on what works from their perspect ive were noted, and grouped together in the Recommendat ions sect ion of this thesis. Charon states, "Culture means the ' consensus ' of the group, the agreements, the shared understandings, the shared language and knowledge, and the rules that are supposed to govern act ion" (2004, p. 164). W h e n the consensus , language and knowledge of the group are being negotiated against the norms of dominant society, 13 there is an increased likelihood of role conflict and role strain. Having Aboriginal facilitators, Elder involvement and traditional teachings incorporated into the program is an attempt to bring the culture of the program into al ignment with the culture of the Aboriginal parents using the program. The focus of this study is to ana lyze what the shared cultural aspects of the program mean to these parents. I utilized feminist standpoint theory to ana lyse several underlying contextual factors salient to this study. Saye rs , MacDona ld , F iske , Newel l , & Geo rge state, "Not only have First Nat ions women 's traditional roles been profoundly affected by colonizat ion and the act ions of the state, many First Nat ions men (and women) have internalized the White male devaluat ion of First Nat ions women , resulting in a denigration of the roles of women and the exclusion of women" (2001, p.5). This has had an enormous effect on parenting roles and expectat ions within Aboriginal cultures, an idea that is expanded upon in the Findings sect ion. H u m m def ines feminist standpoint theory as having "as its base the idea that subordinate or less powerful members of society have a more complete v iew of the world than the dominant groups. This is because they have to see both their own subordinate and the dominant perspect ives" (1995, p.276). Feminist standpoint theory fits well with symbol ic interactionism in that both theories are respectful of the client's self-determination, emergence, and agency, and both theories can focus on meaning. They do not violate central tenets of each other. Feminist standpoint theory brings the deeper understanding of the contextual factors and gendered inequities present in the parenting exper iences, which would not be fully drawn out or adequately ana lysed in a purely symbol ic interactionist research project. For these reasons, both theories were utilized and integrated into the analys is of each theme in the Findings sect ion of this thesis. 14 Methodology This study w a s des igned to have a symbol ic interactionist/feminist standpoint theoretical underpinning, with a phenomenologica l approach. The focus w a s on the meanings that urban Aboriginal parents ascr ibe to participation in a culturally speci f ic parenting program, and more specif ical ly around the cultural components of the program. B e c a u s e the facilitators and Elders could offer a more thorough analys is of the structure of the program and underlying theories of the program, they were also interviewed in addition to the parents. Data was gathered by means of individual interviews that took between thirty minutes to two hours, depending on availability of the interviewee. The program coordinator acted as my third party recruiter. S h e provided a written invitation to participate/description of the study to the parents, and a lso te lephoned severa l previous participants to give them the s a m e information. Interested parents contacted me, and interviews were arranged at their conven ience. The interviews were semi-structured (Creswel l , 1998; Marshal l & R o s s m a n , 1999) in order to have flexibility over the course of the interview, and to al low the participants to guide the process. The interviews took place wherever the interviewee was most comfortable; this included at the agency, at a community centre, and at their home. I audio taped each interview, and then transcribed them verbatim. Part icipants had the option of receiving a transcript, but most chose not to. Severa l chose to have the preliminary f indings emai led to them instead. After several weeks , I went through the transcriptions again to ensure accuracy. To maintain accountabil i ty to the agency and the community they serve, a preliminary report was given to the program coordinators and the agency after all interviews had been transcr ibed, to distribute as they saw fit. Th is conforms to Tuhiwai Smith 's assert ion that research with indigenous populat ions should be shared with them (1999). Tuhiwai Smith (1999) states, "For indigenous researchers, shar ing is about demystifying knowledge and information and speak ing in plain terms to the community" (p. 161). For this reason, I returned to the agency to present 15 them with the preliminary f indings, and to speak plainly about the research, and gather any comments they had to contribute. I will return to the agency again to present a copy of the final thesis to the agency. Much of the existing data around parenting programs is distinctly quantitative and positivistic (Cheng Go rman & Baiter, 1997; Hume, et a l , 2005). I chose instead to utilize a humanist ic, qualitative methodology and theoretical framework. The methodological approach I chose was hermeneutic phenomenology. There were severa l reasons for this select ion. First of al l , Aboriginal peoples have a long history of being researched for the benefit of others (Deloria, 1988). A s Delor ia states, "We should not be objects of observat ion for those who do nothing to help us" (1998, p.94). Tuhiwai Smi th, a Maori scholar and researcher, states it even more powerfully: "It appa ls us that the Wes t can desire, extract and claim ownership of our ways of knowing, our imagery, the things we create and produce, and then simultaneously reject the people who created and developed those ideas and seek to deny them further opportunit ies to be creators of their own culture and own nations" (1999, p.1). It is my firm belief that humanist ic methodologies and theories are more culturally appropriate and respectful of Aboriginal peoples ' ways of being and knowing because they honour the subjectivity of all peoples ' lived exper iences, rather than denying it and imposing an assumpt ion of universality. Phenomeno logy focuses on how people interpret or make meaning of their exper iences. It a s s u m e s there is no one universal truth; instead, "truths" are as variable as the people exper iencing them (Patton, 1990). V a n Manen (1997) states that hermeneut ic phenomenology "requires an ability to be reflective, insightful, sensit ive to language, and constantly open to exper ience" (preface, xi). The research quest ions were phenomenologica l in nature because they merely served as launching points, from which the interviewee could take in any direction they wanted to during the interview. I fol lowed the example of First & W a y ' s (1995, p. 105) outline of a seven-s tep phenomenologica l methodology used in their paper: 1) Literature review related to topic 16 2) Investigate the exper ience through the collection of stories contained within the interviews 3) Read ing and re-reading the interviews to interpret them and begin to form a conceptual f ramework for categorizing the parents' exper iences 4) Extracting phrases that lead to greater insight of the participants' exper iences 5) Determining any broader themes related to the interviews 6) Writing the themes into a descript ion that makes sense of the parent educat ion exper ience with a culturally speci f ic parenting program 7) Articulating the results. The theoretical underpinnings of this research project needed to a lso be humanist ic and respectful of Aboriginal peoples ' worldviews, va lues, and norms. Feminist standpoint theory and symbol ic interactionism therefore inf luenced both the formulation of the research quest ions, as well as the subsequent analys is of categor ies and themes. 17 Sample Character ist ics After consultat ion with community partners and child welfare professionals in the Vancouve r Coas ta l Reg ion , I dec ided to partner with the Ear ly Aboriginal Gu idance in a Loving Environment of Spirits ( E A G L E ) program, through Helping Spirit Lodge Society, in Vancouver , B . C . This is a culturally speci f ic parenting program, des igned by Abor ig inals for Abor ig inals. They offer two 12-week structured parenting programs per year, a long with severa l mobile drop-ins that operate out of var ious community centres during the summer months. The parenting program coordinator acted as my third party recruiter. Interviewees consis ted of urban Aboriginal parents who are participating/have recently participated in the Early Aboriginal Gu idance in a Loving Environment of Spirits ( E A G L E ) parenting program at Helping Spirit Lodge, as well as individual interviews with the program facilitators, and two respected and integral Aboriginal E lders . My stipulation was that the interviewees had to have participated in the program within the last year. I am defining "urban" as living anywhere in the Lower Main land, "Aboriginal" as including Status, non-Status, Metis, Inuit, anyone self-identifying as Abor ig inal , First Nat ions, or Indian, and "parent" as the birth parent, or anyone with legal custody of the chi ld. There were no major dif ferences noted between participants who had f inished the program in the last year, and the current cohort. Thirteen qualitative interviews were conducted between May 2006 and August 2006. Morse (1994) states, "In qualitative research, the investigator samp les until repetition from multiple sources is obtained. This provides concurr ing and confirming data, and ensures saturation" (in Denzin & Lincoln, 1994, p.230). To accompl ish multiple sources for data col lect ion, four program facilitators were interviewed, one male Elder, one female Elder, and seven parents who have participated in the parenting program within the last year. Data saturation and repeated themes became evident after the thirteen interviews, so at that point I c e a s e d interviewing. 18 Amongs t the facilitators, there were two Met is, one non-Status Indian, and one Status Indian. Al l of the facilitators were women in their mid 30 's , with the except ion of one woman who was in her 50 's . The facilitators had an average of 4 .25 children each , and all were single parents, except for one person. Al l seven of the parents interviewed were women who were over the age of 19. The parenting program is less than two years old, and there have only been five male participants during this time, with none in the current parenting group cohort. The program coordinator was unable to track down any male previous participants to recruit for this study. S ix of the women had participated in the structured parenting program, and one had participated in the mobile community drop-in parenting program. The average age of the seven women interviewed is 26.4 years old. They have on average 2.4 children each , with an average age of the children being 4.7 years old. Three out of seven of these women were single parenting. There were three status Indians, three non-status Indians, and one Metis in this sample . Table 1: Demographics of Sample Characteristic Parents (n=7) Facilitators (n=4) Average Age 26.4 41.25 Number of Children 2.4 4.25 Single Parenting 3/7 (42.9%) 3/4 (75%) Self-Identified Aboriginal Identity 3 Status Indians (42.9%) 3 Non-Status Indians (42.9%) 2 Metis (50%) 1 Status Indian (25%) 1 Metis (14.2%) 1 Non-Status Indian (25%) I do not like using the terms "Status Indian" and "non-Status Indian" for severa l reasons. Status is a construct of the federal government that creates false divis ions in the Aboriginal community. It privi leges some, while excluding others 19 (usually women) 2 . To give a better idea of how oppress ive the Indian Act is, "It served as a model for the apartheid regime in South Afr ica" (Bedford & Irving, 2001 , p. 13). However, I asked the study participants to self-identify because a lack of Indian status is common amongst urban Abor ig inals. This is a contributing factor to the sense of dislocat ion and disconnect ion from the culture that will be d iscussed in the Findings sect ion of the thesis. Al though I do not like the false division of Indian status, the fact is it exists. For these reasons, I chose to ask the study participants to self-identify to give greater clarity to my analys is . As Jamieson (1986) states, "Indians have never been a party to formulating any part of the Indian Act' (in Ponting (Ed), 1986, p.113). The federal government's ultimate goal has always been to assimilate all Indians into the mainstream Canadian populace, and to absorb all of our traditional territories and lands. One way they attempt to do this is by controlling who qualifies as "Indian" or not through Indian Status. This is crafted to create a "have" and "have not" relationship between different groups of Aboriginals, a divide and conquer tactic by the colonizer which unfortunately has been all too successful. 20 M A I N F I N D I N G S Theme 1: Myths and Stereotypes One of the workshops which parents cited most frequently as helpful was the Se l f -Es teem workshop. A facilitator descr ibed this as a "heavy" workshop, which she elaborated meant that it required a lot of introspection, understanding, and growth on the part of the parent. A different facilitator said she cal ls the Addict ions and Self-Es teem workshops "Strong Medic ines" because they are hard to do, but provide a great deal of heal ing for the parents. O n e facilitator emphas ized that in her Self-Es teem workshop she deconstructs "the myths" that Aboriginal parents receive in chi ldhood. Interviewer: These "myths" that you're talking about, from childhood, what do these look like, and what sorts of meaning does that hold for the parents? Facilitator: Mostly, it's like the intergenerational abuse, and the suffering of addiction, and Residential School. And things like children are meant to be seen, and not heard. Or you're stupid, you're bad, you're dirty, you're ugly. All of those negative things that we carry. Or, also you know, cultural prejudices. You're too brown, you're too white, you're a dirty Indian; you're just a, whatever it may be. And exploring what we carry from that, and what we've just accepted about ourselves, you know? The combined effects of Resident ia l Schoo ls , intergenerational abuse , alcohol and drug abuse , and negative stereotypes are all intertwined in a complex way, which feeds the poor sel f -esteem many Abor iginals carry internally in their day-to-day ex is tence. The Se l f -Es teem workshop operates from a platform of decolonizat ion, whereby the facilitator gently guides the parents through an exploration of these myths, and where they come from. The facilitator expla ined that by locating the source of these myths and stereotypes within the dominant culture of the colonizer, it a l lows the parents to "choose not to own this about themselves." 21 This in turn prepares the parent to begin to open up more to the cultural aspec ts in the program. Narayan (2004) d i scusses the concept of "epistemic advantage", which is a feminist standpoint concept that involves the oppressed having knowledge and understandings of both their own contexts, as well as those of their oppressors , out of necessi ty for survival. Narayan (2004) points out that although this is f ramed as an "advantage" in feminist d iscourse, it has a "dark s ide" (Narayan, 2004, p.221), as she puts it. The dark s ide involves oppressed peoples having two or more mutually incompatible f rameworks framing their socia l reality. This feminist standpoint concept of the dark s ide of the dual consc iousness oppressed peoples p o s s e s s can be appl ied to the first theme of the f indings; the myths and stereotypes that the Aboriginal parents exper ience. Even if the parents had the good fortune to grow up in a ba lanced, healthy Abor ig inal home, they would still have the negating and opposit ional viewpoints of dominant society wriggling into their thoughts and understandings of themselves. T h e s e negative v iews of the oppressor conflict with healthy attachments to Abor ig inal culture, and manifest as internalized oppress ion in the form of rejection of or s h a m e of anything Abor ig inal . If the undermining inf luences of the colonizer 's va lues and norms remain unchal lenged, Abor ig inals ' understandings and respect for their own ways can atrophy. This will lead only to even poorer sel f -esteem and self-image when the parents' lived exper ience does not match up with either of their f rameworks of understanding. They become trapped between two cultures, and a participant of neither. About half of the parents and facilitators mentioned the fact that the self-es teem of the parents "gets beaten up" even further by the fact that they are often mandated by their Ministry of Chi ldren and Family Development child protection worker to attend. One facilitator states, "Having your kids taken away really beats up your spirit and sel f -esteem." Parents descr ibe how they feel other parents or people in general will negatively judge them for having to take a parenting program. This makes for a tenuous beginning when the parents walk in the door of the parenting 22 program. O n e parent explains how being mandated to attend would make her feel like she had "holes in her fabric" which everyone could see and point at. A facilitator expla ins the low sel f -esteem in a similar way. To even work up the courage to walk in the door can be difficult for some. Facil itator: They come in here; they're feeling pretty bad about themselves. If their kids are taken away, they've got to be feeling like they're a rotten parent. I'm a horrible person, I don't know what I'm doing, I don't even know why I'm here. And they come with all these things stuck on them. And then, hopefully, by the time they leave, some of it gets hung up over there [points away from self]. And, hopefully, they leave it there, and don't pick it back up again. Interviewer: S o it's almost like a smudge then? You're coming in, and dusting off all of the negative things that have been put on you, or you have put on yourself? Facilitator: Yeah! Yes! That's a good way of putting it. Yeah, you brush yourself off; get that stuff off. Because underneath everybody is a good person. It's the choices we make, obviously, that take us down those roads... The parents often expressed feel ings of very low sel f -esteem upon entering the program. This was a result of pre-existing cultural stereotypes, as well as feel ings assoc ia ted with being mandated to take a parenting program, or participating in the parenting program in genera l . The low sel f -esteem exper ienced by the parents ties in c losely with the next theme of cultural d isconnect ion. Theme 2: Cultural Disconnect ion and Reconnect ion Many of the participants brought up feel ings of not belonging, not fitting in, and being d isconnected from their Aboriginal cultures. Parent: That's a part of me that I didn't get when I was younger. I actually, I didn't even know I was First Nations until Grade 9, when I went to a Native school. I thought I was just white! Because that's how, my 23 family never really spoke of it. They might of, but I didn't really understand. I felt like I got ripped off, right? I nterviewer: Ripped off of your culture ? From your childhood? Parent: Yeah, because I look at other people, and they're so involved with like, powwows, bringing their kids there, to make sure this is what they know, right? Not to rip them off. And there's dancing, and drumming, and stuff. This parent powerfully descr ibes the cultural d isconnectedness as making her feel "r ipped off' of her cultural legacy. This same mother descr ibed how she w a s raised in an alcohol ic family, which she b lames for the interruption in cultural teachings from her parents' generat ion to hers. From my own exper ience working with urban Aboriginal famil ies, the sense of d isconnec tedness that is captured in the quote is quite common. Many urban Abor ig inals have moved to the city to escape their Rese rve , search for a brighter future, or to follow other family members who have left. Others are in the city because they have been disenfranchised by various discriminatory mechan isms in the Indian Act , and no longer belong to a Band . Somet imes this is an intergenerational effect, where the person's parent or grandparent was d isenfranchised, thereby denying subsequent generat ions the "privi lege" of Indian status. T h e s e parents often spoke of feeling " in-between" culturally. They may "look Indian", but are not connected to the cultural aspec ts of Aboriginal identity. S o m e spoke of feeling too brown to fit into the white world, but too culturally d isconnected to feel at ease in the Aboriginal world. This leaves them in an odd, liminal place on the periphery of both cultures. They feel like they are on the outside, looking in to both Aboriginal culture and white culture. There is often a sense of nervousness to become involved with Aboriginal cultural activities. Taia iake Alfred (1999) speaks to this very issue in his text Peace Power & Righteousness: An Indian Manifesto. Alfred states, "Material poverty and socia l 24 dysfunction are merely the visible surface of a deep pool of internal suffering. The underlying cause of that suffering is alienation - separat ion from our heritage and from ourse lves" (1999; p.xv). The sense of al ienation, of not fitting in comfortably with either Aboriginal or mainstream culture is extremely problematic for these parents. It limits their participation in the positive, healthy aspec ts of Aboriginal cultural identity. Daes (2000) states, "Isolation is an important tool, and a devastat ing result, of colonizat ion" (p.7). Isolation is a key weapon of the colonizer in keeping indigenous peoples from realizing the true power of their traditions, while at the s a m e time keeping them from acceptance in mainstream Western culture as wel l . Many urban Abor ig inals end up perpetually on the margins, fitting in nowhere. The flip s ide to the sense of d isconnect ion is the powerful sense of cultural reconnect ion that emerged after participating in the parenting program. Parent: Like I said, I wasn't into my culture when I first started coming here. And just throughout the whole program, I got really interested, got really into it. Especially making crafts, like beading and stuff like that, and the stories behind it. And then we did a Sweat, and I was SO nervous when we did it! But I think I really touched base with my Native culture, and my spiritual culture. That was a new thing for me, and it really changed me. Like, when you touch one thing, and it changes your whole life. This parent's transformation from being a nervous outsider to enthusiast ic participant is marked. O n e of the strengths of the E A G L E Spirit program is that it offers a safe, non-threatening place for urban Abor iginals feeling d isconnected from their cultures to begin to explore their roots and reconnect with their cultures. The effect of this cultural reconnect ion ties in directly with the issues around parenting. Increased cultural connec tedness increases the parents' sense of stability and grounding. One parent exp resses it like this: Parent: It brings me back to just understanding my ancestors and my culture, and gets me involved more in the community, going to see different 25 events, and not just going out drinking or doing drugs or whatever, because you have to be sober to dance or drum. And just being involved with that is better for me... O n e of the major issues bringing parents into contact with the child welfare sys tem is alcohol and drug abuse. A n y aspect of a parenting program that can reduce the likelihood that parents will abuse subs tances is, therefore, extremely desirable. The importance of the influence of a col lective norm should be noted here. B e c a u s e she has become involved with traditional drumming or danc ing, the parent refrains from alcohol and drug use. S h e does this because other Abor iginals involved in these traditional activities would frown upon any alcohol or drug use. In addit ion, it goes against traditional teachings of approaching drumming or dancing in "a good way", or in a state of relative balance. A lcohol and drug use indicates a state of imbalance in one 's own Medic ine W h e e l 3 , which is why others would frown upon it while participating in traditional ceremonies or activities. This is a col lective influence that would be absent without the cultural connect ion facilitated by the program's cultural focus. This ties in very c losely with what one of the Elders said during their two-hour interview. In this interview, the concept of "Indian S i ckness " was introduced. Elder: To explain the importance of the cultural aspects, we have a term in Indian Country called "Indian Sickness". And what that is, is that Aboriginal people, the indigenous people of North America, treaty, status, non-status, whatever, if they don't follow their cultural ways, they get really SICK. And the sickness often includes a lot of different abstracts, like alcoholism, drugs, prostitution's another, family violence, sexual incest and sexual assault. And they end up really, really LOST. For more information, see "Wellbriety Movement" literature available from:, which focuses on alcohol and drug abuse prevention using a Medicine Wheel model. 26 In order to get these people, the Aboriginal people from an urban area back into a healthy environment, we REALLY have to introduce them to the cultural aspects, more than anything, because they need to have that base under them. You can't go anywhere, or build anything if you don't have a foundation. And CULTURE is the foundation of these people, of ALL of us. Without that foundation, we're running lost. Accord ing to this Elder, Aboriginal peoples ' cultures operate as a sort of buffer against the detrimental effects of contact with Western culture. The imposit ion of dominant society resulted in many of the issues that plague Aboriginal communit ies now. Prior to contact, the power of the collective norms made incidents such as sexual abuse extremely rare 4 . W h e n they did occur, they were dealt with publicly by the group, usually in some sort of shaming ritual, fol lowed by increased scrutiny by the group to ensure compl iance 5 . Compl iance was often acknowledged in an honouring ceremony, celebrat ing the re-balancing of relationships between all involved. The ultimate threat to ensure compl iance was banishment. Peat (2002) states, "From within a worldview that is based upon relationship, the threat of banishment is far more ser ious than life imprisonment or the death penalty, for it means cutting a person off from the whole society, and even from the opportunity to hear and speak his own language. In other words, it removes the very context that g ives a person's life meaning and identity" (p.49). The irony is that this is exactly what the Resident ia l Schoo l sys tem and the child welfare sys tem do; they d isconnect people from their cultural legacies and traditions. It is almost an unfathomable theft, the theft of one 's cultural foundation, a theft that the colonizers cannot truly comprehend the ramifications of. See, for example, Rolland's (1994) dissertation titled Asking Our Elders. Elders describe how rare sexual abuse or incest was in traditional societies before the imposition of dominant Western society. See for example, Victor's (2001) thesis titled Searching for the bone needle: the Sto:lo Nation's continuing quest for justice. Victor describes the Sto:lo's traditional way of dealing with people who strayed from the group's norms. Retrieved from 27 Without the cultural foundation, Aboriginal people are rudder less in a s e a of colonizat ion. A s the Elder states, they end up really lost. Being direct ionless al lows one to drift all too easi ly into negative patterns of thought and behaviour. The constant rejection and negative stereotyping and mythologizing which the parent ment ioned in the previous quote ensures that Abor ig inals do not feel sufficiently ensconced in mainstream culture to fit in and s u c c e e d . Yet , without the cultural connect ions serving as a foundation, they are not bound by Aboriginal cultural norms either. This contributes to the patterns of dysfunct ion. W h e n the parent begins to exper ience and participate in Aboriginal traditions and ceremony, she feels more bound by the group norms and her behaviours change to reflect this. The sense of belonging and fitting in, which so many of these parents are miss ing, is exactly what is successfu l in modifying this parent's behaviour. "Indian S i ckness " is cured by exposure to Aboriginal cosmology, epistemology, and traditional cultural ceremonies and events, as reflected in the preceding quotes. Immersion in and connect ion to Aboriginal traditional cultures solidif ies the parents' s e n s e of identity, and acts as a counterbalance to the negative associat ions of Aboriginal identity that is perpetuated by dominant society. A s Wa lms ley (2005) states, "A cultural identity is accompl ished only though active participation in and connect ion to the communal ties that constitute the culture" (p.5). Theme 3: Facil i tators as Role Models All of the facilitators have lived exper iences that mirror the program participants' exper iences in some way, to varying extents. S o m e have had exper ience with the child welfare sys tem, alcohol and drug problems, domest ic v io lence relat ionships, and other related issues. Facilitator: Coming from a background of huge family violence, Residential School, addictions, you name it, incest, lots of sexual abuse, all of that. And abusive partner after abusive partner for, like, most of my life. And then living on the Downtown Eastside, being homeless, and I'm also an ex-sex trade worker. I did all that. I've been through most of what you can think of. So yeah, I brought a lot of that into this program. 28 Maybe for a lot of women, they can definitely identify with one form or another, right? They've gone though the experience that I've gone through, or the other facilitators in the program. The facilitators' lived exper ience serves several functions to the parents. In Abor ig inal cultures, role modell ing is extremely important. It is one of the primary mechan isms by which cultural norms and va lues are transmitted from generat ion to generat ion, rather than through authoritative means . Tradit ional Aboriginal parenting utilized role model l ing, non-interference, and permiss iveness towards the child to promote the chi ld 's autonomy (Cross, Ear le , & S immons , 2000). The Resident ia l Schoo l sys tem, and the generat ions of Aboriginal children who were brought into care of the child welfare sys tem, have exper ienced an interruption of t ransmission of these traditional ways of parenting. B e c a u s e of the generat ional interruption, many of these parents have had poor parenting exper iences as they grew up. The previous generat ions could not teach them, because they were too caught up deal ing with their own issues due to the Resident ia l Schoo ls ' effects, or the effects of being in care of the government. Horejsi , Heavy Runner Cra ig , & Pab lo (1992) state, "The boarding schoo ls not only destroyed or distorted the intergenerational (cultural) t ransmission of family and parenting knowledge and behaviour, but they also introduced new and dysfunctional behaviours, such as the use of severe punishment in chi ld-rearing" (p.334). It is ironic that dominant society now judges Abor iginals for the very behaviours they introduced and imposed onto our traditional societ ies. For this current generat ion of parents, having the facilitators as role models is, therefore, extremely valuable, because many of these parents did not have parental role models . It is not s imply a matter of the facilitators have been through similar exper iences, so they can understand the parents: a far more important aspect is that the facilitators have lived through these exper iences, and come out the other s ide of them. They can role model being survivors, and throwing off the blanket of vict im-hood, to be replaced with a protective button blanket of cultural teachings, legacies, and pride. 29 Facilitator: I've shared my story for years. And that doesn't only help build trust with them, right? They know where you've been; you've been there. And recovery IS possible. Going on to become a survivor IS possible, right? I played the victim for many, many years. But I am CHOOSING to survive today, and just putting that piece into it The facilitators serve as role models of survival and resil iency. They show, in the words of one of the parents, that there is "light at the end of the tunnel". Another parent echoes this sentiment in the following quote: Interviewer: You mentioned that the facilitators have been through the same thing, what does that mean for you? Parent: It means a lot to me, it really does. There's some people you meet, and you'd rather not get taught by them, because they haven't been through the same experiences that you have been through. But the facilitators here, I really appreciate and respect them because they GOT here to this place. And they're able to stand up and say, "I've been through what you've been through, don't be ashamed, Tm here to help you". And that's really comforting. The fact that the facilitator has moved beyond her issues clearly offers a source of hope for this parent, a long with all of the others who mentioned it. For the parents, it was much less stigmatizing to speak openly about their struggles with parenting in front of facilitators who have a lso lived through similar c i rcumstances. The parents mentioned feeling more understood, and less judged than if it were "just another counsel lor who learned it from a book". They emphas ized the difference between learned knowledge acquired from educat ion, and lived exper ience. They clearly valued the lived exper ience of their facilitators, and felt that it contributed to the parents' wi l l ingness to trust and be honest in the group setting. Severa l a lso indicated that this trust helped them to "be more real" in the program, which helped in their learning and healing throughout the process . 30 Theme 4: Substitute Family Many of the parents come from communit ies from outside the Lower Main land, and can feel isolated in the urban context. Severa l interviewees ment ioned the program gives the parents a substitute community or family. Facil itator: It's more like home, like in a good sense of the word, not in a bad sense. From what I've hard the clients say, is when they come from isolated communities, it recreates that feeling [of home] for them. Interviewer: Ok, so a sense of home in a place where they don't have one? Facilitator: Mmm-hmm, yeah. Or, they've lost it, you know? Even in the urban Aboriginal community, suffering through the traumas of foster care, and stuff like that. It gives them that bigger sense of community, you know, in the old fashioned kind of way. Aunties, you know? This concept of "Aunt ies" is an important sub- theme, which severa l parents ment ioned during the interviews. The term "Aunty" in an indigenous context has speci f ic meaning. Aunt ies are extended family or kin who can help raise your child when you are unable. They need not be related to you necessar i ly (although they often are); they can be more like c lose mentors in your community. They offer adv ice, and are role models. Horejsi , Heavy Runner Cra ig , & Pab lo (1992) state, "Native Amer i cans are typically part of an extended family structure. Aunts may be cal led 'mother', uncles may be cal led 'father.' A n individual's cous ins may be treated as brothers and sisters. Grandparents are often key dec is ion-makers and frequently play a central role in the parenting of young chi ldren" (1992, p.338). There is an old adage, "It takes a community to raise a child", which is especial ly appl icable in an indigenous context. The parents used it to descr ibe the female Elder, as well as the facilitators. For these parents, the Elder and facilitators are operating as substitute Aunt ies, helping and guiding them in raising their chi ldren. 31 Theme 5: Absence of Men There are very few Aboriginal fathers attending the parenting program. The program coordinator sa id in two years they have had only four or five, with severa l of those "not working out". The coordinator said that one factor contributing to this might be the domest ic v io lence educat ion aspects of the program. Many of the women in the program have had, or are currently involved in, violent relationships with their men. The coordinator indicated that some men just are not in a place where they are ready to hear the message that violent relationships are unhealthy and unbalanced. This may be contributing to why some men do not become involved in the program, or drop out. B e c a u s e there were no male participants that were reachable, I was unable to get the fathers' perspect ive on participating in the parenting program. The facilitator talked about the importance of having a male Elder involved with the women in the program. S h e said he served as one of the few positive male role models that some of these women had ever exper ienced. Her favourite thing that he teaches was something she cal led "The 3 P 's " of Aboriginal male identity and duty. The "3 P 's " are: 1) being a good provider; 2) being a good protector; and, 3) procreating. Accord ing to the Elder, if you cannot do the first two, wel l , you have no bus iness doing the third. He tells the women this is what the men in their l ives should be doing for them. The facilitator said there are often tears shed when the male Elder speaks to the women in the program because many of the women have had few positive male role models involved in their l ives. I asked the male Elder for his thoughts on the lack of father involvement with the program. He stated: Elder: The reason that there's probably not many men in the program is because most of the families that are in the East end, or in the Vancouver area, are single parent families. And the husbands or fathers aren't anywhere to be found, or they might be incarcerated, or they ran off somewhere and they don't even know where they are. So 32 it's kind of hard to run a "family" program when you've only got half of the family! In fact, three out of seven parents interviewed were single parents (43%). This means the majority had a partner, a partner who was not involved with the parenting program. O n e of the mothers in the program vented some obvious frustration at the lack of male participation: Parent: What's the name of the program? EAGLE Spirit? It doesn't say "Mother's-Only." It could be open to men, but I guess they just don't feel that they need to. Or, the mom's going to do it anyway, so why should they? Interviewer: The parenting role, you mean? Parent: Yeah, yeah, like MOST of that stuff. Like, "mom's going to look after the kids, and I'm going to do whatever I want". The mother who said these words obviously feels that the fathers are not involved because they choose not to be. There may be severa l other factors at play, however. The program facilitator raised one issue: domest ic v io lence and the men's discomfort around d iscuss ing it if it is a current issue in their home. Another contributing factor to the lack of men may be the fact that all of the facilitators are women , as well as most of the other participants. Men may not feel like the program is very welcoming for them, although the program coordinator indicated this is something they are working on. In any case , the reality is that the parenting program usual ly has all women participants, and while most of the women do have partners at home, these partners are not participating in the program in any way. Theme 6: Medicine Wheel The E A G L E Spirit program operates on a Medic ine Whee l model (see Lane , Bopp, Bopp, & Brown, 1985). The Medic ine Whee l visual ly represents the Aboriginal va lue of holistic living (Rogers, 2001). One of the main interview quest ions asks the 33 participant to descr ibe one or two things they saw, did, or exper ienced that fit into each of the four quadrants of the Medic ine Whee l : the physical , mental, emot ional , and spiritual domains . They are then asked to explain what some of these things mean to them. F ig. 1 on p.36 illustrates the wide diversity of answers garnered from this quest ion, each p laced in the quadrant which the participant identified it belonging to. There were some very interesting stories that accompan ied some of the things listed in each quadrant. Many of the participants commented on how meaningful the Medic ine Whee l work w a s in their learning, in particular how it was useful as a v isual aid as to what areas they needed to "work on" in their l ives. The eagle feather in the centre of the wheel signif ies balance, which is what humans strive for. The Medic ine Whee l provides a valuable visual tool for the participants to fill out with unique details from their own l ives, and then analyze it afterwards for areas to work on improving or strengthening. The arrows outside of the wheel signify the c lockwise movement throughout the circle, which is the direction many Abor ig inals bel ieve to be proper for ceremonies and cultural p ieces, as well as being indicative of progressing from one developmental level such as youth, to another, such as adult. The data from the seven parents filled the entire whee l . Their answers covered all four domains fairly equally, showing that the program is success fu l in its holistic approach. The ability of the parents to fill the wheel shows that they retained much of the teachings they received, because they were able to successfu l ly recall and explain these numerous items and ideas to me in the interviews, s o m e of the interviews occur ing months after the participant had completed the program. One parent states: Parent: We've been shown a few different ways of working with the Medicine Wheel. We've had facilitators come in that show us a different way, and different Medicine Wheels. Every human kind, like non-Natives too, everyone has a Medicine Wheel in their own way. And I found that neat, but they show us on a paper how, I forget the word they used. Just if we're even in all of them, or not, and it shows what we're doing 34 good at, and what we need to work on. Mine was the spiritual, I guess, because this is the only time I've ever really been doing our ways, since coming into the program. Different parents d iscussed "needing to work on" var ious areas of their W h e e l . It is important that this was descr ibed as a struggle to find ba lance, rather than being couched in traditional socia l worker jargon and def ic iency-based language of "problems" and " issues" . The participants did not see the areas that needed improvement as being deficits, or problems, but rather as part of the natural struggle for ba lance inherent in each Whee l . 35 WEST: PHYSICAL Black, Adult, Water Element Reason, Growth, Dusk Fall / Harvest, Sage, "Clean Time" Walks, Day Outings, Healthy Food Safe Space, Domestic Violence Public Health Nurse Cooking & Meals, Housekeeping Getting to Class Playing with Children NORTH: INTELLECTUAL White, Elder, Air Element Guidance / Direction /Wisdom Night, Winter, Wholeness, Sweet grass Traditional Arts, Stories, Genograms Meditation, Journaling, Eco-maps Reading to Children, FASD Education Family Violence Education, Recovery How to Play with Children, Intergenerational Patterns Parenting Tips, Addiction Grounding, Discipline Budgeting EAST: SPIRITUAL Yellow, Child, Fire Element Vision/Illumination Dawn, Spring, Protection Tobacco, Talking Stick Sweats, Pipe Ceremony, Smudge Singing & Drumming, Prayer Ties "Traditional Thursdays", Balance Calming, Reconnection Respect for Elders, Listening Medicine Wheel Red, Youth, Earth Element Time / Discipline / Patience Mid-day, Summer, Nourishment Cedar, Check-ins, Friendships Humour & Laughter, Counselling Anger Management, Self-Esteem Healing Inner Child, Slips & Relapses Recovering from Abuse (Sexual, Emotional] Celebrating Milestones SOUTH: EMOTIONAL Figure 1: Parents' Medicine Wheel The Medic ine Whee l is more of a strength-based tool than mainst ream a s s e s s m e n t tools, and so it is eas ier for the parents to both understand and accept . M a n y of these parents have struggled to complete high school , or have not completed it. Literacy is somet imes an issue. Having a culturally relevant v isual aid like the Medic ine Whee l is a powerful tool that aids in t ransmission of the teachings offered by the facil iators. B a s e d on the ability of the parents to fill the Medic ine 36 W h e e l , and explain the meanings behind it for them, it s e e m s obvious that to these participants, it would qualify as a "significant symbol " in symbol ic interactionist theory. Symbo l ic interactionists argue that a symbol becomes significant only when the meaning is the s a m e for giver and receiver (McCa l l , in Reyno lds & Herman-Kinney, 2003, p.328). The facilitators v iewed the Medic ine Whee l as a culturally appropriate assessmen t tool and visual aid that can help in illustrating the strengths and areas of future improvement for parents. It is easi ly individual ized, and has the added benefit of being recognizable as a cultural symbol for most Aboriginal groups. The parents accept the Medic ine Whee l and engage with it in a way I doubt would be replicated in mainstream assessmen t tools. For example , would most cl ients be able to reiterate so many details about a standard risk assessmen t? It s e e m s unlikely. The reason is cultural re levance. The Medic ine Whee l means something to these parents, in a very personal way. In other words, the symbol is significant because there is shared meaning (Reynolds, in Reyno lds & Herman-Kinney, 2003, p.72). The Medic ine Whee l can a lso serve as a visual aid for the conceptual interpretation of the data. A s stated previously, change in one domain of the Whee l impacts the other three domains . Prior to the parenting program, the parents were missing parts of their W h e e l , which contributed to imbalance in their l ives. This is reflected in the data by the themes of feeling lost, and having the s e n s e that something w a s miss ing. Referr ing to F ig . 1, one can see the direction the Whee l is supposed to turn is c lockwise as one moves develdpmental ly through the s tages in life. However, one can imagine that if parts were missing from a W h e e l , it would not turn properly as it is in a state of imbalance. This is how the parents' l ives were before the program; hence, they were stymied in their attempts to enact change and more forward. Picture F ig . 1 with one of the quadrants miss ing, and one can imagine that it would no longer be functioning as a holistic unit. The W h e e l cannot move forward when p ieces of it are miss ing. 37 In the data, the themes of the facilitators' lived exper ience, cultural reconnect ion, and the peers/facil itators as a substitute family serve to fill in the missing parts of the parents' Whee l s , thereby re-establ ishing balance and the ability to move forward. Th is is vitally important, as several of the parents mentioned feeling "stuck" in their l ives before the program. Many of the workshops target the parent, and work towards facilitating healing in the parent, rather than just focusing on parenting tips. A s these parts of the parents' Whee l s are filled in, the ability to truly enact positive change is restored, and the c lockwise motion of the Whee l can resume, taking the parent to their next developmental level. Theme 7: The Journey, or the Red Road Almost all of the parents, facilitators, and Elders made reference at some point to being on a journey, path, or road. The references to a journey or the red road are behind the title of this thesis. Ts'ekoo beni hinzoo means 'women with good minds' . This title honours the self-work to get to a place of heal ing that these women have undertaken for the benefit of both their famil ies and themselves. The people doing these parenting programs are predominantly women . The cohorts that I drew my sample from were all women . Thinking of my own Reserve , my Grandmother is the one holding the whole place together. S h e is the indisputable matriarch of our family. W o m e n are the backbone of every Reserve in C a n a d a . W o m e n are the ones holding it all together. W o m e n are the ones who struggle to feed their chi ldren, get them to schoo l , and earn a wage to keep things going. Duran & Duran (1995) state women "are the ones who have been carrying the life of the people through their sacr i f ices over the past five hundred years" (p.37). The E lders I interviewed had thoughts about the journey that these women are on. The Elders contrast the concepts of the Black Road with the R e d R o a d : Elder #1: The way of the Black Road is dishonesty, and dishonour, and deception, and theft, and lack or morals and values, drinking and drugging, murdering, all the shady shadow side oflife. Elder #2: The path to self-destruction. 38 Elder #1: The path to self-destruction, yes. And the Red Road is... Elder #2: The straight and narrow. Elder #1: Yes , the 'Good Path', the path of honour, and right living, and right choices, and living with morals and values, and nurturing, and being a guiding light in the world, and helping people, giving them a hand up, and making the right choices, taking care of the family, taking care of ourselves, and teaching the old wisdom and the knowledge that WORKS. They summar ized that the R e d Road was the high road, representing a good, ba lanced way of living and being; one Elder descr ibed it as "living in the light of the world". The Black R o a d represented the "shadow" side of the world, where "dark thoughts" thrive, imbalance exists, and evil things happen. Our people walk the B lack Road due to the negative inf luences of colonizat ion and attempted assimi lat ion. The R e d R o a d symbol izes a return to Aboriginal ways of being, before we took the worst traits of the colonizer as our own (patriarchy, child abuse , alcohol and drug abuse) . In short, the Red R o a d is nurturance and accep tance , and the Black R o a d is the path to destruction. Many of the parents spoke of struggling to be on the R e d R o a d , or to find a path to heal ing, or the journey to heal ing. It was descr ibed as "a pretty long journey, depending on what you're deal ing with". And all too often, it is a journey that these women are attempting to complete alone, without the active help of their men-folk. The absence of Aboriginal men in parenting programs indicates that the women are being left to deal with the "family i ssues" on their own. W h e n there are issues like domest ic v io lence, alcohol and drug abuse, and intergenerational patterns of substandard parenting and various forms of abuse due to the Resident ia l Schoo ls , it does not make sense to only have half of the equation attending these programs. Theme 8: Appreciated Program Elements The following is a list of e lements of the program that parents listed as particularly helpful, beneficial, or convenient and appreciated: 39 • Parents like East Vancouve r location better than Downtown Easts ide (too triggering) - Open door policy very valued (can return to program as many t imes as needed) • Sel f Es teem, Addict ions, Healthy Relat ionships (domestic v iolence), Tradit ional Thursdays (traditional foods, arts, stories), one-on-one time with Elders , Intergenerational Patterns, were all very popular or helpful workshops • Apprec iated that this program remains open throughout December « Mobi le community drop-in program was appreciated by parents who could not commit to full structured program • Cultural ceremonies very va lued: pipe ceremony at graduat ion, Elder involvement, Sweats , smudging, use of Medic ine Whee l format, and talking circle • Apprec iated having a c c e s s to chi ldren, but some parents indicated it would be nice if children had their own separate room as it would be less disruptive for parents' learning • Apprec iated "tangibles" such as provision of bus tickets, food bank and clothing exchange - Severa l parents mentioned really liking having an "informal outing day", where they went to the beach , or some other activity as it really helped them feel more comfortable with the other parents, as well as the facilitators. From the parents' list of what they found most helpful, one can see that there are severa l factors at work. Workshops tailored to the parents' heal ing such as Self-Es teem and Addict ions were va lued. Having the children nearby and access ib le was va lued. Pract ica l , tangible aid was appreciated; for example, the food bank and bus tickets. The cultural e lements of the program were emphas ized as being very valuable to the parents. S o m e helpful components , such as being open during the 40 Chr is tmas s e a s o n , are not only practical, as many famil ies are s t ressed and in need over the holiday, but are a lso culturally appropriate, as Aboriginal homes do not have "c losed doors". Hospitality is a cultural norm, and maintaining the open door throughout the Chr is tmas season is a reflection of this. Al though there were many components that were appreciated, there were a lso suggest ions for improving the program. Discuss ion This study corroborates Ye l low Horse & Brave Heart 's (2004) assert ion that programs for Abor ig inals should be culturally specif ic, rather than culturally adapted or culturally translated. Simply adding Aboriginal facilitators or superficial cultural components to the program do not make it appropriate and relevant for Aboriginal cl ientele. Tomison (1998) states, "It has become widely recognised that family support programs, and parent educat ion programs in particular, need to be matched to local contexts and family needs" (p.6). The words of the parents themselves reveal that the cultural specificity of the parenting program was what was most meaningful for them. Al l seven of the major themes were directly connected to the cultural components of the program. These findings support the argument that Aboriginal parenting programs need to be culturally specif ic. Furthermore, there is a c lear need in the culturally speci f ic parts of the program to d i scuss and ana lyze the effects of colonizat ion, the Resident ia l Schoo ls , and other repeated assimilat ive attempts on the part of C a n a d a ' s federal and provincial governments towards Aboriginal peoples in this country. A s Nabigon states in Abso lon 's (1993) article, "You have to go to the roots. W h e n you get at the roots then you understand why certain persons are behaving the way they are" (p.14). "Band-a id" solut ions will not work when the deeper issues are unacknowledged and unresolved. For these parents, that means looking at how the Resident ia l Schoo l sys tem interrupted traditional Aboriginal parenting styles, and the intergenerational t ransmission of t rauma. O n e of the reasons why the E A G L E Spirit program is success fu l with these parents is because it does address intergenerational t rauma. A s indicated in F ig . 1, 41 the parents do a workshop where they do genograms and eco-maps about their l ives, and the l ives of their parents and grandparents. Many of the parents spoke of how they knew that the Resident ia l Schoo l sys tem had been bad, but they had never really cons idered how this was impacting their own parenting of their chi ldren until the workshop. The genogram and eco-map exerc ises make the intergenerational t ransmission of trauma clear to the parents. O n e parent eloquently descr ibes the intergenerational effects of the Resident ia l Schoo ls in the following quote: My parents are still together. But I believe that somewhere in there, there was always something missing. And so when you have kids, you always feel like there was something missing from your parents that they didn't give you. And then you can't pass that on to your kids, you know? The "something miss ing" that this parent descr ibes are things like connect ion to the culture, understanding of traditional teachings, and intergenerational t ransmission of Aboriginal ways of parenting. Instead, these were disrupted and replaced with generat ions of involvement with the Resident ia l Schoo l s and child welfare sys tems. Abnormal norms became accepted in many Aboriginal societ ies around parenting. Resident ia l Schoo l s taught non-Aboriginal ways such as sexual and emotional abuse to severa l generat ions of people. W h e n these people grew up, all they had ever exper ienced were cold, emot ionless relat ionships with people who actively worked to ensure our cultures were not successfu l ly transmitted to subsequent generat ions. The colonizers have been hacking away at the cords binding us to our cultures s ince first contact. A s one of the Elders interviewed states, One of the hard parts here is Residential School DID what it was supposed to do; it was supposed to stop us from realizing WHO WE ARE. And I think it was originally put into place so we'd assimilate into the population, disappear, and no more land claims, no more nothing, 42 we're just Canadians. Well, it didn't work! But now, grandparents lost identity with their culture, Their children got their identity taken, even though they didn't even HAVE an identity yet, because they were just starting to learn who they were. And now they don't even know who their parents are, or who their grandparents were. And their kids come, so now you've got three generations of displacement, where they don't know who they are. All they know is they were taught to be ashamed of being an Aboriginal person. The theft of our cultural legacies by the colonizers is an on-going venture, perpetuated by the child welfare sys tem. A s stated previously, Aboriginal chi ldren are still removed at shockingly disproportionate rates, and are all too frequently p laced in non-Aboriginal foster homes and adoptive famil ies. The players may change, but the end-result is still Abor iginal children being raised in non-Aboriginal sett ings, deprived of receiving their full cultural legacies in the form of lived exper ience amongst their own tribal peoples. O n c e it was visual ly laid out for them through the eco-maps and genograms, the parents could see the intergenerational interruption of traditional parenting. They could see patterns between their parenting, their parents' parenting, and their grandparents. Ana lys is of intergenerational t ransmission of parenting styles helps the parents to form a more positive relationship with their Aboriginal identities (Cheshi re, 2001). It is part of a decolonizat ion process because the parents can look at and reflect upon the attempts by the colonizer to erase Aboriginal identities from the collective consc iousness of indigenous peoples in C a n a d a . The act of reconnect ing and reclaiming Aboriginal identity is an act of def iance, of resistance, and decolonizat ion on the part of these parents. The utility of v isual aids in understanding patterns is reinforced when looking at the Medic ine Whee l in Fig 1 on p.36. Parents ment ioned that when they did Medic ine Whee l exerc ises where they filled in their own wheels based on their own l ives, they could actually see where there were gaps . Certa in areas had less written 43 in them, and this served as a very easy way to comprehend areas that needed more work. A s one parent sa id ; It all made sense when I saw it. Because I hear about it through my counsellors, but just to SEE it on a board, or write it down, or just hearing other people's thoughts, it really all made sense to me as to why I was the way I was. And I think that was the best part, I really enjoyed those classes, I was always learning something new about myself. This corresponds with my own exper ience working with Aboriginal famil ies doing st rengths-based assessmen ts using a Medic ine Whee l format. One mother expressed to me how striking it was that her Spiritual component of her wheel was relatively blank. Reframing, I asked her about people, p laces, or things she drew strength from. S h e was then able to fill in that component of her wheel . However, the visual aid of the wheel was what helped her to contemplate her own situation, much more so than my quest ioning. The myths and negative stereotypes assoc ia ted with Aboriginal identity tie in c losely with the sense of cultural d isconnect ion these parents often face. W h e n interviewing, I was struck by how many people had been raised outside of their Aboriginal identity and culture, raised without even knowing they were of Aboriginal descent . A s one parent states, "I was never raised in the culture because I came from an alcohol ic family. S o , for me, I want to teach my kids more about the culture, and be more into it. And not just be, like, pretend it's not there." Pretending the culture is not there has a lot to do with the shame and negativity wrapped up in the identity, or the "myths" as one facilitator put it. This then feeds into the sense of d isconnect ion from the culture, as expressed in Theme #2. The sense of shame of being Aboriginal is generated and perpetuated by the media and dominant society. Indians are portrayed in the media as drunks, woman izers , and abusers or, alternately, they are romanticized as stoic, noble savages . W o m e n are portrayed as back stabbing "squaws" or as Indian pr incesses. 44 Basical ly , dominant society has attempted to strip from us the influence of positive role mode ls 6 . The facilitators serve as positive role models for these parents. For s o m e of these parents, they have had no positive Aboriginal role models. This program may have been one of the first p laces they encountered positive Aboriginal role models . The facilitators have exper ienced much of what the parents have encountered in their l ives, and they have come through it all to a place of survival, resi l iency, and tr iumph. This then gives the parents a safe role model to explore re-attaching to their indigenous roots. Many of the parents mentioned how they found the program to be a safe place to explore their cultures. Usual ly, indigenous culture is transmitted by the family, extended family, c lan, tribe, and Nation. However, as stated previously, many of these urban Aboriginal parents are dis located from their home communit ies and Rese rves . For these parents, their sense of Aboriginal identity is more compl icated by issues like being in foster care, being adopted out to non-Aboriginal famil ies, or by being a d isenfranchised Aboriginal who was denied their identity by the Indian Act. Ta ia iake Alfred (2005) cal ls these people "cultural blanks", or people "with no cultural code or set of norms to guide his or her behaviour" (p. 11). For these parents, the peers amongst the other Aboriginal parents in the program, as well as the facilitators and Elders involved with the program, serve as a substitute family of sorts. This substitute family serves as a safe, non-threatening place to learn about Aboriginal cultures. Severa l of the parents ment ioned feeling scared or intimidated during traditional ceremonies the first time they did them, but this program gave them the safety needed to connect to and try out the ceremony. The value in this should not be underest imated, especia l ly with a population that feels like they do not fit into either mainstream or Aboriginal cultures. A s d i scussed previously in the example of the mother who did not drink because it is not cons idered acceptable to drink when drumming, danc ing, or For more on how dominant society (mis)represents minority cultures, see Black Looks: Race and Representation (1992) by bell hooks. 45 singing, traditional Aboriginal culture can act as a regulator. The mother did not stop drinking because her socia l worker told her to; she stopped drinking because Aboriginal socia l norms dictate that drinking during ceremonial events is unacceptable. Th is is more of a deterrent for her than someone telling her to stop. Western societal regulators are not an efficient regulator for Aboriginal peoples, as attested to by their over-representat ion in every socia l serv ice industry in C a n a d a . The substitute family in the parenting program serves to transmit the cultural norms to these parents. Fix ico (2003) states, "How all of us as individuals place ourse lves within a system of relat ionships is very important for understanding our own thinking about achieving balance within onesel f and within the community" (p.7). For the mother who stopped drinking so that she could drum and s ing, finding this sense of interrelationship was the defining factor. The sense of connect ion to the culture and positive feel ings of pride and belonging to Aboriginal culture, are what operates as a behaviour moderator for this mother. Another l inkage between major themes involves men and the Medic ine Whee l . Many of these women did have partners. The partners were not active in the parenting program, leaving it instead up to the mother to complete. Men make up half of the familial equat ion, yet they are not involved in the parenting program. A s stated previously, a wheel needs all quadrants to be complete, and a wheel must be complete in order to turn. Envis ioned as an actual wheel that turns when a developmental cyc le is complete, it is obvious that without the other half of the equat ion, the familial unit will not be ready to move to the next level. Until men become engaged , any change imagined for the family will be incomplete. If only the women are attempting to enact change, the wheel will become unba lanced. If men are involved in the family, men must become involved in the parenting program and the changes initiated in the family unit. Traditionally, men may have been good providers and protectors, but in the modern world some Aboriginal men have now abdicated their parental responsibi l i t ies, leaving everything up to the mother. This way is not our way; this is 46 a learned way of the colonizer. Our men used to be more involved in teaching good ways to our chi ldren, but sadly many have accepted the ways of Western society as a norm. The mother ends up over-worked and under-supported in the extremely stressful endeavour of parenting. Then , in a sad twist of fate, she alone is given the responsibil i ty of trying to better her parenting skil ls in a parenting program, rather than a critical examinat ion occurr ing around why some men feel it is acceptable to offload all responsibil i ty onto the mother. More and more Aboriginal women are turning to feminist analys is to explain underlying issues in their lived exper iences. Traditionally, Aboriginal men may have been good at the " 3 - P ' s " as expressed by the male Elder, but sadly, many are not now. To examine the marked absence of men in the parenting program more critically, feminist standpoint theory is utilized in this study. For Aboriginal feminists, feminism is not just about patriarchy. A s Grande (2004) points out, the oppress ion of women must a lso be ana lysed as an effect of colonizat ion, and subsequent imposit ion of dominant society 's norms and values. Colonizat ion and imposition of Western patriarchy on traditional Aboriginal groups has resulted in what Freire (2003) terms a "duality of being" (p.48) for oppressed peoples. Duality in this situation can be understood as Aboriginal women struggling with their historical roles versus their current lived exper ience. Tradit ionally, Aboriginal men were good protectors and providers, as well as good fathers. W o m e n may have taken care of the chi ldren, but it was more of a col lective effort, and men had to uphold their responsibi l i t ies to protect and provide, as well as having certain responsibi l i t ies to pass on speci f ic male teachings to their chi ldren. A l so , for many groups, gender roles were not rigidly enforced like in patriarchal Western societ ies (Gunn A l len , 1992). Western patriarchal norms dictated that women were to be stripped of their tribal powers, and forced to be " less than" the men. Sayers , MacDona ld , F iske , Newel l , & George state, "Not only have First Nat ions women 's traditional roles been profoundly affected by colonizat ion and the act ions of the state, many First Nat ions men (and women) have internalized the White male devaluat ion of First Nations 47 women , resulting in a denigration of the roles of women and the exclusion of women" (2001, p.5). This has had an enormous effect on parenting roles and expectat ions within Aboriginal cultures. Freire (2003) states, "Functional ly, oppress ion is domest icat ing" (p.51). Th is does not mean domest ic housework is necessar i ly oppress ion (although it certainly could mean that). What Freire means is that things can become entrenched as unquest ionable norms. Th is has happened with the concept of "tradition" in some Aboriginal communit ies. Many Aboriginal women unquestioningly accept male domination as "tradition", when in fact this is simply not the case . In addit ion, "dysfunctional patterns at some point started to be seen as part of Native Amer ican tradition" (Duran & Duran, 1995, p.35). Af r ican-Amer ican feminist writer bell hooks states; "B lack females must not al low ourse lves to be duped into supporting shit that hurts us under the guise of standing beside our men. If black men are betraying us through acts of male v io lence; we must save ourselves and the race by resist ing" (1994, p. 123). Al though hooks writes about Af r ican-Amer icans, what she speaks of is equal ly appl icable to Abor ig inals. W h e n male v io lence towards women is normal ized or min imized, and dominat ion over women is passed off as "tradition", it does a vast d isserv ice to the ways of our ancestors. W h e n Aboriginal men abdicate their responsibi l i t ies as providers, protectors, and active fathers, it makes life that much harder for the women . A s the Elder states, procreating is only one-third of the traditional equat ion. To off-load the parental responsibi l i t ies onto the mother is not "tradition". Instead, it is an example of our men acting like our colonial oppressors , with their patriarchal norms and va lues. Tomison (1998) points out that a major chal lenge in parent educat ion programs is to find ways to increase father participation, and this is obviously an element that needs further exploration in the Canad ian context a lso. Finally, the theme of the R e d R o a d or journey is one that the entire family must embark upon in order for s u c c e s s to follow. If one parent travels down the Black R o a d , whilst the other attempts the R e d R o a d , the family will be torn apart by 48 the destructive tensions as a result. The cultural e lements of the parenting program act as a buffer against the negative stereotypes and inf luences of dominant society. The cultural components of the program point the way to the R e d R o a d , and the way to we l lness for these famil ies. Fami l ies may fall temporari ly off of the path, but one must have faith that they can a lways find their way back onto the Red R o a d . M c K e n z i e & Morrissette (2003) offer a framework of five core e lements for respectful socia l work practice with Aboriginal peoples: - Understanding of worldviews of Aboriginal peoples, and how this differs from the dominant Euro -Canad ian worldview • Recogni t ion of effects of colonizat ion - Recogni t ion of importance of Aboriginal identity or consc iousness • Appreciat ion of value of cultural knowledge and traditions in promoting heal ing and empowerment • A n understanding of the diversity in Aboriginal se l f -express ion. Al l of the seven main themes found in this study are evident in M c K e n z i e & Morr issette's (2003) framework. Not only do these five core e lements promote positive socia l work practice with Aboriginal peoples, they can also be seen as being essent ia l e lements for program design and implementation for serv ices targeting Aboriginal famil ies. Recommendations The following list is a compilat ion of components that parents, facilitators, or Elders thought could be added to improve the overall program: • Larger physical space for program • More funding from M C F D for preventative serv ices, before a crisis occurs requiring removal of child « Fami ly Support outreach worker to help with bas ics such as finding affordable housing, food, and transportation 4 9 On-si te crisis worker and full time counsel lor S o m e indicated preference for proximity to Sky-train line Due to previous problems with having couples who were both in program at s a m e time with domest ic v io lence issues, separate night time program for men suggested for after working hours Improve training for chi ldminders so that they role model parenting techniques that parents are learning Better control over group norms, have an alternate dispute mechan ism in place for participants who have conflict with each other, or with facilitators More content on communicat ing with children desired More content around parenting older children such as pre-teen and teenagers Reques t for workshop on deal ing with re-integrating child returning from care of Ministry back into family L iked longer timeline on program (12 weeks for structured program), but many indicated it could be longer to deal adequately with all the issues. Most commonly suggested timeline was six months minimum to a year More around family dynamics (suggested this could tie in with workshops on genograms and eco-maps , which were very popular) More content on basic life-skills such as budgeting, maintaining a household, shopping Parents appreciated the workshops dedicated to their needs, but a lso wanted more on parenting skills and techniques (overall opinion s e e m e d to indicate a ba lance of parent self-work, and parenting skil ls needed) A computer so parents can sign up for time to a c c e s s internet, helps with staying in touch with family, looking for employment, and contact with socia l workers Parents wanted more a c c e s s to one-on-one time with Elders 50 • Workshop on deal ing effectively with M C F D socia l workers - Apprec ia ted lived exper ience of the facilitators, but a lso wanted a balance of "book learning" (clinical skil ls) for on-site counsel lor. What struck me most when reading over the list of recommendat ions was that it is not like the parents, facilitators or Elders asked for anything outrageous. Al l of the requests were quite reasonable, and some of them will be easy to implement. Indeed, when I returned to the agency to d iscuss the f indings, severa l of the recommendat ions had already been operat ional ized, such as some of the program content suggest ions. Other requests on the list of desired program improvements would be dependant upon increased funding, or a larger location for the program to operate out of. Role of the Parenting Program W h e n asked about what they thought the role of a parenting program is, the most common answer w a s "to help get our kids back" from being in care of M C F D . Other answers included "to empower the parents", to "reach out to the Aboriginal culture", and finally, "to improve parenting skil ls". It is significant that fewer parents stated the role as being to improve parenting skil ls in relation to the other roles. This indicates that parenting programs that focus solely on improving parenting skil ls may not be as successfu l with these parents, or at least may not be exper ienced by the parents as being as meaningful as a program which addresses some of their needs in addition to the parenting ski l ls. Gof fman (1959) descr ibes the role of a "service special ist" as being someone who spec ia l izes "in the construct ion, repair, and maintenance of the show their cl ients maintain before other people" (p. 153). Gof fman is referring to the production of self or se lves that humans do for the benefit of others and their percept ions; however, his concept of service special ist makes sense in the context of the parenting program's role a lso. These parents have been "not iced" by M C F D . The "face" that they present is problematic enough to draw the attention and scrutinizing lens of the child welfare sys tem. A big part of the parenting program's role, as 51 articulated by these parents, is to help them get their chi ldren back. To do this, the parents' production of self must become more al igned with what the protection worker feels is in the best interests of the chi ld, in terms of parenting. The parenting program's role can be v iewed as a "service special ist" because they, in e s s e n c e , act as mediators between the requirements of the child welfare sys tem, and the parents, so that these parents can maintain/re-acquire control over their chi ldren. The program facilitators and Elders do this by attempting to teach the parents the healthier ways of our ancestors, and also by taking the good and useful from mainstream parenting concepts and ideas such as discipl ine instead of punishment. In Gof fman's terms, the program facilitators and Elders are operating behind the scenes , re-setting the scene to a healthier background, and re-orienting the parents so that the face they present does not raise red f lags for their child protection worker. This is not to say the changes from the parents are only cosmet ic . They are not. I asked the facilitators if they thought that the whole enterprise was an exerc ise in "hoop-jumping" on behalf of the parents for the protection worker. The facilitators agreed that this might be the case initially, but after the parent had been exposed to the program for some time, they "bought-in" on a more personal level, and the heal ing, growth, and positive changes enacted at that point became more meaningful and long-lasting in the l ives of these parents. O n e parent descr ibed the role of a parenting program to be "To provide a serv ice so they can empower and enrich the famil ies, the mothers and the chi ldren, so that they can live without all the negatives, like the abuse , and drugs, and alcohol" . T h e s e statements reflect the myriad of needs that a parenting program for Abor ig inals must be responsive to. Focus ing only on the chi ldren, or only on the parents, will not work. These parents have eloquently reflected the need for a balance of child and parent focussed interventions, as well as the need for cultural re levance and specificity. 52 Future Directions Aborig inals are increasingly looking to themse lves—as individuals, famil ies, communit ies and Nat ions—for their own answers . Clear ly , the colonizers are not doing a good job with their socia l serv ice sys tems in meeting the needs of C a n a d a ' s First Nat ions peoples. In fact, the growing over-representat ion of Abor ig inals in sys tems such as the "justice" s y s t e m 7 and the child welfare system indicate that these sys tems do little to alleviate the very issues that they had a large part in caus ing . Soc ia l serv ice sys tems in C a n a d a are prime examples of iatrogenic p rocesses , serving to give thousands of non-Aboriginals jobs, while further al ienating the very people they purport to serve. Colonizat ion cont inues, unabated and for the most part, un-cri t icized. O n e of the Elders I interviewed had a different vis ion of the future for us as peoples. He sa id : What would happen in all of a sudden no more in-the-streets, under the influence Aboriginals? None. Nobody standing in front of Carnegie. None. All the ones on the busses are all clean-pressed, briefcase, suit and tie, lunch pails, hard-hat, tools. You know what would happen? The people of British Columbia, the government of British Columbia would be scared. They'd be scared that we've regained our power that they feel they took away. When there's an Indian person sitting drunk there's no fear to anybody that that person is ever going to be better than you are. But to be coming back into our power would be very, very frightening. We NEED to do that, because our children, and their children, and THEIR children DESERVE IT. They deserve it! For more on Aboriginal over-representation in the justice system, see:, as well as the new report by the Office of the Correctional Investigator (2006) available online from: 53 He was not talking about assimi lat ion, which he had d iscussed previously. He w a s referring to getting ourselves together as famil ies and peoples, and beginning to find our way back to the R e d R o a d , rather than continuing to walk the dysfunct ional B lack Road of the colonizer. Y a z z i e (2000) echoes this very sentiment when he states, "Ultimately, the lesson is that we, as Indigenous peoples, must start within. W e must exerc ise internal sovereignty, which is nothing more than taking control of our personal l ives, our famil ies, our c lans, and our communit ies. To do that, we must return to our traditions, because they speak to right relat ionships, respect, solidarity, and survival" (p. 47). The glaring over-representat ion of Abor iginals in C a n a d a ' s socia l serv ices proves that the colonizer does not know what is best for us. To staunch the iatrogenic p rocesses of the colonizer, we must control our own serv ices. Serv ices need to be des igned by Abor ig inals for Abor iginals, as the dominant society all too clearly does not "get" us. The male Elder I interviewed talked about how Abor ig inals need to "take the medic ine that heals us". Clear ly , the "medic ine" of the colonizer 's socia l serv ices does little to alleviate our troubles, and in fact serves to contribute to our further domination through dependency. Fournier & Crey (1997) state, "First Nat ions can no longer hide behind their history of suffering to rationalize neglecting children or failing to provide protection for them" (p. 149). Our history of repeated attempted assimi lat ion and cultural genoc ide does not absolve us from responsibil i ty for the here and now. A s Fournier & Crey (1997) state, "Denial is something we learned from non-native society and it won't help anyone heal" (p. 150). Intergenerational trauma exists in our Aboriginal famil ies. Chi ld abuse and neglect, the tainted gifts of the colonizer, have infiltrated our family structures. Denying the existence of these problems serves no purpose. Abor ig inals are over-represented in the child welfare system due in part to institutionalized rac ism; however, the fact remains that child abuse and neglect occur in our communi t ies and famil ies. Acknowledg ing this, and moving forward by utilizing our own ways and means , points the way to the future. 54 Card ina l (1969) states, "If we as a people are to assume a purposeful role in our own l ives, if we are to become truly involved in today's and tomorrow's society, then we must be given the opportunity of controll ing our own future" (p. 15). The larger picture is the devolution of child welfare serv ices back to the Aboriginal communi t ies that they serve. The smal ler picture is the des ign and implementation of culturally speci f ic serv ices by Abor ig inals for Abor ig inals, catering to their unique history, worldview, and cultural traditions around parenting and heal ing. 55 CONCLUSION Somet imes the best way to enact change is from the ground up, in whatever smal l way can "get the ball rolling." O n e of the Elders f ramed it this way: You know, there's a lot of power in prayers, there's a lot of power in dreaming. We've got to put the dream back in the people! By whatever means we can, and if we start off with a little, tiny parenting program, then that's where we start. We are growing, and these little pockets are becoming larger and larger... The E A G L E Spirit parenting program may be smal l and under-funded, but it is a program des igned by Abor ig inals for Abor ig inals, using our own ways to get our famil ies back on the path to wel lness and balance. If one thing has been proven from centur ies of attempted assimi lat ion, cultural genocide, and colonizat ion, it is that we, the Aboriginal peoples of C a n a d a , are resilient. W e are like rocks that refuse to be worn down by the incessant waves of the colonizer. W h e n I look at the women in the program, I do not s e e women facing addict ion, domest ic v io lence, and intergenerational t rauma. I see women warriors, on the front line fighting the battle for our Aboriginal famil ies. 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National Child Protection Clearing House (NCPCH) Issues Paper no. 10, spring, Austral ian Institute of Family Studies, Melbourne Reyno lds , L.T. (2003). Early representat ives. In Reyno lds , L.T. & Herman-Kinney, N. Handbook of Symbolic Interactionism, (pp.59-81). Walnut Creek, C A : Al ta Mira P ress . Rogers , B. (2001). A Path of Heal ing and We l lness for Native Fami l ies. The American Behavioural Scientist, 44(9), pp.1512-1514. Smith, Tuhiwai , L. (1999). Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. Zed Books : New York V a n M a n e n , M. (1997). Researching Lived Experience: Human Science for an Action Sensitive Pedagogy. A l thouse Press : London, O N Victor, W . (2001). Searching for the Bone Needle: the Sto:lo Nation's Continuing Quest for Justice. Thes is , S F U Schoo l of Cr iminology, Burnaby, B C . Walms ley , C . (2005). Protecting Aboriginal Children. U B C Press : Vancouver Wa tson , J . , Whi te, A. , Tapl in , S . , & Huntsman, L (2005). Prevention and Early Intervention: Literature Review. N S W Department of Communi ty Serv ices . New South W a l e s : Austral ia. N S W Centre for Parent ing & Resea rch , May 2005 Webster-Strat ton, C , & Taylor, T. (2001). Nipping early risk factors in the bud: Prevent ing substance abuse , del inquency, and v io lence in ado lescence through interventions targeting young children (0-8 years). Prevention Science, 2, 165-192 62 Wes ley -Esqu imaux , C . C . , & Smolewsk i , M. (2004). Historic Trauma and Aboriginal Healing. Prepared for Aboriginal Heal ing Foundat ion: Ot tawa, O N . Y a z z i e , R. (2000). Indigenous peoples and postcolonial colonia l ism, in Battiste, M (Ed), (2000). Reclaiming Indigenous Voice and Vision. U B C Press : Vancouver Ye l low Horse, S . , & Brave Heart, M . Y . H . (2004). Heal ing the Wakanhe ja : Ev idence B a s e d , Promis ing, and Cultural ly Appropriate Pract ices for Amer ican Indian/Alaskan Native Chi ldren With Mental Health Needs . In Strode, A . (Ed.). Mental Health Best Practices for Vulnerable Populations, 35-43. Washington State University: Spokane 63 APPENDICES Appendix A: E A G L E Spirit 12-week Structured Program Outline E.A.GX.E. SPIRIT Early Aboriginal Guidance in a Loving Environment Phone; (604) 873-6625 Sept 4 —November 24, 2006 Twelve Week Schedule Page 1 | MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY SEPT 4 labour Day No class 9:00-l2:00am ORIENTATION LUNCH l:00-3:00pm What is A.N.G.E.R. 9:00-12;00pm Self Esteem LUNCH l:00-3:00pm Family Violence Education 9:00-12:00pm 7 Direct Parenting Skills LUNCH l:OO-3:00PM Group Counseling 9:00-12:00pm 8 Loving Kinder Spirits LUNCH Traditional Friday/ Legal Workshops 10:00-U:30amii ACWWA LUNGH l:00-3:00pm Addictions 9:00-12:00am 12 Loving Kinder Spirits LUNCH l:00-3:00pm What is A.N.G.E.R. 9:00-12:00pm 13' Self Esteem LUNCH l:0O-3:00pm' Family Violence Education 9:00-12:00pm 1 4 Direct Parenting Skills LUNCH l:0O-3:0OPM Group Counseling 9:00-12:00pm IS Loving Kinder Spirits LUNCH Traditional Friday/ Legal Workshops 18 10:0O-lt:3Oam ACWWA • LUNCH l:00-3:00pm Addictions 9:00-12:00am 1 9 Loving Kinder ' Spirits . s - ; . - - , v . < LUNCH i:00-3:00pm What is A.N.G.E.R. 9:00-12 00pm 2 0 Self Esteem LUNCH l:00-3:00pm Family Violence Education 9:00-12:00pm 2 1 Direct Parenting Skills LUNCH l:0O-3:O0PM Group Counseling 9:00-12:00pm 2 2 Loving Kinder Spir i t s ' - - . LUNCH Traditional Friday/ Legal Workshops 10:00-11:30am ACWWA LUNCH l:00-3:00pnv Addictions 9:00-12:00am 26 Loving Kinder Spirits LUNCH l:00-3:00pm What is A.N.G.E.R. 9:00-12:00pm 27 Self Esteem LUNCH l:OO-3:Q0pm Family Violence Education 9:00-12:00pm 28 Direct Parenting Skills LUNCH 1:00-3:00PM Group Counseling 9:00-12:00pm 29 Loving Kinder Spirits LUNCH Traditional Friday/ Legal Workshops OCT 2 10:00-11:30am ACWWA LUNCH l:00-3:00pm Addictions 9:00-12:0pam 3-Loving Kinder Spirits LUNCH 1:00-3:00pm What is A.N.G.E.R. 9:00-12:00pm 4 Self Esteem LUNCH l:00-3:00p'm Family Violence Education 9:00 12:00pm S Direct Parenting Skills LUNCH 1:00-3:00PM Group Counseling 9:00-12:00pm 6 Loving Kinder Spirits LUNCH Traditional Friday/ Legal Workshops 9 Thanksgiving No Class 9:0O-L2:00am 10 Loving Kinder Spirits LUNCH l:00-3:00pm What is A.N.G.E.R. 9:00-12;00pm /1 Self Esteem LUNCH l:00-3:00pm Family violence Education 9:O0-i2:O0pm 12 Direct Parenting Skills LUNCH 1:00-3:00PM Group Counseling 9:00-12:00pm 13 Loving Kinder Spirits LUNCH Traditional Friday/ Legal Workshops E.A.G.L.E. SPIRIT Early Aboriginal Guidance in a Loving Environment Phone: (604) 873-6625 Sept 4 —November 24, 2006 Twelve Week Schedule "Page 2 Continued" MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY OCT 16 10:00-U:30am ACWWA LUNCH l:003:00pm Addictions 9;00-12:00pm 1 7 Loving Kinder Spirits LUNCH l:0D-3:00pm What is A.N.G.E.R. 9:00-12:Q0pm 1 8 Self Esteem LUNCH l:00-3:00pm Family Violence Education 9:00-12:00pm 1 9 Direct Parenting Skills LUNCH 1:00-3:00PM Group Counseling 9:00-12:00pm 2 0 Loving Kinder Spirits LUNCH Traditional Friday/ Legal Workshops 10:00-ll:30am ACWWA LUNCH l:00-3:00pm Addictions 9:00-12:00pm 24 Loving Kinder Spirits LUNCH l:00-3:00pm What is A.N.G.E.R. 9:00-12:00pm 2 5 Self Esteem LUNCH l:00-3:00pm Family Violence Education 9:00-12:00pm 2 6 Direct Parenting Skills LUNCH l:00-3:OOPM Group Counseling 9:00-12:00pm 27 Loving Kinder Spirits LUNCH Traditional Friday/ Legal Workshops 10:0O-ll:30am"?O ACWWA LUNCH l:00-3:00pm Addictions 9:00-12;QQpm 3 1 Loving Kinder Spirits •LUNCH'1 l:00:3:00pm What is A.N.G.E.R. NOV i 9:QQ-12:ffl)pm. ;.,..-Self.Est»em:.:,->,•.:: , LUNCH l:00-3:00pm Family Violence Education 9:00-12:00pm 2 Direct Parenting ...Skills,^,.,.,..„„»„,, LUNCH'* ' " 1:Q0-3:00PM Group Counseling 9:«M2:00pm 3 Loving Kinder », Spirits, LUNCH Traditional Friday/ Legal Workshops 10:00-ll:30am 6 ACWWA LUNCH l:0Q-3:Q0pm Addictions 9:0O-12:00pm 7 Loving Kinder Spirits LUNCH l:00-3:00pm What is A.N.G.E.R. 9:00-12:0Qpm * Self Esteem LUNCH l:00-3:00pm Family Violence Education 9:00-12:00pm 9 Direct Parenting Skills LUNCH l:0O-3;O0PM Group Counseling 9:(XM2:00pm 10 Loving Kinder Spirits LUNCH Traditional Friday/ Legal Workshops 13 Rememberance Day No Class 9:00-12:00pm 14 Loving Kinder Spirits LUNCH l:00-3:00pm What is A.N.G.E.R. 9:00-12:00pm 1 S Self Esteem LUNCH l:00-3:00pm Family Violence Education 9:00a2:00pm 1 6 Direct Parenting Skills LUNCH 1:00-3:00PM Group Counseling 9:00-12:O0pm 17 Loving Kinder Spirits LUNCH Traditional Friday/ Legal Workshops 20 10:00 11:30am ACWWA LUNCH l:00-3:00pm Addictions 9:00-12:00pm 2 1 Loving Kinder Spirits LUNCH l:00-3:00pm What is A.N.G.E.R. 9:0O-12:00pm ^2 Self Esteem LUNCH 1:00-3:00pm Family Violence Education 9;0012:OQpm 2 3 Direct Parenting Skills LUNCH 1:00-3:OOPM Group Counseling 24 ll:00am-3:OOpm Graduation Pipe Ceremony 65 Appendix B: Qualitative Interview Quest ions INTERVIEW QUESTIONS 1) Basic Demographics Age : Gender : Self Identifies as Status/Non-Status/Met is/ I nuit: Single Parent or Not: How Many Chi ldren: A g e of Chi ldren: 2) What Brought You to the EAGLE Parenting Program? 3) (If applicable) Did you take a different parenting program before? How is the E A G L E program the s a m e or different from other parenting programs you've had exper ience with? C a n you think of some examples of how it's the s a m e or different? 4) Tell Me About Your Experiences with the EAGLE Program. Descr ibe this parenting program for me. What does a typical day look l ike? What does it mean to you to be in this parenting program? 66 Descr ibe one or two things about this parenting program that fit into the Medic ine W h e e l quadrants: Emot ional , Phys ica l , Spiri tual, & Mental . Descr ibe your feel ings about being in this parenting program. What works for you? What needs improvement? 5) Describe your experiences with the cultural parts of the program (for example: having an Aboriginal facilitator, Elder involvement, pipe ceremony at graduation, incorporation of Aboriginal beliefs and values into curriculum, etc). What do these cultural parts of the program mean to you? 6) What do you see as the role of this parenting program? 7) What were your hopes and dreams when you started this parenting program? 8) Did you have any fears/worries when you started? 9) Did these change over time? 10) Did you get out of this program what you hoped to? 67 Appendix C: Notice of Ethical Review UBC The University of British Columbia 9 February '006 Office of Research Services and Administration Behavioural Research Ethics Board Notice of Ethical Review PRINCIPAL iNVeSJlGAIOr? Wright, M Social Work & Family Studies iNSTnunON(S) WHERE' RESEARCH WJH. C|£ CARRIED OUT 1)05- It 20 Cameron, Michelle Ann, Social Work ft-Kaniiry Siudjes; Riano-Alcata, Hilar, Social \Varkft Family StudU SPONSORING AGENCIES Urban Aboriginal Parents' Experiences of A CulturaJly.Spcctfic Parenting Piogram The Committee has reviewed the protocol for your proposed study, and has issued a Certificate of Approval with the.following note:. Provide information about safety precaustions taken by the Co-Investigator (Student) for interviews in the participants home. If you have any questions regarding these requirements, please call: Ms. Shirley Thompson. Manager , Behavioural Research Ethics Board, (604) 827-5112 PLEASE SEND ALL CORRESPONDENCE TO: Research Ethics, Office of Research Services, Suite 102 6190 Agronomy Road, Vancouver, B.C. VST 1Z3 


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