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Indigenous footprints along the career journey between adolescence and adulthood Britten, Lianne M.

Abstract

Career development and transitions are hot topics at this time. Research into First Nation's culture has also begun to receive the attention it deserves. However these two concepts have rarely been researched simultaneously as one phenomenon. Notable gaps occur in career development and First Nation's literature. Cultural influences, worldview differences, experiences, beliefs, and attitudes are all elements of life for anyone. For First Nation's people these multiple realities are further imbued with complexities not widely understood by non-Aboriginal peoples and as such the concepts of "career", "success", "transition" and "career development" may not fit with Aboriginal paradigms of research and with the Aboriginal population in general. Little is known about career development with regard to minority populations and even less is known about First Nations' career development. Similarly another rarely researched phenomenon in any population is career development during the transition from adolescence to adulthood. With high rates of unemployment, low rates of high school graduation, drug and alcohol abuse, high suicidality and other difficulties faced by many First Nation's youth this issue is of crucial importance to future success (Royal Commission on Aboriginal Health, 1996). Consequently it is important that positive stories from this culture be heard. Most research up to this juncture has been focussed upon non-minority population adolescent employment rather than the outcomes of schooling and other factors during the transition from adolescence to adulthood (Leventhal, Graber, & Brooks-Gunn, 2001). My study has attempted to shed light on some of the factors that have helped and hindered First Nation's youth during this transitional period. A sample of 8 (n=8) First Nations young adults, aged 20 to 28 years, were interviewed using a Critical Incident Technique. The participants were recruited from local Vancouver populations. The research involved the collection of data by interviewing participants using an open-ended question format to record each participant's story and to explore critical influences upon their career development. Findings from this research were found to be relevant to a range of settings including First Nations' employment counselling services, therapy for youth-at-risk, school counselling for First Nation's youth, and multicultural therapy.

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