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Street involved First Nations female adolescents’ perceptions of their futures Dolman, D. Corinne


First Nations youth in Canada are at a disproportionate risk of being apprehended, becoming involved in the justice system, abusing substances, being unemployed and out of school and taking their own lives. Given the conditions faced by many First Nations female adolescents, it was believed that an understanding of their future perceptions could provide the social work profession with a wealth of information relevant to their service needs. This qualitative, exploratory research explored the future outlooks of five street involved female First Nations adolescents living in Vancouver. Using an interview guide, in-depth interviews were conducted and these young women were asked to describe different aspects of lives in the future. The interviews were auto-taped, transcribed and then analyzed for common themes. It was found that these young women had strong apprehensions about ever becoming married and expressed an array of negative experiences with respect to relationships with men. They all anticipated being employed in the future in mainly traditionally female-dominated occupations. They all had desires to further their education in the future, but expressed uncertainties about how successfully they would be able to this. These young women also expressed enormous fears about their futures. They feared not making to adulthood, that drugs and alcohol would negatively effect their futures and that people close to them may die. Their future outlooks, however, also reflected great resistances towards many destructive forces in their lives. They had strong desires to maintain their family connections in the future despite revealing separation and breakdown of their families in their present lives. They also expressed longings to remain connected to their cultures and roots in the future despite the losses they had experienced. They also had strong desires to provide better lives for their own children in the future. It is recommended that social work as a profession evaluate their contemporary responses to dealing with the issues confronting these young women. Social work practice needs to incorporate community development interventions and social action which work towards altering the current inequities faced by this population.

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