In 2009, now PhD student at UBC and video speaker from Module 2 of Etec 521, Amy Parent completed her Master’s thesis: Keep them coming back for more: Urban Aboriginal Youth’s perceptions and experiences of Wholistic education in Vancouver.
The goal of the thesis was to gain insight into the experiences of Aboriginal youth who were participating in Aboriginal organizations in Vancouver.
Amy also published a community report that is available on the Vancouver based Urban Native Youth Association website. This 8 page report summarizes the 196 page dissertation that she submitted and contains key findings and lessons learned from the youth.
In writing her thesis, Parent hoped that it would encourage development of a wholistic educational framework for Aboriginal youth which pursues the goal of transformative praxis by honouring Indigenous culture within a positive, empowering and generative contemporary urban context. I’ve read both the report and the thesis and can tell you that her research was exhaustive, thought-provoking, and ground-breaking.
Of note, Parent add a fifth R (relationships) to the well-received Four R research framework put forward by Kirkness & Barnhardt (1991). These authors argued that research in Aboriginal communities should be reciprocal, relevant, responsible, and respectful. For Parent, the fifth R allows her to maintain relational accountability to her family, clan (Nisga’a), and community.
I recommend the study for anyone who is looking for an extensive literature review of leading Indigenous research. Additionally, Amy’s findings on urban Aboriginal youth are thoughtfully framed by an explanation of wholistic education that is second to none. Finally, the commentary, stories, and interjections about her guide, the Raven, is worth the price of admission on its own.