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First Nations Parenting and School

My study of first nations parenting was inspired by a recent study of thousands of Canadian adolescents. For most adolescents, a positive relationship with their parents was associated with more positive scholastic achievement and enjoyment. However, this relationship did not exist in adolescents from the Northern Territories- despite controlling for wealth, age, school level, and other demographic factors. So despite reporting equally good relationships with the parents, adolescents from the territories don't seem to link those relationships with their school experiences. This suggests that there is a cultural difference; a difference that may be due to the relatively very high level of First Nations families (as compared to say, equally isolated and wealthy adolescents from Newfoundland).

To further study this issue, I am one of four faculty members at Brock University who are part of the Six Nations Student Success Consortium. The consortium is led by aboriginal members of the Six Nations, with the faculty members serving an advisory role in order to help address local issues involving students. Ultimately, we work for First Nations students and their goals, instead of asking them to work for us and our goals.

First Nations Parenting and Resiliency

One such issue that I am very interested in is traditional First Nations parenting. First Nations parenting has generally been under-studied. What little work has been done has generally focused on the negative aspects of First Nations parenting. I would like to focus on the positive aspects of First Nations parenting. I believe that First Nations parents have much potential wisdom to offer each other, as well as parents in general. Much of this traditional wisdom is also in jeopardy of being lost, so it is vitally important to try and document as much of it as is possible. We have received a generous SSHRC grant to study Six Nations parenting and how it can promote resiliency amongst local youth.

Created November 2010