Composing Lives: A Narrative Inquiry into Aboriginal Youth and Families' Stories to Live By

  • Author / Creator
    Cardinal, Trudy M
  • Throughout my life I have heard stories about what it means to be an Aboriginal person, yet no story captured the richness and complexities of my experience. As an Indigenous scholar seeking a deeper understanding of Aboriginal education in and out of schools, I continue to hear stories about who Aboriginal youth and families are supposed to be. Each time I listen, I wonder how those stories are shaping the lives of Aboriginal children, youth, and their families. Do the stories enable or constrain the way they see themselves?
    From within two larger SSHRC and ACCFCR funded studies looking at the experiences of Aboriginal youth and families in a Canadian urban, provincially-funded school system in Canada, I worked alongside Aboriginal youth and their families to inquire into their storied lives. My research puzzle specifically asked: What are the stories that Aboriginal youth and families tell of who they are and are becoming, and how do the other stories (cultural, familial, community, and school stories), especially those of the Indian in mind, influence or shape their stories of becoming?
    I engaged in a narrative inquiry which allowed me to attend to the relational accountability that is important to me. My doctoral study built capacity for Aboriginal youth and families. This study too will contribute to the larger practical and social worlds, attending to the ways in which Aboriginal youth and families make sense of the available stories that tell them who they are, while also creating spaces for new stories to be told—stories which can inform policies to be more responsive to the context and lives that are unfolding and evolving. My research has created possibilities to tell different stories of Aboriginal youth and families, while acknowledging the very real disparities and inequities Aboriginal people experience, it emphasises the possibility that Aboriginal education can build on a deeper understanding of the influence of the Indian we had in mind.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2014
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.