An Intersectional Perspective on Experiences Inspiring Transition to University Among First Nations Learners

  • Author / Creator
    Arku, Cynthia
  • The literature on the university participation of First Nations (First Peoples of Canada) learners pointed to historic K 12 challenges and competing demands that hinder their transition to university. Although learners’ attendance is rising steadily, more females than males attend university. The author sought an understanding of experiences that could inspire First Nations learners to attend university. The author examined the influence of race, gender, and socioeconomic background and identified differences or similarities in the experiences by comparing Bourdieu’s (1977, 1985, 1986, 1990a) theory of practice and First Nations learners’ experience of the transition within their academic fields, as well as their sources of inspiration throughout the processes. Using a biographical method, interviewing First Nations university students, and integrating a relational accountability of Indigenous research paradigm, the author demonstrated that they experienced different fields and possessed capital (i.e., ore of capital) and that certain life events as well as inspiration from family, community, and external sources that the author proposed are capital, triggered their action towards university enrollment. In addition, the learners’ school fields appeared different from Bourdieu’s with regard to competition in the field because of their collective-oriented ethos. However, their socioeconomic backgrounds inspired their transition, although child-raising responsibilities can hinder the transition for university aspirants, more for females than for males. Parallel with Bourdieu’s notions, the families’ habitus transformed through events of awakening and exposure to certain environments. This study, which offers a rare analysis of First Nations learners’ transition to university in relation to Bourdieu’s theory of practice and their inspiration, has resulted in a fuller understanding of the individual and structural factors that guide education practitioners, academia, and communities in advancing the university participation of First Nations learners

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2017
  • 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.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Theoretical, Cultural, and International Studies in Education
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Steinhauer, Noella R. (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Glanfield, Florence (Secondary Education)
    • Abdi, Ali A. (Educational Studies, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia)
    • Da Costa, Alexandre (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Taylor, Alison (Educational Studies, University of British Columbia)
    • Sabre Cherkowski (Okanagan Campus, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia