"In the Trail of the Ancestors" Training Aboriginal Youth Workers

to appear in University of Victoria

Julian Norris

Published: April 1998

Keywords: training, youth, workers, Aboriginal, Nation, education, Canadian, tradition, community, Education, Indigenous People


Until recently every Aboriginal Nation had a viable and effective system for preparing young people to make the transition from child to adult. It worked. It was part of a truly wholistic, natural education process that prepared people for life. This process was consciously and deliberately fractured as part of the colonial subjugation of Aboriginal peoples. It was replaced with a fragmented system that was never intended to meet the needs of tribal society. This new system included elements that were specifically intended to sever the links between the generations and undermine the very foundations of cultural continuity. Its effects continue to profoundly shape life in Aboriginal communities to this day. Many of the difficulties experienced by youth are precisely because the web of traditional relationships around them has broken down. Youth programs essentially replace or try to rebuild this web of relationships. The best programs involve a web of relationships built around young people, rather than just one relationship between a youth and youth worker. The youth workers interviewed here are, above all, helping youth to rebuild and reconnect with that web. They are at the frontlines of a growing movement to rediscover, reinterpret and renew the elements of the traditional system to meet the needs of a new time. A new picture drawn in an ancient pattern. It is tremendously significant work, and it has implications far beyond Aboriginal Canadian communities.

Disciplines: Child Rights

Publication: http://web.uvic.ca/iicrd/graphics/In%20The%20Trail%20of%20The%20Ancestors.PDF