This thesis provides a thematic analysis of how urban Aboriginal parents (N=31) discussing the Aboriginal Focus School in Vancouver conceptualize the broad Aboriginal category as a meaningful identity. Participants conceptualized the broad Aboriginal category as a reflection of the lived experience of urban Aboriginal peoples, as a group with cultural commonalities including shared practices, norms and values, as a collection of diverse Aboriginal cultural groups in which subgroup diversity contributes to the value of the broad Aboriginal identity, and as a basis for solidarity and resilience in response to mistreatment from outgroups. Results also suggest the broad Aboriginal category is most likely to be accepted when it is perceived to be constructed by Aboriginal people themselves. These findings are situated within the Social Identity Theory approach (Reicher, Spears & Haslam, 2010) and add nuance to research on multicultural identities, intragroup relations and the political implications of social category construction.
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Thesis advisor: Schmitt, Michael
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