Author: Scoble, Julie
Connection and belonging are fundamental to mental health and well-being of Indigenous Peoples. This has been severely impacted by colonization and is even more impacted in the foster care system. Indigenous cultural mentorship by Elders for youth in foster care is now used in the hopes of improving mental health and well-being of these youth. This paper examines the value of such mentorship in providing connection and belonging using semi-structured interviews following storytelling methodology with four Elders and two Indigenous youth who were formerly in foster care. The Elders' perspectives and stories demonstrate how traditional ways of living, learning and teaching create a deep connection and understanding, providing identity and belonging, key components of health and well-being. The youth describe biological families of harm and conflict and foster homes where values are confused such that they do not have a sense of connection and belonging. Further research is needed, using cultural tools, to establish best practices for developing connection and belonging in youth in the foster care system. Inclusion of cultural immersion programming into care plans for Indigenous youth in care will be essential
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Thesis advisor: Pidgeon, Michelle
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