Fostering a Culture of Connection: Creating School Counselling Programs That Can Help Segue Reticent Indigenous Youth and Their Families to Community Supports
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Due to the historical trauma (HT) and adverse effects of the assimilation policies of the Canadian government, Canada’s Indigenous peoples suffer more physically and mentally than their non-Indigenous counterparts. Beyond the mental health challenges they face, Indigenous youth and their families face many barriers to supports within schools and within the community. It is imperative that school and community staff become culturally-competent in order to provide treatment that is "culturally meaningful and ecologically valid" (Zane et.al, 2016, pp.4-5). and trauma-informed; that is, a "strengths-based framework" that understands the impact of trauma on survivors (Ministry of Child and Family Development, 2010). Counsellors both in the school and in the community should adopt a Two-Eyed Seeing approach; that is, an approach that combines the Westernized client-centred therapy promoted by Carl Rogers with the traditional ways of knowing, learning, and healing of Indigenous communities. By combining Westernized and Indigenous approaches, Indigenous youth can experience more success in school and increase their physical and mental health. With trust and collaboration, school and community partners can help Indigenous individuals access supports within the school and beyond. Based on extensive research of Indigenous peoples' histories and cultures, I present a proposal to the school district in which they can respond to the TRC's Calls to Action by implementing strategies that involves engagement with external partners – Indigenous parents, elders, and community members – to have a positive impact on student outcomes.