Examining the influence of Aboriginal literature on Aboriginal students' resilience at the University of Saskatchewan
There are many Aboriginal (First Nation, Métis and Inuit) students attending Canadian universities who remain resilient despite the multiple challenges that arise during their first year of studies. This thesis focused on six undergraduate Aboriginal students attending the University of Saskatchewan who learned about resilience as it was demonstrated in Aboriginal novels, plays, poetry and short stories, taught in their university courses. Aboriginal literature with a fictional or non-fictional autobiographical voice demonstrated characters and people who prevailed over hardships without giving up. A combination of Indigenous methodology and grounded theory methods were used in this qualitative study, to analyze how Aboriginal students were learning from Aboriginal literature about their own resilience. Resilience in this study is defined by the Nehiyaw (Cree) concept of Miyo-Pimatisiwin (The Good Life), which refers to relying on traditional Aboriginal concepts, values and perspectives in striving for a good life and being attentive to wholistic growth and balance of the four areas of self: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual (Hart, 2002, p. 13). This study found that Aboriginal students’ resilience is influenced by Aboriginal literature taught in undergraduate courses in three valuable ways: coping with personal and academic challenges, engagement in university learning with a sub-theme of approaches of professors validating Aboriginal literature and experiences, and personal growth and transformation. The University of Saskatchewan has recently announced initiatives aimed at increasing Aboriginal student retention and success, and this study lends support to the development of measures to increase the University of Saskatchewan’s aspirations in this regard.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
SupervisorJessen Williamson, Dr. Karla
CommitteeMiller, Dr. Dianne; Episkenew (External), Dr. Joanne
Copyright DateApril 2014
Indigenous methodology and grounded theory methods
Strategies for Aboriginal student post-secondary success