Young Métis Parents and Elders about Parenting
The newly released report, Sharing their Stories: Narratives of Young Métis Parents and Elders about Parenting, is based on discussions with eighteen Métis parents, aspiring parents and grandparents in British Columbia over the course of 2009 and 2010. This resource documents and analyzes Métis narratives on parenting within the context of their unique historical and contemporary experiences.
Resulting from the research, four overarching themes were identified: culture and identity; parenting and family; health and well-being; and education and learning. Each of these themes point to some of the unmet needs and challenges impacting how Métis parents are able to raise their children in positive and supportive environments.
Culture and identity, including language, connection to the land, arts and crafts, symbols and harvesting activities, to name a few, cut across and influenced the three other themes of the study.
In terms of parenting and family, participants reflected upon childhood experiences, such as family dysfunction, feelings of abandonment, the impacts of loss of culture and identity, family disconnect, abuse, alcoholism, feelings of not being loved, the positive role of extended family, and residential/mission schools. They also shared their aspirations and/or experiences with parenthood.
Within the topic area of health and well-being, participants focused their discussions on holistic health and well-being. This included access to culturally relevant services, the connection between health and culture, the importance of community approaches to health, and prevention and promotion.
Education and learning brought up issues related to formal education as well as the broader concept of learning. Participants highlighted Métis experiences with residential schools, contemporary educational settings, and the importance of lifelong learning.
The report concludes with a number of programming, research and policy recommendations to better support Métis parents, children, and families.