Western youth leadership

Concordia’s Applied Human Sciences professor Warren Linds is working with community and education leaders at First Nations University of Canada and the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council in Saskatchewan. Over a four-year period, Linds will conduct a multi-stakeholder research project funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

His goal, with Development of Aboriginal Youth Health Leadership Through Theatre is to help young people acquire the tools to confront the challenges they face, and to communicate their decisions. His method is to use theatre to develop leadership in Aboriginal youth. The project involves workshops designed to help youth think actively about the choices they make and work out how to make healthier choices.

Members of the Cree, Lakota, Saulteaux, and Dakota communities are taking part in the project that focuses on the development of self-esteem and self-confidence. “It would be great if we could develop a youth voice on health issues on the tribal council,” says Linds, adding that the project has been a positive experience.

“I consider the research as ‘emerging,” he says. We’re always developing it, and it’s a slow process that depends on participation. The project relies on input from a locally established advisory committee involving various community members, who all are treated as participants in project design and direction. “We’re not just doing traditional research where we go in, find out what happened, and leave.”

The project builds on the doctoral research he completed a decade ago helping youth develop leadership skills using theatre as a tool to address racism.

That research project, involving upper elementary and high school youth, allowed him to elaborate and refine approaches to education though the arts. Many of his partners in this project were also involved in his earlier anti-racist work.

by: Karen Herland  |  Source: Concordia Journal

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