The last decade or so of research in Canada, reflected in this special issue, has increased our understanding of the distinction between Indigenous resilience and the research into Indigenous resilience.
Measurement offers glimpses of resilience, mostly from the potentially distorted view of how resilient youth face specific adversity — adversity that is set by the funding opportunity: tobacco, substance abuse, suicide, or HIV infection. The driving role of funding has obvious problems; the priorities of funders may not be the priorities of communities and results can tell more about the funding opportunity than about resilience itself. Even so, this problem-focussed research has the very practical advantage of producing results geared to solutions. A major lesson of this body of work is that we should allow ourselves the space (and the modesty) to recognize that Aboriginal resilience is greater than we have been able to measure under specific funding opportunities. Even with this limitation, our results shows a large degree of specificity — what strengthens youth resilience to one type of adversity in one setting might well not work in another. Five proposals emerge from the findings.
Tools for Researching Indigenous Spirituality
CIET started using standards-based measurement tools; adjusted through stakeholder buy-in, which sometimes resulted in a weak facsimile of the original. This has led to the need to redevelop the theoretical and practical basis for Aboriginal resilience research. Our pre-cascada partial order of individual resilience assets proposes that perception of coherence, spirituality and experience will in some way precede conscious knowledge, attitudes, subjective norms and the positive deviation from negative subjective norms, intention to change, sense of agency (ability to implement change), discussion or socialization of the issue, and resilience-oriented action. We still lack clarity on, for example, which elements of conscious knowledge are most informative for resilience. Many of the existing standardsbased tools found, adapted, and introduced by CIET in Aboriginal communities, for example, those dealing with enculturation and cultural orientations, only tangentially deal with the fundamental issue in Aboriginal resilience — Indigenous spirituality. We are not convinced the existing tools are the best way to measure Indigenous spirituality.
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