Journal Club

Journal Special Issue on Indigenous Youth Wellbeing- Risk & Resilience

As a result of racial bias and inequality, Indigenous children are over-represented in the child welfare system – which often leads to a loss of cultural identity – their views and voices can be lost

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ISPCAN Resources

Focus of this Training

This session provides a further opportunity to disseminate this cutting-edge collection of findings to a global audience of practitioners, researchers and child protection experts. During the webinar, eight authors will present their papers followed by a panel discussion chaired by the guest editor Dr. Chris Mushquash. Indigenous children around the world have unique strengths and resilience, despite facing a wide range of structural and systemic risks such as poverty, health inequities, lower food security, lack of access to services, to water and land. As a result of racial bias and inequality, Indigenous children are also over-represented in the child welfare system – which often leads to a loss of cultural identity – and their views and voices are not sufficiently considered. Indigenous youth are also affected by the intergenerational effects of the collective traumas experienced by their families and communities associated with colonization, marginalization, and discrimination by non-Indigenous mainstream societies and are exposed to an increasing number of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), pointing to the importance of exploring resilience processes that may mitigate poor outcomes associated with these exposures. This special issue journal, entitled Indigenous Youth Wellbeing: Risk and Resilience, specifically tackles crucial themes. The special issue is a collection of 16 papers that showcase research projects that were included in the conference program, but also some others highlighting the realities of current research in terms of effective approaches to fostering resilience and wellbeing of Indigenous youth at the individual, community, policy, and legislation levels around the world. It also aims at highlighting structural and systemic risks faced by Indigenous youth and pathways to overcome them. Experience an interactive Q&A session with content experts.

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Journal Club Date:

February 6, 2024




Indigenous Children
AUTHOR SLIDES - Indigenous Youth Wellbeing - Risk and Resilience Webinar
Canadian Human Rights Tribunal
An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families
Public Inquiry Commission on relations between Indigenous People and certain public services in Quebec Canada
Resilience Curriculum: Self Compassion and Mental Health
Family for Every Child - Caring for Children and Families in Indigenous Communities
Sandy White Hawk's book - A Child of the Indian Race: A Story of Return
First Nations Repatriation Institute
Water and Resilience
Global Insights on the Sexual Exploitation of Boys
Research for Indigenous Social Action and Equity Center (RISE)

Featured Journal Articles:

Introduction on Indigenous Youth Wellbeing: Risk and Resilience
Examining the connection between water concerns, water anxiety, and resilience among Indigenous persons: A systematic scoping review. Huynh, L., Anjum, S., Lieu, T., Horse, M.L., Martin-Hill, D., & Wekerle, C. (2023).
Global Indigenous gender concepts, gender-based violence and resilience: A scoping review. Wei, A., Bo Zhang, Y., Robertson, E., Steen, J., Mushquash, C., & Wekerle, C. (2023).
Recurrent child protection post-investigation services for First Nations children in the province of Quebec. De La Sablonnière-Griffin, M., Collin-Vézina, D., Esposito, T., & Dion, J. (2023).
Exploring strengths, psychological functioning and youth victimization among American Indians and Alaska Natives in four southern states. Schultz, K., Taylor, E., McKinney, S., & Hamby, S. (2023).
Tribal Reservation Adolescent Connections Study: A study protocol using mixed methods for examining social networks and associated outcomes among American Indian youth on a Northern Plains reservation. Schultz, K., Ivanich, J.D., Rumbaugh Whitesell, N., & Zacher, T. (2023).
Developing the ACEIG-scale: An Adverse Childhood Experience scale for Inuit youth in Greenland. Ottendahl, C.B., Seidler, I.K., Beck, A., Pedersen, C.P., Bjerregaard, P., & Larsen, C. (2023).
Associations between mental health problems and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in Indigenous and non-Indigenous Mexican Adolescents. Casas-Muñoz, A., Rojano, A.E.V., & Rodríguez-Caballero, A. (2023).
Longing to belong: The ambiguous loss of Indigenous fostered/adopted individuals. Simpson, J., Landers, A.L., & White Hawk, S. (2023).
The hole in my heart is closing: Indigenous relative reunification identity verification. Landers, A.L., Danes, S.M., Morgan, A.A., Simpson, J.E., & White Hawk, S. (2023).
Whakarongo Mai: Listening to the views of tamariki, whānau and kaimahi within the Aotearoa New Zealand child protection system. Fitzmaurice-Brown, L. (2023).
Recommendations for systemic change to support connectedness within Alaska Native child welfare. Ullrich, J.S., & Metivier, A. (2023).
Exploring the relevance of a psychology-based resilience app (JoyPopTM) for Indigenous youth.Kim, K., Au-Yeung, A., Dagher, D., Jacobs, N., Martin-Hill, D., Wekerle, C., & The Six Nations Youth Mental Wellness Committee (2023).
Growing stronger together: Implementing the strengthening families program with Indigenous communities. Levy, M., Holder, M., Fairman, M., Bulls, S.T., Ramirez, L., Holmes, C., … Mendenhall, A. (2023).
Growing stronger together: Sharing a story of culturally responsive evaluation with Indigenous families and communities. Mendenhall, A., Hicks, C., Holder, M., Holmes, C., Jung, E., Ramirez, L., … Levy, M. (2023).
Implementing a sexual violence prevention program in two Canadian Indigenous communities: Challenges and lessons learned. Dion, J., Attard, V., Guyon, R., De La Sablonnière-Griffin, M., Perreault, É., & Hébert, M. (2023).
‘Healing through culture’: Aboriginal young people’s experiences of social and emotional wellbeing impacts of cultural strengthening programs. Black, C., Frederico, M., & Bamblett, M. (2023).

Learning Objectives:

Topics covered in this Special Issue Journal
Risk and protective factors faced by Indigenous populations: scoping reviews
Knowledge and understanding on Indigenous youth trajectories and psychological functioning in the face of risk and adversity
Promising strategies to bring changes in practice and policy, by listening to the voices of Indigenous foster care or adopted youth, intergenerational residential school survivors, and Indigenous child welfare workers
Innovative and promising programs or applications to enhance connection and wellbeing

Presented By:

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Dr Christopher Mushquash
 Vice President, Research at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and Chief Scientist at Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute
Christopher Mushquash is a researcher and clinician, who integrates traditional knowledge into his work, exploring sustainable ways of healing that also addresses systemic problems that Indigenous Peoples, particularly Indigenous youth, continue to face in Canada. His research and practice have contributed to improved outcomes in Indigenous communities and enhanced understanding of the nature of developmental and intergenerational trauma in First Nations people, improving clinical care for those with substance use difficulties. His research has upended conventional understandings of mental health in Indigenous families and established best practices for engaging Indigenous people in research. Furthermore, his research has directly influenced federal funding policy in First Nations communities, and assisted leaders of those communities to advocate for culturally and contextually informed services for their people. His many publications serve as a strong foundation on which new policy is being built; he has delivered presentations to governments and served on major national and provincial health policy committees. He has supervised many undergraduate, graduate, and post graduate students, with seven having successfully earned their Ph.D. credentials under his supervision. In this way, Dr. Mushquash is able to teach others to be similarly compassionate and knowledgeable helpers, who can flourish in their careers while placing Indigenous wellness at the centre of all they do.
Sandy White Hawk
First Nations Repatriation Institute, Shakopee, MN USA
Sandra White Hawk is a Sicangu Lakota adoptee from the Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota. She is the founder and Director of First Nations Repatriation Institute. First Nations Repatriation Institute (FNRI) is the first organization of its kind whose goal it is to create a resource for First Nations people impacted by foster care or adoption to return home, reconnect, and reclaim their identity. The Institute also serves as a resource to enhance the knowledge and skills of practitioners who serve First Nations people. Sandra organizes Truth Healing Reconciliation Community Forums that bring together adoptees/fostered individuals and their families and professionals with the goal to identify post adoption issues and to identify strategies that will prevent removal of First Nations children. She has also initiated an ongoing support group for adoptees and birth relatives in the Twin Cities Area. Sandra is the Elder in Residence at the Indian Child Welfare Law Office, Minneapolis, MN and is a consultant for the Tribal Training Certification Program, University of Duluth, Minnesota. Sandra has become a spokesperson on the issues of the adoption and the foster care system and how it has impacted First Nations People. She has traveled throughout the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Australia and Japan, Alaska sharing her inspirational story of healing. She served as Commissioner for the Maine Wabanaki State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission and served as an Honorary Witness of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Residential Schools in Canada. She serves on the boards of: The Legal Rights Center of Minneapolis and The Association for American Indian Affairs. She is a subject in three documentaries: •The People’s Protectors - •Dawnland – •Blood Memory – She is a contributing author to: •Outsiders Within: Writing on transracial adoption •Parenting as Adoptees •The Kinship Parenting Toolbox Sandra has received the following awards: •The Child Welfare Leadership Award, Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare, U of MN, 2019 •The National Indian Child Welfare Champion for Children Award, 2017 •Women in Wellbriety Dana Tiger Award for Creating Change in Nations, 2014 •Named one of The INNOVATORS in Color Lines Magazine, 2008 • •Named one of the 50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World Utne Reader, 2008 •Named Outstanding Native Women Award from the University of Minnesota 2003 •Named one of the “50 Most Influential and Cool People” of Madison, WI, in Madison Magazine, November. Sandy's Book "A Child of the Indian Race": A Story of Return can be purchased on AMAZON from the link located under external resources on the right side of this page.
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Ashley L. Landers
Assistant Professor Couple and Family Therapy specialization Human Development and Family Science program Department of Human Sciences College of Education and Human Ecology The Ohio State University
Ashley L. Landers, PhD, LMFT is an Assistant Professor in the Human Development and Family Science Program’s Couple and Family Therapy specialization in the Department of Human Sciences at The Ohio State University. She is a community-engaged scholar whose program of research in partnership with First Nations Repatriation Institute focuses on families in child welfare, specifically American Indian/Alaska Native families involved with the child welfare system. The findings of this scholarship have been used to achieve social change in response to identified needs within the American Indian/Alaska Native community related to child removal, reunification, and adoption. Their work was recently cited by Justice Neil Gorsuch in the Supreme Court ruling to uphold the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in Haaland v. Brackeen in 2023, the Tribal Amicus Brief in the Supreme Court in 2021, the World Health Organization and UNICEF in 2020, and the Washington State Supreme Court in 2020.
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Mireille De La Sablonniere-Griffin
INRS-UQAT Joint Research Unit in Indigenous Studies, Urbanisation Culture Soci´et´e Research Centre, Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Val-d'Or, Quebec, Canada
Mireille De La Sablonnière-Griffin, PhD, is an assistant professor at the INRS Centre Urbanisation Culture Société, and a member of the INRS-UQAT joint research unit in Indigenous Studies. She has been working in research with First Nations partners for more than fifteen years and is interested in the well-being of Indigenous children and youth, particularly in terms of their interactions with social services, including child protection services (access, overrepresentation, cultural safety, etc.). The research she conducted collaboratively has notably been used by the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission to advocate for changes in child protection services provision when involving First Nations children. Her current research program seeks to document and support Indigenous communities in their work towards self-determination and governance of Child and Family Services and, more recently, she has started to work with Indigenous partners on needs and appreciation regarding services for language development in preschool-aged children.
Charlotte Brandstrup Ottendalh
Cand. Scient. San. Publ. National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark
Charlotte Brandstrup Ottendahl is a research assistant at the Centre for Public Health in Greenland at the National Institute of Public health, which is a part of the University of Southern Denmark. The Centre is placed both in Copenhagen and in Nuuk and includes indigenous and non-indigenous researcher. For the past six years her research has been centered around health and well-being among youth in Greenland and around planning the Greenland Population Health survey, which is the largest health survey in the country. Charlotte has a master’s degree in public health and is mainly using epidemiological and statistical methods in her work.
Michelle Levy
Principal Investigator/Project Director of the Kansas Serves Native American Families initiative
Michelle Levy is a Research Project Director at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare. She served as the Principal Investigator/Project Director of the Kansas Serves Native American Families initiative from 2018- 2022 and she currently co-directs the School’s Integrated Health Scholars Program. Ms. Levy has a Master’s from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration.
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Melissa Holder
Co-investigator for the Kansas Serves Native American Families initiative. Citizen of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
Melissa “Missy” Holder, PhD, MSW is a citizen of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and is also an Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare. She served as a co-investigator and evaluation team for the Kansas Serves Native American Families initiative from 2018-2022. Missy currently serves as a co-investigator for the Bridges to Baccalaureate Grant, NIH Grant. Her research centers on relationality, intimate partner violence, and historical trauma/healing.
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Dr. Christine Wekerle
Editor-in-Chief at Child Abuse & Neglect & Co-Editor-in-Chief for Elsevier and ISPCAN's new journal, Child Protection and Practice
Dr. Christine Wekerle (Clinical Psychology) is the current Editor-in-Chief at Child Abuse & Neglect finishing her 9-year term in 2024. She is also a Co-Editor-in-Chief for Elsevier and ISPCAN's new journal, Child Protection and Practice, an open access, broader child rights-focused journal. Her academic affiliations are in Pediatrics, as well as Psychiatry, at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Wekerle's youth resilience research is available at and