Canada: Problems of Urban Aboriginal Youth, 1996

Five of the young researchers who studied smoking in Winnipeg (see that project) were joined by seven other Aboriginal youth to conduct a broader study on risky behaviour among Aboriginal students in grades six through 12 in urban Winnipeg as well as in Victoria, B.C., with the support of CIETcanada. Their tools were personal interviews with some 240 students, focus groups of five to 15 young people each, and case studies. More than half of questionnaire respondents have separated or divorced parents. A third reported experiencing violence or abuse within their families. Some 45% reported experiencing suicide or attempted suicide by a family member or close friend. Focus groups discussed the problem of racism experienced by Native youth in school. In addition to its findings, the study provided an important training and confidence-building experience for the youth conducting the work.