A journey to kiscâyâwin ᑭᐢᒑᔮᐃᐧᐣ : belonging within us, around us and between us a co-created exploration into cultivating collective belonging for young people
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Subjectaction; belonging; civic; collective; decolonizing methodologies; Indigenous youth participatory action research
Alongside young people, our research explores the meaning of belonging and unearths its role in igniting action in our communities today and for our future. It creatively explores our collective journey to kiscâyâwin ᑭᐢᒑᔮᐃᐧᐣ (to belong or belong somewhere) guided by the question: How can civic belonging for young people ignite civic action? Youth participatory action research (YPAR), rooted in a decolonizing methodology referred to as Indigenized youth participatory action research (I-YPAR) is foundational to this research. During the research process, we engaged three A(u)nties and 10 Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people, aged 18-29, in a decolonizing, relational, and creative co-developed exploration into belonging, civic, and collective belonging, and action for young people. The research aligns with my relational, responsive, and reflexive ethical responsibilities as an Indigenous researcher and the Royal Roads University Research Ethics Policy. Key learnings highlight the immeasurable and inextricable relationships between connection, land, and freedom to belonging, and the importance of cultivating collective belonging for current and future generations. Recommended calls to action for young people; adult allies of young people; and policy makers, changemakers, and influencers include: (1) create spaces for young people to connect to self and others; (2) remember, recognize, and re-integrate connection to land; and (3) cultivate collective belonging in youth civic spaces. This research exists to support young people in reclaiming their roles as storytellers, leaders, knowledge holders, and changemakers for current and future generations.
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