The MTW project emphasizes intergenerationality and supporting the mentorship (or aunty-ship), leadership and facilitation skills of young people to extend participatory arts-based work in the community to younger sisters, brothers, and cousins, This involves working with younger participants in the community and ‘rolling out’ these approaches to other community members.
In More Than Words we refer to Generation 1 and Generation 2 participants. Generation 1 is made up of the young people (mostly though not exclusively girls and young women) who have been involved in the Networks for Change and Well-being fieldsites over the last several years. Generation 1 participants are the aunties or mentors. Generation 2 is made up of the new group, often younger, who have not been involved in previous workshops.
A growing body of research evidence demonstrates that mentoring has significant positive and beneficial social, academic, and community outcomes for Indigenous young people (Ware, 2013; Pawson, 2004; Carpenter, 2010). Good mentoring can act as a protective factor that increases the likelihood of success for young people while providing them with a person or people in whom they can place their trust and from whom they can learn. Indigenous mentoring, in particular, emphasizes spirituality, tradition, social and environmental factors, and, therefore, necessarily integrates cultural connections that fortify identity and cultural pride (Weinberger, 1999). Indigenous mentoring differs from typical Eurocentric models in that it recognizes that all people can be teachers and learners and that teachers are not just those people who have official accreditation to do so (Crooks et. al., 2009). Indigenous models tend to be activity-based and to value different ways of knowing. Indigenous youth leadership may also be more relational and privilege qualities such as being trustworthy, humble and healthy (Flicker et al., 2016).
Carpenter, P. (2010). The Kuhkenah Network (K-Net). In J. P. White, J. Peters, D. Beavon, & P.
Dinsdale (Eds.), Aboriginal policy research VI: Learning, technology and traditions (pp.119 -127). Toronto, ON: Thompson Educational.
Crooks, C. V., Chiodo, D., & Thomas, D. (2009). Engaging and empowering Aboriginal youth: a toolkit for service providers. Victoria, BC: Trafford.
Flicker, S. et al. (In press). The Impact of Indigenous youth sharing digital stories about HIV activism. Health Promotion Practice.
Pawson, R. (2004). Mentoring relationships: an explanatory review. ESRC UK Centre for
Evidence Based Policy and Practice: Working paper no. 21. London: UK Centre for Evidence Based Policy and Practice. Viewed 29 May 2013
Ware, V. (2013). Improving the accessibility of health services in urban and regional settings for Indigenous people (Vol. 27). Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Weinberger, S. G. (1999). Strengthening Native community commitment through mentoring guidebook. Silver Springs, MD: Housing and Urban Development, Native American