Mentoring in More Than Words

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.


About Youth Mentorship in Indigenous Communities

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).

A Conversation on Mentoring with Indigenous Girls and Young


On June 25, 2020, the More Than Words team convened a webinar: A Conversation on Mentoring with Indigenous Girls and Young, bringing together over 40 participants from across Canada and South Africa. We had initially planned these conversations to take place face-to-face at the Imbizo Intergenerational in Durban, South Africa, June 29-July 3, 2020. Unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible for us to go ahead with these plans and the event will be postponed to 2021.


During the past challenging months, we have explored ways to connect up from a distance. In this effort, we held the Conversation on Mentoring online. We recognize that most online meeting platforms privilege some voices over others, due to the necessity for up-to-date technology and reliable internet connection.  To enhance the accessibility of this discussion, we have produced an event report which is intended to be both a recap for those that were able to take part ‘live’ in the conversation as well as an activity update for our growing Indigenous-focused national network on the arts in youth-led approaches to support SGBV survivors and their families.




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


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