Ashley Hyatt is a doctoral student in Clinical and Counselling Psychology at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Her work and position comes from the perspective of a non-Indigenous person, with roots as a settler person living on Indigenous land. She is deeply interested in creating and nurturing respectful relationships with the Indigenous community, both as an aspiring counsellor and researcher. Ashley has been active in community-based Indigenous research and programming since beginning her undergraduate degree at University of Waterloo. Her area of research pertains to life transitions for Indigenous peoples, especially in the areas of education, employment, cultural identity, and social concerns. Ashley is committed to working from a position that engages in decolonizing and healing for members of the Indigenous community. She actively engages with the urban Indigenous community in Toronto by attending cultural and social events, and by participating in Indigenous councils and committees.
WORKSHOP TITLE : Addressing Employment and Mental Health Needs of Urban Indigenous Youth
DESCRIPTION : The purpose of this presentation is to explore the ways Indigenous perspectives, worldviews, and cultures can address the employment and mental health needs of urban Indigenous young peoples. Many Indigenous youth struggle to find employment. In fact, 2010 data from Statistics Canada indicates that the unemployment rate for Indigenous youth between the ages of 15 to 24 years ranges from 16.9% to 26.9% (Usalcas, 2011). The impact of ongoing colonization contributes to the unique barriers and challenges Indigenous youth encounter in finding and sustaining employment. This presentation will outline how culturally based work-life identity is understood by urban Indigenous youth. A discussion of how traditional knowledges and cultural identity can contribute to the remediation of youth employment challenges at a systemic level via policies in workplace settings and in private sectors will take place. Finally, this presentation will include a discussion regarding how to integrate cultural identity and traditional knowledges into Western practice and models.