Positive Leadership, Legacy, Lifestyles, Attitudes, and Activities for Aboriginal Youth: A Wise Practices Approach for Positive Aboriginal Youth Futures

  • Pammla M. Petrucka University of Saskatchewan
  • Deanna Bickford
  • Sandra Bassendowski University of Saskatchewan
  • Wayne Goodwill
  • Connie Wajunta
  • Beverly Yuzicappi
  • Leanne Yuzicappi
  • Paul Hackett University of Saskatchewan
  • Bonnie Jeffery University of Regina
  • Margaret Rauliuk Athabasca University
Keywords: Aboriginal, youth, Standing Buffalo First Nation, Dakota community-based research, adolescents, Elders


Adolescence is a dynamic and complex period in any society, but within the Aboriginal population this time is one of significant social pressures, critical decisions, and struggles to emerge healthy. The Positive Leadership, Legacy, Lifestyles, Attitudes, and Activities for Aboriginal Youth (PL3A3Y) project created youth and Elder teams to explore cultural practices that may inform the youth’s paths to living well. Using a community-based participatory research approach, Elder–youth dyads developed and delivered five modules to 78 students at a local elementary school in response to the research question: What are the critical components of a “Living Well” healing initiative for Aboriginal youth? Through a 4-step process that included engagement, module creation, co-delivery, and knowledge sharing, the project’s community-based research team innovatively and using culturally appropriate approaches brought forward critical topics of Leaders and Leadership, Legacy, Lifestyles, Attitudes, and Activities. Not only did the Elder–youth dyads develop a series of highly relevant, creative, useful products that were shared extensively with youth in the community, but the experience became a culturally appropriate leadership development opportunity for the youth researchers. The involvement of Elder–youth teams was a strength in linking past to present and in jointly envisioning a positive, healthier future for Aboriginal youth. With youth as co-researchers, the Elders as partners were highly effective in the development and delivery of culturally relevant teachings and knowledge that strengthened youth’s ability to achieve holistic personal and community wellness.

Author Biography

Pammla M. Petrucka, University of Saskatchewan

Professor, College of Nursing 



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