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Ask Catherine 3 —Meeting Indigenous Youth Where They’re At


Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Interviewees: Catherine Broomfield

Numbering: Issue 4: Everyone Has Their Specialty

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: Question Time

Web Domain:

Individual Publication Date: December 11, 2019

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2020

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 618

Keywords: Catherine Broomfield, indigenous, Scott Douglas Jacobsen, youth.

Catherine Broomfield is the Executive Director of iHuman Youth Society. She loves the challenge and excitement of the job, especially with the diversity of the workplace and the people with non-profits. She has worked, in fact, in both the public and the private sectors. Here we talk about Indigenous troubled youth.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: How is meeting the youth where they’re at an important aspect of the reintegration and processing of trauma?

Catherine Broomfield: Previously I shared what iHuman’s youth work practice under the principle of ‘meeting youth where they’re at’, or as we like to refer to it ‘keeping it real’, means to our style of engagement with young people and for our agency’s overall operation. I have shared how we orientate our support to young people based on their individual needs, barriers and circumstances on a day to day basis or situationally. I’ve shared how as a non-Indigenous organization on Treaty 6 land in Amiskwaciwâskahikan, also known as Edmonton, we primarily serve Indigenous young people and that despite wanting to support young people, at times, we have harmed them with our ignorance or lack of attunement to an Indigenous worldview. In all this reflection on how we deliver our mission, an underlying awareness is honouring treaty and protocol so that we ‘do things in a good way’. Therefore, over the last two years, we have taken action to align our engagement to what young people identify as well as the findings of the TRC and now the MMIWC from an Indigneous worldview privileging anti-oppressive, anti-racism approaches.

If as I have also mentioned, at the core of the issues iHuman youth experience is the erasure of identity, then providing a space in the way that I have just reviewed, means young people are welcomed to a building that sees them as whole human beings despite what they themselves or society might label them as “high risk”, “worthless”, “a problem” or “delinquent”. In my opinion when someone can be ‘seen’ and witnessed as a human being then you’re honouring their spirituality. I do not say this from a religious sense, in fact, being aware of the legacies of residential schools and colonization, I am expressly referring to the essence of who a person is — not their religious practice or views. At iHuman we are co-creating a space where young people and staff, volunteers, board are seeing the gifts that we all bring and using these skills and knowledge to keep a special place like iHuman operating and viable. Therefore, for me, being human is a spiritual endeavor — we’re all on a journey to betterment and there’s something that everyone can share or learn to help others in their journeys.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Catherine.

License and Copyright


In-Sight Publishing and Question Time by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and Question Time 2012-2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and Question Time with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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