Situated Social Identities: The Storied Experiences of Tłı̨chǫ High School Graduates

Graduate Students, Health and Wellness, Language and Culture

The doctoral thesis was a social phenomenological inquiry that explored lived experiences of 11 Tłı̨chǫ high school graduates from the Indigenous community of Behchokǫ̀​​​​​​​, Northwest Territories. A blended identity-based and ecological lens facilitated holistic understandings of resilience processes, lifecourse patterns, and domains of meaningful learning. Narratives revealed a bi-cultural tension embodied in late Elder Elizabeth Mackenzie’s call for Tłı̨chǫ​​​​​​​ youth to become “strong like two people”: competent and confident in both an Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural world. Deeper understandings of social identities and resilience enhancing supports, resources, and contexts informed the development of a model of dynamic resilience for Tłı̨chǫ​​​​​​​ students and three broad educational policy recommendations. A relational research model to guide researchers working qualitatively in cross-cultural contexts or with marginalized populations also emerged.


  • Susan Elizabeth Hopkins, University of Phoenix