Empowering the voices and agency of Indigenous Australian youth and their wellbeing in higher education<sup>✰</sup>

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Educational Research, 2021, 109
Issue Date:
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Despite wellbeing being critical for individuals and communities to thrive in life and succeed in education, there is little research that investigates how Indigenous Australian youth attending universities conceptualise wellbeing. The purpose of this research was to empower the voices and agency of Indigenous youth attending higher education institutes to identify their construals of: the significance and nature of their wellbeing, the factors influencing their wellbeing, and the drivers and barriers to their wellbeing. Focus groups were undertaken with Indigenous youth (N=30) attending four Australian higher education institutions. The participants construed wellbeing as holistic, multidimensional, interconnected, collective, and subjective. Cultural identity, family and kinship, connection to Country, spirituality, having a sense of self, Indigenous student role models in higher education, and Indigenous staff support are facilitators of wellbeing. Factors such as racism and discrimination, lateral violence, non-culturally safe university spaces, family violence, “walking in two worlds”, and Indigenous community wellbeing when at risk, were identified as barriers to their wellbeing.
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