From 2021-2023 GWL embarked on a thesis journey alongside GWL Mentor, Cynthia Lee, focusing her thesis Masters Project on A Girls Who LEAP Exploration of Youth Leadership.
This thesis project utilized a decolonizing Two-Eyed Seeing methodological framework of Youth Participatory Action Research and Indigenous Methodology and engaged 17 GWL girls, 4 GWL mentors and Knowledge Keeper Amanda White in a 3 year research journey. The GWL thesis focused on 3 objectives:
1. Explored how young people in GWL understood and experienced leadership
2. Explored how GWL and young people can embrace Indigenous ways of knowing and leadership
3. Walk alongside the young people in GWL to design a meaningful exploration of youth leadership and to co-create a leadership framework for GWL moving forward
This research project relied heavily on the work of 6 amazing GWL young people (Kiera, Katerra, Eva, Titiana, Bianca, Tiana) who formed the Youth Advisory Research Team, self-named the Bannock Babes, and 2 Advisory Members, fellow GWL mentors, Toni Gladstone and Montanna Howe in creating the research design, research questions, as well as facilitating the research sessions at a power weekend at Camp Zajac in March 2022. Additionally, after gathering and analyzing the data from our research sessions, the Bannock Babes helped create the final product of this thesis with their own GWL designed Leadership Framework based off Dr. Martin Brokenleg’s Circle of Courage that we hope to use moving forward (see model).
Congratulations to Cynthia, Toni, Monty and the Bannock Babes for blazing trails and empowering our GWL young people on youth leadership!