Dr. Angela Lunda is Term Professor of Education

Recent Submissions

  • I'm a killer whale: the process of cultural identity development from the perspectives of young indigenous children

    Lunda, Angela; John, Theresa; Green, Carie; Richardson, Lisa; Hyslop, Polly (2022-12)
    This qualitative single case study examined the phenomenon of cultural identity development from the perspective of young Indigenous children situated within the context of their southeast Alaskan community. Decades of assimilationist policies have eroded cultural identity among many Indigenous Alaskans, yet a strong cultural identity is known to be a protective factor for Indigenous peoples. Building on Indigenous identity development theory, the study sought to answer the research questions: (1) How do young children demonstrate their cultural identity through interactions on the Land? (2) How do community organizations support cultural identity development (CID) in young Indigenous children? (3) What role do peers play in nurturing cultural identity development (CID)? And (4) How do teachers and families nurture CID? The primary data source was video collected by children wearing forehead cameras as they engaged in semi-structured activities on the Land; video data were augmented by surveys, interviews, children's drawings, and careful observations. These methods allowed the researcher to examine the child's lived experiences to begin to untangle the rich interactions between children, the Land, parents, and educators, and to describe CID nurturing factors. Reflexive thematic analysis was employed to discover themes and patterns in the data. Findings reveal that children demonstrate their Indigenous identity by learning and exhibiting traditional ecological knowledge, which includes intricate knowledge of the Land, subsistence practices, and core cultural values. The process of cultural identity development was supported by the community through vision and funding for cultural initiatives. Peers, parents, and educators contributed to the cultural identity development of the young participants by enacting moves to increase confidence and competence on the Land. This study has implications for policymakers, educators, families, and others interested in nurturing healthy identity development among young Indigenous children.