Research Clusters

Indigenous Fathers

Led by Dr. Jessica Ball, School of Child and Youth Care, University of Victoria,

Aboriginal advisor: Ron George (M.A. candidate, University of Victoria).

Based in Prince George, Terrace, Esketemc First Nation and Lil'wat Nation

Goal: To determine what kinds of new theoretical understandings, policy reforms, and community initiatives may be needed to represent and support Indigenous fathers' experiences, needs and goals. 

Publications Based on this Project

Ball, J. (2013). Indigenous Fathers in Canada. In Father Involvement in Young Children’s Lives: Global Analysis. J. Pattnaik (Ed.) (pp. 201-223). Springer Netherlands. 

Ball., J. (2012) Aboriginal Fathers in Canada through Time. In Ball, J., & Daly, K. J. (Eds.). Father Involvement in Canada: Diversity, Renewal, and Transformation (pp. 126-148). Vancouver, BC: UBC Press. 

Ball, J. (2012). ‘We could be the turn-around generation’: Harnessing Aboriginal fathers’ potential to contribute to their children’s well-being. Paediatrics & Child Health, 17(7), 373. 

Ball, J. (2010). Indigenous fathers’ involvement in reconstituting “circles of care”. American Journal of Community Psychology, 45(1-2), 124-138. 

Ball, J. (2009). Fathering in the shadows: Indigenous fathers and Canada's colonial legacies. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 624(1), 29-48. 

Ball, J., & Janyst, P. (2008). Enacting research ethics in partnerships with indigenous communities in Canada:“Do it in a good way”. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics: An International Journal, 3(2), 33-51. 

Ball, J., & George, R. (2006, March). Policies and practices affecting Aboriginal fathers’ involvement with their children. In 2nd Annual Aboriginal Policy Research Conference. Relationships: Policy, Research and Results. Winnipeg, Spring.

Understanding and Supporting Indigenous Fathers' Journeys: Research poster based on the work of FIRA's Indigenous Fathers Cluster, presented at the 3rd biannual conference of the Living Knowledge Network, Belfast in August of 2009.

Polices and practices affecting Aboriginal fathers' involvement with their children are highlighted in a chapter by Jessica Ball and Ron George in an edited collection: Aboriginal Policy Research: Moving Forward, Making A Difference, Volume 3. Edited by Jerry P. White, Susan K. Wingert, Paul Maxim, and Dan Beavon.This volume is available to order from University of Toronto Press, Distribution Division, 520-1 Dufferin Street, Toronto, Ontario M3H 5T8. Toll-free Telephone: 1-800-565-9523
(Examination copies available for course reading)
348 pages, $34.95 CDN plus $5.00 shipping and handling

Ball, J., & Roberge, C. (2007). Beginning the Journey of Fatherhood: A Guide for Aboriginal Men. Indigenous Fathers Project, University of Victoria; Early Childhood Development Intercultural Partnerships. 

Community University Partnership Research (Steps towards a negotiated social justice) (pdf 676kb)
by Jessica Ball. Research poster presented at the third biannual conference of the Living Knowledge, Belfast, August, 2009.

Glad you Asked: Challenges of Fatherhood and Aboriginal Men
Authored by Jessica Ball. This article answers some commonly asked questions about Aboriginal fatherhood.

Resources Developed in the Course of This Project

Resources for Understanding and Supporting Indigenous Fathers - A list of print and video resources relevant to professionals working with Aboriginal fathers.

Resource Kit for Fathers, Families, and Community Programs
The resource kit consists of a documentary DVD, a guide booklet for both community partners and Aboriginal men, a poster, summary of Indigenous Fathers Resource Project, information sheets and worksheets for program workshops. 

The Indigenous Fathers Resource Package: Includes a copy of the DVD Fatherhood: Indigenous Men's Journeys,two booklets and other materials developed by FIRA's Indigenous Fathers Cluster. Available through the we


Project Description

This study, the first in Canada to explore fathering issues as they relate specifically to Indigenous men, helps to extend fathering theory beyond its focus on Euro-Western men. Research activities examined the experience of fathers of Indigenous children. Some were enrolled in Aboriginal Head Start Programs and additional fathers without affiliations to community programs were included because they asked to contribute their stories to the project. At total of 80 fathers participated (72 First Nations, seven Métis, one non-Aboriginal father of Aboriginal children).

The cluster used a social participatory approach to research. Program directors helped to articulate research methods and questions, and also provided input about the how to mobilize the knowledge gained from the research. An Indigenous research team worked with Professor Ball to collect, transcribe, and interpret data. Information gathering included a one-hour audiotaped interviews with each father about his experiences in regards to his children.

This project built upon relationships already established between First Nations and Dr. Ball, who has spent many years building trust with people and organizations. The community partners have embraced the possibilities of examining fatherhood involvement issues within their communities. Participating sites include two Aboriginal Head Start Programs in Prince George, an Aboriginal Head Start program in Esketemc First Nation, Lil'wat Nation, and Terrace Child Development Centre Dad's Group.

bsite of Early Childhood Development Intercultural Partnerships, a multi-site research project led by Jessica Ball at the University of Victoria.


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