Culture as Catalyst: Preventing the Criminalization of Indigenous Youth

This report was published by the Crime Prevention Ottawa.


The objective of this review is to gather information on the role of culture in promoting the wellbeing of Indigenous youth, with a focus on supports that hold promise for preventing the criminalization of Indigenous youth. The first section provides a brief but important overview of the historical and social context of Indigenous peoples in Canada. The second section then explores and highlights the links between colonial policies and practice, and the disproportionate victimization and criminalization of Indigenous peoples. This provides a framework within which to explore current thoughts on how a connection to culture for Indigenous youth may serve as a catalyst for supporting their positive development and wellbeing. A series of common principles and strategies for working with marginalized and Indigenous youth are presented, followed by a few concrete examples of these efforts in the United States, Canada and in Ottawa.

Bania, M. (2017). Culture as Catalyst: Preventing the Criminalization of Indigenous Youth. Ottawa, ON: Crime Prevention Ottawa. Retrieved from:

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