An Exploration of the Effects of Mentor-Apprentice Programs on Mentors' and Apprentices' Wellbeing




Jenni, Barbara
Anisman, Adar
McIvor, Onowa
Jacobs, Peter

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International Journal of Indigenous Health


Increasingly, adult Indigenous language learners are being identified as the “missing generation” of learners who hold great potential to contribute to the revival of Indigenous languages by acting as the middle ground between Elders, children, and youth within their communities. Our research project NEȾOLṈEW̱ “one mind, one people” studied adult Indigenous language learning through the popular Mentor-Apprentice Program method. Over a 2-year period, our team conducted interviews and focus groups with participants involved in a Mentor-Apprentice type program in British Columbia, Canada. While our primary interest was to document the successes and challenges of the Mentor-Apprentice Program method for adult Indigenous language learning, we also included interview questions that gave participants an opportunity to share how participating in such a program affected them. During data analysis, we noticed repeating comments from participants about how their involvement with a Mentor-Apprentice Program impacted their own and their community’s wellbeing; 6 exploratory themes were identified. Although studies have reported protective effects of Indigenous language use on health, health-related outcomes of language revitalization efforts remain underexplored. In addition to discussing the exploratory themes that arose from the study, our paper also proposes that these themes can inform future research in investigating the links between language revitalization and wellbeing.



Indigenous language, health, wellbeing, protective effects


Jenni, B., Anisman, A., McIvor, O. & Jacobs, P. (2017). An Exploration of the Effects of Mentor-Apprentice Programs on Mentors' and Apprentices' Wellbeing. International Journal of Indigenous Health, 12(2), 25-42.