This research would not have been possible without the guidance of Niitsitap’i Elders and Knowledge Holders. I want to especially thank Dan Fox, who supervises the Blackfoot Language & Culture program for foster parents and young people in care, Tom Chief Calf, the Indigenous Manager at Children’s Services in Lethbridge, and Elder Charlie Fox for teaching me about Ai’aoksiikowaata and providing his blessing to use this word for the project. I also need to thank Melissa Shouting, who has encouraged me to take on this difficult subject and has been providing guidance along this journey.

This research is being supported by grants from the University of Lethbridge and Making the Shift: Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab. I gratefully appreciate additional support from community partners like the Calgary Homeless Foundation and the Family Centre in Lethbridge.

I also want to thank every person who agreed to participate in this research. I am now responsible for ensuring your knowledge and experiences are used for the benefit of others.

Thank you,

Janice Victor, Ph.D.