From Knowledge to Wisdom: Indigenous Women's Narratives of Doing Well with Career Decision Making


  • Alanaise GoodWill Simon Fraser University
  • Marla J. Buchanan University of British Columbia
  • William Borgen University of British Columbia
  • Deepak Mathew University of British Columbia
  • Lynn DuMerton University of British Columbia
  • Daniel Clegg University of British Columbia
  • Sarah Becker University of British Columbia
  • Matthew McDaniels University of British Columbia


Career Decision Making, Indigenous Women, narratives


Indigenous women in Canada are outperforming other Canadians in the labour market (DePratto, 2015).  However, we currently have limited understanding about how Indigenous women decide on their choice of career.  We sought to understand Indigenous women’s narratives of doing well in making career decisions.  Ten women volunteered to tell their stories of how they made career decisions that resulted in positive outcomes.  Using a narrative research design, in-depth interviews were recorded and narrative accounts were generated that illuminated the ways in which women in this study overcame life circumstances in their quest to establish a career. Verbatim transcriptions and individual narrative accounts were constructed.  The narratives were then analyzed using a thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006).  All participants confirmed the following five main themes: (1) focusing on a career direction, (2) pursuing further education and training, (3) overcoming and learning from adversity, (4) relational experiences that influenced career decisions and (5) connection to Aboriginal community as part of career decision-making.  Implications for future research, career theory development and education as well as career counselling practice are discussed.

part of career decision-making. Implications for future research, career theory development and education as well as career counselling practice are discussed

Author Biographies

Alanaise GoodWill, Simon Fraser University

Dr. Alanaise Goodwill is an Assistant Professor in Counselling Psychology at Simon Fraser University. She is conducting research on indigenous mental health and well-being.  

Marla J. Buchanan, University of British Columbia

Dr. Marla J. Buchanan is a professor in the Counselling Psychology Program at The University of British Columbia. Her interests include studies in traumatic stress and narrative research methods.

William Borgen, University of British Columbia

Dr. William Borgen is a Professor in Counselling Psychology with longstanding research in the field of career development.

Deepak Mathew, University of British Columbia

Doctoral students or  member of the research team.

Lynn DuMerton, University of British Columbia

Doctoral students or  member of the research team.

Daniel Clegg, University of British Columbia

Doctoral students or  member of the research team.

Sarah Becker, University of British Columbia

Doctoral students or  member of the research team.

Matthew McDaniels, University of British Columbia

Doctoral students or member of the research team.


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How to Cite

GoodWill, A. ., Buchanan, M. J. ., Borgen, W. ., Mathew, D. ., DuMerton, L. ., Clegg, D. ., Becker, S. ., & McDaniels, M. . (2019). From Knowledge to Wisdom: Indigenous Women’s Narratives of Doing Well with Career Decision Making. Canadian Journal of Career Development, 18(2), 35–46. Retrieved from