Indigenous Knowledges: Resurgence, Implementation, and Collaboration in Social Work
JISD Volume 3, Issue 2, December 2014
Michael Anthony Hart
On July 8th to 11th, 2013 the Second International Indigenous Voices in Social Work Conference was held in Winnipeg, Canada with 346 registered participants from over 13 different territories in the world, 125 presentations, more than 70 volunteers, four organizing committees from the Faculty to international levels, 10 volunteer organizations/communities who provided site visits, and 19 individual, corporate, and government sponsors. The conference theme of Indigenous knowledges focused on three areas: resurgence, implementation, and collaboration. The presentations demonstrated the resurgence of Indigenous knowledges, how Indigenous knowledges have been implemented in social policies, social organizations, programs, practice, education, research, and social action, and the emerging collaboration between Indigenous Peoples, settlers, and social work.
A Proposed Master of Social Work Based in Indigenous Knowledges Program in Manitoba
Kimberly Hart, Gladys Rowe, Michael Anthony Hart, Yvonne Pompana, Deana Halonen, Gwen Cook, Gwen Gosek, Lawrence Deane & Kip Coggins
This article focuses on an innovative proposed Master of Social Work based in Indigenous Knowledges program developed by an Indigenous Caucus within the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba in Canada. This culturally based program intends to ground students with a solid foundation in traditional Indigenous teachings and perspectives, and contemporary Indigenous philosophies, knowledges, concepts, critiques, and ways of being that stem from these traditions. The proposed Master of Social Work based in Indigenous Knowledges was developed as a lived program that builds community and social supports, and reclaims and re-energizes a sense of self, responsibility, self-sufficiency, self-determination, and self-government. The program’s aim is to deconstruct oppressive and colonialist structures and reconstruct, in a contemporary sense, what has been previously destroyed. An overview of the visions, objectives, program design, foundational themes and description of courses is provided, along with reflections on what teachings its development has provided.
Developing First Nations Courts in Canada: Elders as Foundational to Indigenous Therapeutic Jurisprudence +
The purpose of this paper is threefold. First, it introduces the concept of Indigenous therapeutic jurisprudence + processes in Canada in which the “plus” represents the critical roles of Elders and spirituality in court proceedings. Second, it identifies and discusses diverse First Nations court models that exist in Canada, including those known as Healing courts, Gladue courts, Aboriginal and tribal courts and their work to address the over-representation of Aboriginal peoples sentenced to custody in Canada. Third, it considers that First Nations courts could benefit through the provision of equitable capital investment and operating funding supports that are currently provided to the alternative Downtown Community Courts and Drug Treatment Court models in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Take a Walk: A Critical Reflection on Data Gathering in Remote Island Communities
Vinnitta Patricia Mosby
This paper is an account of a critical refection on the process of data gathering in remote island communities by phone as an insider-outsider. The purpose of the study was to contribute to my PhD research question: What factors influence successful contemporary migration of Torres Strait Islanders who are moving to the Australian mainland? To achieve this I had to contact remote Island communities in the Torres Strait and evolve a process that was relevant, reliable, and appropriate to Torres Strait Islander people and their communities. Semi-structured phone surveys where completed with key informants for each Island community. The process involved walking beside the participants on a virtual tour, house-by-house, and street-by-street. The process uncovered hidden nuances that surround accessing and retrieving information. The findings are useful, relevant and transferable for advancing research methods for collecting information in remote areas.
Implementing Indigenous Ways of Knowing into Research: Insights into the Critical Role of Dreams as Catalysts for Knowledge Development
This research project expressed a Muskego Inninuwuk methodology as a foundation to explore experiences of individuals who possess both Indigenous and non-Indigenous ancestry in the development of their identities. The overall goal of this research was to create a space for individuals to express the impacts of systems, relationships and the ways in which people come to understand their overall wellbeing and connection to ancestors through stories in personal identity development. As an Indigenous researcher engaging with a Muskego Inninuwuk methodology meant that a foundational mechanism for knowledge development included inner knowing and dreaming; this article describes the process and experiences as a result of incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing. In this way, Indigenous research methodologies are catalysts toward healing, decolonization and resurgence.
Social Work in Schools in New Zealand: Indigenous Social Work Practice
Awhina Hollis-English & Rachael Selby
Social workers have found a new professional presence in New Zealand schools since 2001 following a pilot program in a small cluster of schools in 1999. Schools that are in low socio-economic communities have been selected to engage the services of in-school social workers. These schools have a high proportion of Maori and Pacific Island children and families in a country where Maori make up 15% of the population and Pacific Island families now make up 7% of the population. Maori social service providers are keen to employ Maori social workers so that there is congruence with their clients. These workers must then manage the multiple relationships they encounter in small rural communities in New Zealand. School social work enables helping professionals to work in health and counselling teams with families, contributing to positive Maori development and empowering families.
Women’s Narratives: Resistance to Oppression and the Empowerment of Women in Uzbekistan
The article presents women’s narratives to understand gendered aspects of socio-economic and political transformations in women’s lives in post-Soviet Central Asia. The author considers that narrative functions within a multi-disciplinary theory, research, and practice of livelihood, empowerment and conflict resolution. Given the colonial representations of women in the past and the storytelling ambiguity in misrepresenting women’s lives and locating them in marginal spaces in the narrative and society, the Soviet authorities claimed to end the seclusion of women ignoring women’s voices and social movements for equality and social change in the society. The article aims to understand gendered aspects of socio-economic and political transformations in women’s lives in post-Soviet Central Asia through women’s narratives. These narratives, based on oral history and autobiography rather than writings based on Soviet sources, demonstrate a complex picture of women’s struggles in their families and communities. Women describe their social, economic and environmental stresses and the ways they learn to live with social changes and empower themselves.
Aboriginal People 'Talking Back' to Policy in Rural Australia
Inara Walden, Brianna Dennis & Walgett Gamilaraay Aboriginal Community Working Party
How does a geographically remote Australian Aboriginal community ensure that culturally and locally important priorities are recognised in policy? This paper discusses a case study of Indigenous community engagement in policy making, revealing some of the challenges community leaders face and the strategies they implement in their struggle for a strong say and hand in designing appropriate policy responses to local problems.
The case study community is Walgett, a remote New South Wales community with a large Aboriginal population, distinguished in history for its part in the 1965 Freedom Ride which highlighted racial segregation and discrimination across outback Australia. Today Walgett ranks as one of Australia’s most disadvantaged communities (Vinson, 2007), and hence was chosen as one of 29 priority remote Aboriginal communities to be the focus of the Australian Government’s Remote Service Delivery commitment, part of the Closing the Gap agenda.
Whanau kopepe: A Culturally Appropriate and Family Focused Approach to Support for Young Māori (Indigenous) Parents
Felicity Jane Rachel Ware
Young indigenous parents resiliently raise children despite ill-founded stigmatisation. The problems arising from pregnancy while young, intertwine with culture and contribute to poor outcomes and hinder provision of appropriate support. The historical impacts of colonisation and urbanisation on family composition and intergenerational support and knowledge of childrearing, aid in the explanation of the current disadvantages associated with young indigenous parents. An exploration of Māori (indigenous to Aotearoa New Zealand) perspectives of procreation and concepts of whānau (family, to birth) and childrearing values provide a cultural understanding of childrearing. This paper proposes an approach to conducting research with young Māori parents that confronts the complex challenge of being Māori, being young and being a parent. Being able to understand the actual lived experiences, needs and aspirations of young Māori parents will be invaluable for informing policy, research, practice and services that enhance their health and wellbeing and that of their children.