Location

Portland State University

Start Date

7-5-2019 11:00 AM

End Date

7-5-2019 1:00 PM

Abstract

The history of the American social work profession and its interactions with Indigenous people is intimately connected to colonial imperialism. Social workers have been complicit and outright participatory in various forms of settler state violence, especially in the form of forced cultural assimilation through the Indian Adoption Project and Indian Residential schools. While these institutions are now closed, and federal law ostensibly prevents such harms from recurring, Indigenous people are often rightfully suspect of social workers and the work they do.

How can non-Indigenous people approach the profession of social work through a decolonizing lens? How can we center Indigenous voices and experiences while decentering our own? How can we do this work in a way that respects the generational trauma that Indigenous people have suffered at the hands of social workers? What Indigenous created tools can we use in this work?

In this poster presentation, I will survey the history of interactions between the profession of social work in the United States and Indigenous peoples. I will survey Indigenous created practical methods for working in Indigenous communities in ways that center specifically Indigenous forms of community, relationship, and mental health. While exploring these questions, I will center Indigenous scholarship to unpack the history of Indigenous-social work interactions and the ways that those interactions perpetuated state violence.

Lastly, I will interrogate future directions for social workers trying to build a culturally responsive practice for working with Indigenous clients, and suggest that social workers who wish to avoid perpetuating colonial imperialism have a moral imperative to use culturally responsive methods.

Share

COinS
 
May 7th, 11:00 AM May 7th, 1:00 PM

Culturally Responsive Social Work Methods for Use with Indigenous Peoples

Portland State University

The history of the American social work profession and its interactions with Indigenous people is intimately connected to colonial imperialism. Social workers have been complicit and outright participatory in various forms of settler state violence, especially in the form of forced cultural assimilation through the Indian Adoption Project and Indian Residential schools. While these institutions are now closed, and federal law ostensibly prevents such harms from recurring, Indigenous people are often rightfully suspect of social workers and the work they do.

How can non-Indigenous people approach the profession of social work through a decolonizing lens? How can we center Indigenous voices and experiences while decentering our own? How can we do this work in a way that respects the generational trauma that Indigenous people have suffered at the hands of social workers? What Indigenous created tools can we use in this work?

In this poster presentation, I will survey the history of interactions between the profession of social work in the United States and Indigenous peoples. I will survey Indigenous created practical methods for working in Indigenous communities in ways that center specifically Indigenous forms of community, relationship, and mental health. While exploring these questions, I will center Indigenous scholarship to unpack the history of Indigenous-social work interactions and the ways that those interactions perpetuated state violence.

Lastly, I will interrogate future directions for social workers trying to build a culturally responsive practice for working with Indigenous clients, and suggest that social workers who wish to avoid perpetuating colonial imperialism have a moral imperative to use culturally responsive methods.