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Social Work


Social work training programs have not been able to keep step with the needs of Indigenous people since the advent of the profession. As former agents of government assimilation, social workers now find themselves in difficult positions where they are unable to help Indigenous people, despite their best intentions. Indigenous Social Work Education has become a necessary response to the growing needs of Indigenous people, and increasing social problems in Canada. Furthermore, Indigenous people who practice Indigenous social work have become vital to the survival of Indigenous people and their communities. The teaching and practice of Indigenized, social work education has become a strong presence in the reclamation of indigenous identity. A decolonized peda- gogy such as the one presented in the case study of the Aboriginal Field of Study (AFS) at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) affirms indigenous ways of being, knowing, and doing and places control and ownership of helping practices firmly in the hands of Indigenous people. The case study outlines four critical elements of the AFS: Elder-in-Residence, Circle Pedagogy, Wholistic Evaluation and Culture Camp that are used to guide Master of Social Work (MSW) students on how to develop a Wholistic Healing Practice framework.