chapter
10 Pages

Introduction

ByMel Gray, John Coates, Michael Yellow Bird

Social work has been sought out or invited into many countries and cultures in efforts to develop ways to address personal and social problems, however, when social workers participated in the mass forced removal of Indigenous children from their communities, Indigenous Peoples knew quite well the culturally destructive side of the profession. The profession has made great efforts to develop effective methodologies that can be of benefit to First Nations or Indigenous Peoples, and minority populations, but despite holding significant roles in providing social services to people from different cultures and societies, social work has been slow to accept non-Western and Indigenous world views, local knowledge and traditional forms of helping and healing. As a consequence, social work education and practice, in regard to non-Western cultures, has struggled to develop and deliver services in an effective, acceptable and culturally appropriate manner. Often such efforts have been embedded in dominant Western paradigms and the results have proved inadequate in meeting the needs of diverse groups. A review of the literature in this area reveals a great deal of negativity around the world concerning social work’s track record in working across cultures and with Indigenous and First Nations Peoples (see, for example, Hart 2002; Ling 2003; Nagpaul 1972, 1993; Nimmagadda and Cowger 1999; Tsang and Yan 2001; Yip 2004).