Social Work Practice with Canadians of Aboriginal Background

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Critical Analysis

Social Work Practice with Canadians of Aboriginal Background: Guidelines for Respectful Social Work
Brad McKenzie & Vern Morrissette
University of Manitoba & Red River College

Professor: Jason Albert
Class: ISW200
Student: Donna-Lee Mitchell


The article that I choose for discussion, Social Work Practice with Canadians of

Aboriginal Background was an insightful and enlightening piece of literature. Brad

McKenzie and Vern Morrissette opened the article up with background history on

Aboriginal people. I believe this was to help the reader better understand Native peoples

dynamics in today’s society and how history has impacted their lives. The organized

sections of the article show four different frameworks: contextual information, general

frameworks for social work practices with Aboriginal people, relationship of

empowerment and healing and lastly, implications for practice showing examples of the

cultural model, are all excellent learning tools. These tools are important for social

workers to better understand the growing Aboriginal population. It is vital for society to

understand that even though Aboriginal people are viewed as one group they have many

different tribes, who have different cultures, languages and traditions. The article

highlights this fact and shows stats on the different tribes living on and off the reserve.

I really liked the fact that McKenzie and Morrissette point out how Canada is considered

the best country to live, but still has the Native problem.

The Federal Statistics Canada show these stats clarifying McKenzie and Morrissette’s

points: Husband﷓wife families accounted for 70% of all Indian families, the lowest

proportion of any province or territory, six percentage points below average and fully 21

percentage points below the proportion of non﷓Indian husband﷓wife families in Sask.

Just over one﷓quarter of Indian families were female lone parent families, more than three

times the non﷓Indian proportion of such families. The situation was even more

pronounced off﷓reserve, where the husband﷓wife/female lone﷓parent proportions were 63

versus 34 %. The proportion of Indians living in lone﷓parent families were larger than

among others, 26% versus 7%, a ratio of almost 4:1. This statistic points out a major

family status difference; proportionally more Indians were members of single﷓parent

families. There were also proportionally more single persons, individuals who were

separated, widowed or divorced, and persons living common﷓law among Indians than

among other residents. More Indians living off﷓reserve were separated, widowed,

divorced or living common﷓law than among the on﷓reserve population. Saskatchewan

on﷓reserve women had higher than average fertility in comparison with women

on﷓reserve throughout Canada. Off﷓reserve Sask. registered women had the highest

average fertility rate in Canada. The rate of births outside marriage for Indian women

was 69% as opposed to 19% of non﷓Indians. Husband﷓wife families and female single

parents had more children than the average for Sask., especially if they lived on the

reserve. The number of children in off﷓reserve families between on﷓reserve and reference

population totals.


The “World View”, is a justified concept aimed at helping isolated and segregated groups

that have been traumatized by European contact. A basic concept that can adapt

ideologies on understanding values, traditions and cultures can help social workers better

understand people that are distinct and different from societies norms. It is unfortunate

that society has adapted a one way thinking that the European traditions are the normal

way of living and that...
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