An Aboriginal Approach to Social Work
Before I begin I would like to share an Aboriginal quote:
"The Circle has healing power. In the Circle, we are all equal. When in the Circle, no one is in front of you. No one is behind you. No one is above you. No one is below you. The Sacred Circle is designed to create unity. The Hoop of Life is also a circle. On this hoop there is a place for every species, every race, every tree and every plant. It is this completeness of Life that must be respected in order to bring about health on this planet." ~Dave Chief, Oglala Lakota~
The reason why I chose this quote was because I felt that it represents and symbolizes the key concepts and values of the Medicine Wheel in this chapter. An aboriginal Approach to social work emphasis on how it can inform, enrich, and enhance the generalist social work practice. Its goal is to offer a contribution to the helping professions involved in promoting health and wellness for individuals, families and communities. There are many different Aboriginal cultures which means that there is not just one approach to the Aboriginal helping process. The Strength Approach from chapter 10 that was discussed before and the Aboriginal Approach reflects on the helping principles that are most commonly used by the traditional cultures in the North American plains and prairies. This chapter indicates how an Aboriginal Approach incorporates historical facts about the social and psychological effects of colonization. Chapter 11 focuses on 2 important aspects. One is the importance of the Medicine Wheel which models and guides the Aboriginal Approach as one of its teachings and the second is the journey toward Minopimatasiwin (the good life) which is a goal that is pursued by all and is the highest level of goals of the helping process made by client and social worker. Chapter 11 also introduces key concepts and values that guide an Aboriginal Approach as well as describes the healing and helping process and the helping relationship using an Aboriginal Approach and at the end compares the Aboriginal Approach with conventional social work. Although there are an increasing number of Aboriginal social workers the majority of them still tend to be from the dominant North American cultures.
The Aboriginal Approach is culturally supportive in the sense that it avoids enforcing specific treatment and cultural values and beliefs on clients. Helping and healing occurs according to the needs and wishes of each individual client Ameliorative action takes place within the culture of the client and in the context of the clients own background. Clients are encouraged to use their capabilities, strengths and life experiences in order to reach their goals. Understanding Aboriginal History
We cannot change the past political and historical events that took place in the healing process but we can definitely learn from them. It is difficult for many people who have gone through colonization and alienation to deal with expressing their thoughts about their life experiences. But by studying the process of colonization and the policies and practices that took place we can better understand the effects of oppression on people. In order to work with Aboriginal people social workers need to have an understanding of the effects of colonization on the Aboriginal people. Michael hart provides examples of how Aboriginals were viewed and treated since colonization. He also talks about how the past attempted to assimilate and suppress the Aboriginal people and how it has affected their current lives today. I will emphasize on a few points that explains the experiences that have led to the devastation and destruction of the Aboriginal people's social institutions and internalized oppression. One of the first issues that led to the oppression of the Aboriginal people was the changes to their economic system. There was a time when the Aboriginals were...
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