We offer a one-year full-time and two-year part-time Master of Social Work: Indigenous Field of Study. Our part-time programs are offered in partnership with community-based First Nation institutions: First Nation Technical Institute and Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute.
This field is available only to applicants with a Bachelor of Social Work; for this reason, it is termed an advanced standing program.
Students will develop an understanding of the Indigenous wholistic healing approach and the application of this knowledge within diverse and generalist practice contexts. The sequence of courses will enable students to develop an understanding of the interrelated and intergenerational impacts of Canadian policies with respect to Indigenous peoples and the effects of colonization. Colonization has impacts on individuals, families, communities, on policies regarding Indigenous peoples, on their culture and identity, on their capacity to engage in the Canadian free-market economy and on their capacity to live within their cultural traditions within Canadian society.
Each element of practice and intervention with Indigenous populations is influenced by this history and value system. Engaging the consequences of this dynamic and creating a more empowering type of reality for Indigenous peoples requires social workers to fully comprehend this body of knowledge. Courses have been sequenced to guide students in developing a critical analysis of Indigenous experiences and to develop practice skills that will help undo some of this legacy.
The program will commence with a cultural camp where students will be fully immersed in Indigenous wholistic healing practices. The circle process, which will be the primary pedagogical tool, will achieve several goals in addition to the transmission of knowledge. The circle is a ceremony and an approach to decision-making, to consensus building, to healing and sharing of life. As students experience the circle day-after-day they will be learning a worldview, a healing approach, a relationship building process, and an embodiment of the most powerful traditional Indigenous teachings, which is “we are all one with all of the elements of Creation.”
Students in the full-time advanced standing option are required to complete eight courses plus one placement that extends over two terms. The part-time program requirements are identical to the full-time advanced standing option; however, students complete the program over six terms (two years).
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