Uncovering the helping philosophies of Indigenous peoples
It is well known that Indigenous peoples face far more social challenges than does the general population. But while a great deal of social work research has been conducted on these social challenges, there is little awareness of traditional Indigenous helping perspectives and practices. These perspectives and practices have been pushed to the periphery of society.
Dr. Michael Hart, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Knowledges and Social Work, is working with Indigenous peoples to uncover aspects of their cultural helping philosophies and relating them to social work. His aim is to develop social work theories and practices relevant to and supportive of Indigenous peoples.
Hart is connecting with and learning from Indigenous elders and traditional-based Indigenous helpers to understand their helping philosophies and practices. His goal is to explore how these philosophies and practices can support the development of an Indigenous-based social work.
Hart is also looking at the knowledge helping practices of people from different Indigenous nations to see how they may be interrelated for broader relevancy. In addition, he is identifying Indigenous knowledge that is related to research and implementing this knowledge in his projects.
Hart’s research will lead to new culturally safe and relevant interventions in social work. It will also identify how the implementation of Indigenous knowledge of helping practices in social work could provide a way to overcome colonialism and support self-determination.