Indigenous Social and Community Work Practitioners in 2008 and Beyond
In 2008, the aim of social work education and training, service delivery and research continues to follow a pathway largely determined by mainstream imperatives and perceptions of how best to meet the needs of disadvantaged indigenous peoples. The central focus as has been espoused for several years by many indigenous practitioners, researchers, authors and critics alike is the development of a unique community and social work practice framework derived from the ways of old and defined by the innovation of emerging indigenous academics and practitioners. The most powerful motivator is the capacity of inspirational thinkers to design a distinctive frame of reference that captures the eloquence of traditional thinking, incorporates innovative interpretation and reinvents a framework that sets indigenous social and community work practice within a contemporary context. This paper outlines the development of an indigenous organisaton that demonstrates a uniquely indigenous multi-dimensional integration of social and community work education and training, social service delivery and research. The framework draws on the aspirations for the project and discusses the potential benefits and highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the integration of the three distinctively diverse but interconnected strands. The final analysis of the project will engage the perspective of how effective the organisation can be to diverse communities where indigenous peoples seek alternatives to social and community work practice in their own countries of origin. The development and operation of the organisation provides an innovative approach for Indigenous nations to design similar projects to meet the burgeoning needs of their own peoples in their homelands.
Keywords: Indigenous People, Social and Community Work Practice, Indigenous Researchers, Indigenous Academics, Traditional Thinkin, Diverse Communities
Tangata Whenua Relationships Facilitator, Treaty of Waitangi Unit: CEO Advisory Unit, Manukau City Council