The goal of “developing stronger connections with Indigenous social workers and communities to better support their issues and pursue shared advocacy goals” was identified by the CASW Federation as a priority in the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan.
Consequently, in October 2017, the CASW Board made the decision to emphasize Reconciliation as a priority with the intention of developing an action plan to pursue reconciliation and promote understanding. The first meeting of the Board on this topic alone took place November 21, 2017, with many possible avenues to explore. Thank you for your patience while this action plan is elaborated; CASW will communicate to the full membership once concrete plans are underway.
Below, find links to CASW's previous statements, letters, and other publications related to CASW's advocacy for reconciliation and rights and equity for Indigenous people and communities over the past number of years. These positions have been the backbone of many of our sustained advocacy efforts on Parliament Hill and are listed in chronological order. Following this list are a number of provincial and national resources from other organizations.
This list is by no means complete and will remain in progress as we gather materials - please let us know at email@example.com if there are any resources that should be considered for inclusion.
"This colonial mindset supported a vast array of actions that continue to have a negative impact on individual Aboriginal People and their communities across the country.Today we acknowledge that social workers were participants in activities that negatively impacted our Aboriginal citizens. Today we express deep regret for those actions."
“Given that the most recent information on ‘children in care’ indicates that between 30% to 40% are Aboriginal, CASW believes the time has come for the federal government to put an end to jurisdictional arguments by creating a national independent advocate’s office charged with realizing the rights of all children in Canada”
“In 2010 the Government of Canada made the long awaited and much heralded step of endorsing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Less than two years later, the Harper Government is taking steps backwards rather than forward in meeting its international obligations.”
"CASW supports the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) in its appeal to the Committee to request a visit and come to Canada to conduct the inquiry as soon as possible."
"We call upon all Canadian citizens to join with Indigenous peoples in advocating for laws, policies and practices that end colonialism and restore right relationships among all Canadians, no matter their National origins."
“Social work is dedicated to promoting the individual and collective wellbeing of all peoples and to the advancement of social justice. We are aware of the colonial legacy that impacts the physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of Indigenous Peoples and of the historical contribution of social work to this legacy. We call upon all Canadian citizens to join with Indigenous peoples in advocating for laws, policies and practices that end colonialism and restore right relationships among all Canadians, no matter their National origins.”
"Social workers in Canada are deeply aware of the structural racism that perpetuates the continued deepening of inequality Aboriginal peoples experience relative to that of any other population in Canada. For over two decades, CASW has asked successive federal governments to put in place a national independent Advocate or Commissioner charged with making sure that in Canada, our children are put first and their rights are protected. We believe that this national Advocate could make a difference for all children in Canada and particularly Aboriginal children who are the most disadvantaged."
“CASW pledges support to Aboriginal communities and organizations in implementing all recommendations.”
“Furthermore, in choosing to heed the calls for a repeal by childrens’ and human right’s activists alike, the Federal Government simultaneously acts on one of the Recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Report. CASW vocally and adamantly supports the swift implementation of all 94 of the Report’s Calls to Action, and is encouraged that the Federal Government has begun with such an important change.”
Letter to the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs
CASW has stood in solidarity with the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada (FNCFCSC) and Assembly of First Nations (AFN) who, for nearly a decade, have fought a legal battle with the Government of Canada to have the voices of Aboriginal children and their families heard by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT).
Anticipating Action: CASW Welcomes Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
“This inquiry must lead to a comprehensive strategy that lays out clear and measurable steps. While it is deeply important to understand the problem, the government must take ownership over implementing the solution as well” states CASW President Morel Caissie. "
“Beyond addressing this ruling’s specific concerns by implementing new funding models and providing culturally appropriate services, CASW hopes that this decision will more broadly mark a new era in Canada. CASW urges the federal government to act immediately on all 94 Calls to Action advanced in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) final report.”
Open Letter to the Honourable Dr. Jane Philpott
"CASW unequivocally supports the position of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada’s (FNCFCSC) in asking for your immediate action, in collaboration with Minister Bennett, in costing out all areas of inequity – health, social, educational, economic – facing Indigenous children and their communities. This is the first step in producing a viable and comprehensive plan with targeted investments to eliminate discrimination."
Across Canada, the profession of social work is Bringing Change to Life. In front-line, community-building, policy, advocacy, and research roles, social workers are social justice professionals: outspoken advocates for the people and communities we serve, and champions for positive change.
CASW Continuing Education
Indigenous Perspectives & Social Work Series (2 part series)
British Columbia Association of Social Workers:
“BCASW commits to engaging and consulting with Indigenous peoples and communities on the process”
“As part of our commitment to social justice, we all have a responsibility to be part of the reconciliation process. This will not be an easy process, nor will it happen overnight. It will require our commitment and active participation over the coming years to move forward towards a respectful and collaborative relationship with First Nations communities. BCASW is committed to supporting its members through this process, and providing tools and resources to help social workers take concrete steps towards reconciliation.”
British Columbia Ministry of Child and Family Development:
First Nations Health Authority:
Alberta College of Social Workers:
2013: Indigenous Social Work Practice and Social Work Competence - Declaration of Guiding Responsibilities for Indigenous Social Work Practices
Manitoba College of Social Workers
“The College declares a commitment to reconciliation by taking steps to implement the Calls to Action outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada specific to Social Workers through the promotion of education related to the history and culture of indigenous peoples.”
National Organizations and Statements (Canada)
The First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada (the Caring Society) was developed at a national meeting of First Nations child and family service agencies (FNCFSA), held at the Squamish First Nation in 1998. Meeting delegates agreed that a national non-profit organization was required to provide research, policy, professional development and networking support to support FNCFSA in caring for First Nations children, youth and families. An interim board was elected and the plan was approved at a second national meeting held at Kingsclear First Nation.
Created to preserve the memory of Canada's residential school system and legacy.
Born from the vision of Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, Gwawaenuk Elder, Reconciliation Canada is leading the way in engaging Canadians in dialogue and transformative experiences that revitalize the relationships among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians. Our model for reconciliation engages people in open and honest conversation to understand our diverse histories and experiences. We actively engage multi-faith and multi-cultural communities to explore the meaning of reconciliation. Together, we are charting a New Way Forward.
Reconciliation Canada has developped Community Action Toolkits, which are intended to provide you with some guidelines and ideas on how to start the reconciliation conversation: www.reconciliationcanada.ca/resources/toolkits/
“Transforming our colonial reality must be a responsibility shared by all Canadians. As beginning steps in embracing this shared responsibility, the members of the Board of Directors, of the Canadian Association for Social Work Education- Association canadienne pour la formation en travail social herby announces the Statement of Complicity and a Commitment to Change.”
Further Reading and Resources
CASW Continuing Education
Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada
Truth and Reconciliation Resources
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba has created an extensive selection of resources for students, teachers, and the general public. It includes books (with summaries and links), teaching resources, online toolkits, policy documents and legislation all organized by audience.
Social Policy Forum Cultural Safety Resources
The Federation has also shared a collection of resources prepared by Jennifer Charlesworth and Wedlidi Speck for the 2018 Social Policy Forum that took place earlier this year. It includes a series of posters that illustrate key cultural safety concepts as well as recommended articles, books, and TED talks related to issues of cultural awareness, implicit bias, microaggressions, and language.
Beyond 94: Truth and Reconciliation Canada
A new national, interactive website will now monitor the progress of one of Canada's most important tools for change — the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 Calls to Action.
ReconciliACTION: The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund
Do you have a ReconciliACTION idea that you need support to get going? The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund is always looking for great grassroots, community-based ReconciliACTION projects to fund. Projects funded in our ReconciliACTION grant program typically range between $5,000 - $10,000.
The Reconciliation Manifesto – Arthur Manuel
“For Manuel, this leads to the third element of colonization, oppression, which is especially cunning considering the Canadian system results in “our poverty and misery [being] administered by our own people.”
Wicihitowin: Aboriginal Social Work in Canada
"Wícihitowin is the first Canadian social work book written by First Nations, Inuit and Métis authors who are educators at schools of social work across Canada. The book begins by presenting foundational theoretical perspectives that develop an understanding of the history of colonization and theories of decolonization and Indigenist social work."
Strong Helpers' Teachings: The Value of Indigenous Knowledges in the Helping Professions
"Strong Helpers’ Teachings skillfully illustrates the importance of Indigenous knowledges for students, practitioners, and scholars in the human services. Making space for the voices of many Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars, practitioners, and service users, Cyndy Baskin’s text models possible pathways towards relationship building and allyship."It’s Our Time AFN Education Tool Kit
It’s Our Time AFN Education Tool Kit by Assembly of First Nations
This course material is only available in the iTunes U app on iPhone or iPad.
Indigenous Reconciliation Group: Resources
The IRG is a national Indigenous company with a vision to support the capacity for understanding and relationship between Canadians and Indigenous peoples, and to support the leaders and allies and change makers in reconciliation.
Indian Horse and #Next150
Richard Wagamese’s book, Indian Horse, follows the story of young man sent to residential school in Northern Ontario:
"With compassion and insight, author Richard Wagamese traces through his fictional characters the decline of a culture and a cultural way. For Saul, taken forcibly from the land and his family when he's sent to residential school, salvation comes for a while through his incredible gifts as a hockey player. But in the harsh realities of 1960s Canada, he battles obdurate racism and the spirit-destroying effects of cultural alienation and displacement."
The book has recently been released as a movie, and is part of the #Next150 Challenge: a year-long series of events and opportunities that is about "setting a different tone in 2018 than what we've seen in the first 150 years of our country" and involves many different opportunities to discover new books, music, movies, art and even make connections in your own community.