Program Information - Rationale & Objectives
With the growing urban Indigenous population and the gaps of services for rural Indigenous populations, there is a strong need for social workers to explore Indigenous forms of caring that are applicable to the unique circumstances of Indigenous clients and communities, in both rural and urban areas. More and more, Indigenous communities and social work agencies are revealing their frustrations with the absence of long-term, accessible, and Indigenous-centred educational programs. With that said, there is a need for Indigenous social workers to explore Indigenous forms of caring which are applicable to the unique circumstances of Indigenous clients and communities. Indigenous caring is rooted in traditional knowledge, values, social structures, and healing practices of First Nations Peoples.
As a university serving the largest Indigenous community in the country, the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba intends to be in the forefront of exploring and developing Indigenous knowledges and practices in relation to social work education. For the Faculty of Social Work, this means that we need to develop programs that are directly relevant to Indigenous peoples, communities, perspectives, and practices, such as the Master of Social Work based in Indigenous Knowledges Program.
It is important to note that the proposed program has the deepest respect for traditional Indigenous helping practices and healers, and the Elders who are well versed in these practices and related knowledges. As such, the Master of Social Work based in Indigenous Knowledges Program is being developed not to create traditional Indigenous healers or Elders, but is focused on developing social workers whose skills are rooted in Indigenous knowledges and worldviews.