How do the Maori describe “identity” in terms of their indigenous community? – Essaylink

Overview

 

This module will provide you with an introduction to current issues related to the development of an Aboriginal social work research agenda in Canada. Research is regarded as an institutionalized activity within the domain of qualified, educated experts; however, according to Smith, an indigenous research agenda must be perceived as a community-based activity and approached within an indigenous/Aboriginal world view. Smith describes two pathways through which an indigenous/Aboriginal research agenda is being advanced.

 

These pathways are examined for their implications in the emergence of an Aboriginal social work research agenda and methodologies. The two articles you will examine in this module, “Social Work and the Medicine Wheel Framework” by Lyle Longclaws, and “An Annotated Bibliography on Traditional Medicine” by Dawn Martin Hill present you with examples to illustrate the pathways of Aboriginal community projects and indigenous research centres. Smith outlines how these pathways tend to intersect with each other, reflecting two distinct developments within an emerging indigenous research agenda.

 

Taiaiake Alfred offers his text, Peace, Power, Righteousness – An Indigenous Manifesto, as a call for a traditional culture of leadership within Aboriginal communities and condemns the current, dominant community leadership as based on the “most vulgar, European-style, power-wielders…..insisting that Aboriginal leadership must strive to embody traditional values” (pp. xvi). Alfred outlines the connection between leadership and the search for knowledge in his assertion that the challenge of Aboriginal Peoples is to lay the groundwork for a general understanding and reconstruction of social and governance institutions that embody traditional, indigenous cultural values. Based on this knowledge, Aboriginal Peoples and community leadership will be prepared to promote and defend the philosophical principles that lie at the core of self-determination. Alfred’s writings inspire Aboriginal learners to

…grasp and convey a knowledge situated in and respectful of the shared experiences of our peoples. This approach reflects the fact that what makes an individual indigenous is his or her situation within a community. In fact, it is impossible to understand an indigenous reality by focusing on individuals or discrete aspects of culture outside of a community context. However knowledgeable and rooted one may be, one cannot be truly indigenous without the support, inspiration, reprobation, and stress of a community as facts of life. Ideas transform when they make the journey from the mind of one person into the collective consciousness; and our peoples’ reality is communal. (pp. xvi, Alfred)
According to Smith, the framework of an emerging Aboriginal social work research agenda is structured by current academic and community-based initiatives; however, as stated by Alfred, the purpose of Aboriginal research must promote the dominance of traditional cultural values in all aspects of the Aboriginal community. With the help of these guiding principles, this module will encourage you to examine the emergence of Aboriginal research methodologies.
Required Readings
You will be prompted to complete the following readings as you work through this module:
In your Smith text, Decolonizing Methodologies:

Chapter 7: Articulating an Indigenous Research Agenda
Other required readings:

“Social Work and the Medicine Wheel Framework” by L. Longclaws
“Annotated Bibliography on Traditional Medicine” by Martin Hill (starts on page 35 of document)
Learning Outcomes
When you have successfully completed this module, you will be able to do the following:

Demonstrate the ability to identify value-based assumptions, ethical challenges, and political dilemmas encountered by Aboriginal social workers and researchers in gathering, verifying, validating, and utilizing knowledge, and its specific impact on Aboriginal Peoples in Canada; and

Demonstrate understanding, knowledge, and skill in social work practices, utilize “best practices” in social research, and further the decolonization of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.

Take time now to read Chapter 7, “Articulating an Indigenous Research Agenda” in the text by Smith.
In this section, you will be exploring Smith’s two pathways toward an indigenous research agenda. Tribal, or community-based research and indigenous research within universities are examined for their emerging framework in a research agenda. While the identification and validation of a cultural knowledge base, skills, and competencies are prerequisites for the development of indigenous methodologies, its foundation is fundamental in the development of education and training programs.

Significantly, the role of the indigenous research as “insider/outsider research” will challenge current notions of neutrality and objectivity related to positivism and Western research methodologies. Smith shares research experiences with an indigenous agenda, and reminds indigenous researchers that the transformation of institutional research frameworks is as significant as conducting the actual research project.
Learning Activity 8.1

To ensure that you have understood the readings, write out your own answers to the following questions. These notes will help to prepare you for the assignments and exam. This work is an essential element of your course; by actively engaging with the course material you will deepen your understanding of the concepts discussed.
Using the chart provided, name and briefly describe the two pathways through which an indigenous research agenda is being advanced

Pathway: Pathway:
Description: Description:

Define “community” in relation to a “cultural identity” according to Taiaiake Alfred.

Note: Taiaiake Alfred is referred to as “Gerald” in the text by Smith, as his book Heeding the Voices of Our Ancestors: Kahnawake Mohawk Politics and the Rise of Native Nationalism (1995) was authored under the name Gerald Alfred. Taiaiake is Gerald Alfred’s Mohawk name.

How do the Maori describe “identity” in terms of their indigenous community?

Smith states that “defining community research is as complex as defining community”. Using the chart provided, name and briefly describe the two approaches to community research that strive to make a positive difference in the conditions of lives of the people.

Approach: Approach:
Description: Description:
Smith describes the process of research—that is, the methodology, and method—as more important than the research outcome. Discuss this statement in relation to “cultural identity,” “indigenous community,” and “community-action research.”
Discuss the process of community consultation, collective meetings, open debate, and shared decision making as crucial aspects of tribal research practices.

or

Describe how the methods of community consultation, collective meetings, open debate, shared decision making relate to the values and traditions of Aboriginal Peoples.
List the three types of specialized research organizations that develop within the university system.

Briefly describe the development and goals of the Research Unit for Maori Education with the Education Department at the University of Auckland in 1988.

Summarize, in your own words, the developments of the Research Unit for Maori Education between 1989 and 1996.

Briefly describe the institutional process in gaining approval for the International Research Institute for Maori and Indigenous Education in 1996.

Smith gives two significant reasons for establishing an indigenous research centre at an international level. Briefly discuss these reasons.
Identify and summarize the central issues currently related to training indigenous researchers.
One of the central ideas in this text that is related to the development of indigenous research methodologies is the concept of “insider/outsider research.” Provide your definition of this concept and give an example to illustrate your understanding of it.

Indigenous research requires indigenous researchers to work across boundaries, promote the reconciliation of an indigenous world view, and assist in the process of thinking through the complexities of indigenous research. Describe the major concerns of “insider/outsider research” presented by Smith.

ake time now to read “Social Work and the Medicine Wheel Framework” by L. Longclaws.
In this section, you will be exploring the medicine wheel framework as a cultural model that is comparable to the ecological model in social work practice. Both models will be examined in terms of their central principles about people and environments to gain an understanding of their relationship, connectedness, and reciprocity. This article will encourage you to explore the similarities of social work interventions, Aboriginal healing principles, and the significance of relationships to Aboriginal Peoples. Longclaws describes the significance of extended family relations as central to Aboriginal healing practices, or Aboriginal social work interventions, and encourages extended family involvement as a central part of Aboriginal social work practice. Longclaws further advocates that “arms length” treatment and approaches will discourage voluntary requests for assistance from most Aboriginal Peoples. The significance of the medicine wheel framework and underlying principles of relationships offer an important tool to the development of Aboriginal social work research methodologies.

Learning Activity 8.2
To ensure that you have understood the readings, write out your own answers to the following questions. These notes will help to prepare you for the assignments and exam. This work is an essential element of your course; by actively engaging with the course material you will deepen your understanding of the concepts discussed.
Briefly summarize the central idea of the ecological approach to social work practice. Provide an example to illustrate your understanding of the concept.
Summarize the four directions of the Aboriginal world view as outlined in the Anishinabe medicine wheel, according to Longclaws. Use a circle to illustrate your summary. Do you have an additional understanding of Aboriginal teachings to include here?
List and summarize the Anishinabe healing principles, according to Longclaws.

Longclaws advocates for the involvement of the extended family in social work practice. Briefly describe and provide an example of how extended family can be involved in Aboriginal social work research methodologies.

Take time now to read the”Annotated Bibliography on Traditional Medicine” by Martin Hill (starts on page 35 of document).
In this section, you will be reviewing a compilation of academic journal articles and books that examine a variety of aspects of traditional medicine and healing practices through case studies and research projects. This bibliography project is an example of Aboriginal research within a university research department, funded by the National Aboriginal Health Organization, and is offered to you as an example of research methodology and a source of information for Aboriginal social work practitioners and researchers.
Learning Activity 8.3
To ensure that you have understood the readings, write out your own answers to the following questions. These notes will help to prepare you for the assignments and exam. This work is an essential element of your course; by actively engaging with the course material you will deepen your understanding of the concepts discussed.
Drawing on the library research skills you gained in Module Three, describe the process you would follow to obtain the dissertation by Whelshula, Martina Marie, “Healing through Decolonization: A Study in the Deconstruction of the Western Paradigm and the Process of Retribalizing among Native Americans” (2000).
Choose one article from the reading for this section and relate this topic to four of the nine objectives of this course.

 

3. Discuss the significance of the process of community consultation, collective meetings, open debate, and shared decision making as crucial aspects of tribal research practices and Taiaiake Alfred’s claim that Aboriginal community leadership requires the foundation of traditional, cultural values. How does this process relate to the development of an Aboriginal social work research agenda?

 

 

Terminology Exercise

 

Generally, textbooks and instruction manuals provide a “Glossary of Terms,” or list of “Key Terms” at the end of each chapter, or as an appendix. You, however, will be encouraged to give particular attention to theory, theoretical concepts, key terms, and research terminology by researching definitions for yourself throughout this course.

It is critical for you to acquire a good understanding of scientific research terminology for three reasons.

The first is to acquire knowledge and skills in social work research as a preliminary step in the problem-solving process of social work practice. The second is to demonstrate an understanding of the historical impacts of colonization through Western research. And, the third is to

demonstrate an understanding and the basic skills in social work research to further the decolonization of the Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. Terminology is essential in social work practice and social work research. You will be encouraged to assemble an extensive Glossary of Terms as you proceed in this course.

Continue to add to your Glossary of Terms section by defining the following key terms and basic concepts for Western knowledge and social research methods. Use your textbook, dictionary, or online resources (e.g., www.m-w.com, or resources listed in Chapter 3 “Demystifying the Search for Information” in your text by Salahu-Din) to obtain a brief definition of each.

community research tribal research
insider/outsider research ecological model of social work
Anishinabe medicine wheel teachings extended family
traditional medicine

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