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Indigenous trauma and resilience: pathways to ‘bridging the river’ in social work education
Social Work Education  (IF),  Pub Date : 2021-11-04, DOI: 10.1080/02615479.2021.1998427
Faye Mishna, Jane Middelton-Moz, Rebecca Martell, Charmaine Williams, Samar Zuberi


The traumatic effects of colonization on generations of Indigenous peoples and communities are referred to as intergenerational trauma. Alongside intergenerational effects of trauma experienced by Indigenous peoples and cultures across the globe is the capacity for individual and collective resilience, whereby an individual has good life outcomes despite having been subjected to situations with a high risk of emotional and/or physical distress. In North America and globally there have been calls to action for social work to find pathways toward reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. The purpose of this paper is to share the conceptual foundations of an innovative Master of Social Work program, currently in its sixth year. The program was designed to bridge Indigenous worldviews and social work by: creating links in the curriculum between neuroscience research in Western treatment modalities and Indigenous/traditional healing practices throughout the globe; fostering communication among all age groups; developing respect, kindness, and communication across all races; uncovering resiliency in understanding intergenerational trauma; understanding attachment difficulties created through colonization and rebuilding support systems; and creating learning objectives that address wellness. The objective is to prepare social workers to work with individuals, families and communities across the globe affected by intergenerational trauma.