UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Debwe : responding to social injuries Czyzewski, Karina


Informed by narrative inquiry and storywork, this qualitative research analyzes the extent to which non-Indigenous frontline workers are engaging with and responding to colonial history. The research aimed to gather and reflect on stories non-Indigenous service providers tell about their practice with Indigenous substance users. Within such stories, do practitioners speak of their role, if any, with regard to historically-determined inequities? Do they engage in hopeful exchanges? Five non-Indigenous practitioners working with Indigenous service users with substance use issues participated in the research. The analysis of the five in-depth interviews was informed by the author’s own mental health and addictions education and practice training, relevant Indigenous and mainstream research, literature, teachings and stories. This thesis contributes to understanding the role of practitioners in response to problematic substance use and social injuries in Canada. Findings suggests that while some social workers are keenly aware of colonial history, ongoing colonial violence and their relevance to work with Indigenous service users, they struggle with how to operationalize that knowledge. In terms of implications for social work, findings highlight ways in which the work of participants is ‘responsive to history,’ responsive to colonial complicity, and suggest considerations and concerns that require further attention. The study contributes to a fuller understanding of the constituents of decolonizing practice—history, cultural humility, etc.—as viewed by non-Indigenous practitioners.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada