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Musqueam Indian Reserve : a case study for community development purposes Kargbo, Marian Judith Tanner

Abstract

This year, the School of Social Work of the University of British Columbia initiated a fieldwork placement for a second year community organization student with the Indian Affairs Branch, Department of Citizenship and Immigration. The community directly concerned with the placement was the Musqueam Indian Reserve. This placement made it possible for the writer to made a study of this community. The community organization practitioner is very often faced with the problem of conducting community studies with no simple model which he can use. This has led to a variety of approaches, for example, studies whose focus has been on the various aspects of the community such as its ecology, its power structure, its demography, the interaction of the local people, and its behaviour pattern and belief systems. The weakness in the use of any one of these approaches exclusive of the others is that only one aspect of the community is studied, and this is often done as if the community studied existed independently of the larger society of which it is a part. Furthermore, the results gained from most of these type of studies cannot be applied profitably as a guide in studying a different community. This has been an analytic study, and the approach used has been based on a model suggested by Warren in his book The Community in America. His definition of the community as "that combination of social units and systems which perform the major social functions of locality-relevance" is used in this study, and the focus of analysis is the type of systematic relationship of the people and organizations in the local community and in the extra-community. This approach was chosen because it is assumed that it can be used in studying any type of community, regardless of its geographic location and size. It is hypothesized that the Musqueam community has problems, and that this method of social systems analysis can be used to indicate where the weaknesses lie in the community's horizontal pattern. The material on Musqueam's social systems which was gathered by the writer was organized under the five major functions of locality-relevance. This material was assembled from various sources: interviews with leaders and representatives of institutions and organizations which have connections with Musqueam, a socio-economic survey of the local community's adult population, attendance at meetings and conferences on Canadian Indians, and examining relevant records and documents of the Indian Affairs Branch. Only Musqueam's social systems which the writer felt have endured through time were selected and described. These were then analysed by making use of the four dimensions in which communities differ in structure and function. The communication process which, according to Warren, is one of the six master processes in which all social systems are constantly involved, was also used for analysis. The analysis by the four dimensions has shown that Musqueam has a very weak horizontal pattern. Analysis of the communication process has shown that lack of adequate communication between social systems in the community has contributed to misunderstanding and ignorance between social systems in both the intracommunity and in the extracommunity, thereby resulting in a weak horizontal pattern. The results of the use of both analytic concepts has indicated that the weakness in Musqueam's horizontal pattern is due mainly to the influence of the extracommunity which is in direct control of most of the intracommunity's social systems. This weakness also has implications for the process of community development which aims at strengthening a community's horizontal pattern. This study has been analytical, however, it has opened some avenues whereby it could be continued either with further analysis or with a diagnostic or clinical enquiry.

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