On March 15th, the School of Social Work became the first to pass a resolution to recognize Aboriginal traditional knowledge and its contributions to social work education, research and practice in Canada.
In partnership with the Kinistòtàdimin Advisory Circle, The School is committed to making every effort to ensure that this recognition translates into concrete action aimed at giving a much greater place to Indigenous traditional knowledge in the programs under its responsibility and in the research conducted by its members.
Indigenous knowledge is considered subordinate to and is often invalidated by Western knowledge which holds a dominant position in academia. Its contribution to social work education and research has been completely ignored or severely neglected by social work programs in Canada. This resolution demonstrates that the School of Social Work is aware of this situation and is strongly committed to working to change it.
For the School of Social Work, this change in epistemic perspective requires the progressive and sustained integration of Indigenous traditional knowledges into research, teaching, training and social work intervention. This integration will contribute to teaching that is better adapted to the needs and realities of Indigenous peoples and to the production of knowledge that is more consistent with their epistemologies and approaches.
Indigenous and non-Indigenous students will benefit from a richer education, drawing on diverse and complementary sources of knowledge. The integration of Indigenous traditional knowledge in the programs and operations of the School of Social Work, will allow students to access knowledge that has been produced, preserved and shared by Indigenous knowledge keepers for centuries, enriching their understanding of the complex world around them.
The School of Social Work at the University of Ottawa declares that Indigenous traditional knowledges holds equal value and adds to Western knowledge.