Animals in Indigenous Spiritualities: Implications for Critical Social Work

  • Melissa Marie Legge McMaster University
  • Margaret Robinson Dalhousie University
Keywords: Indigenous, spirituality, animals, social work


This article explores the roles of other-than-human (OTH) animals in the spiritualities of Indigenous Canadians, and the implications of these roles for anti-oppressive or decolonial social work practices. To respond to the needs of the people with whom they work, social workers must look beyond the Eurocentric roots of the profession and consider other ways of knowing and doing. Hart (2009) points out that spirituality is central to an Aboriginal approach to social work. Despite this, the implications of spirituality for social work have not been centred in scholarship. The study of OTH animals in social work is an emerging field, and we hope this paper will contribute to a broad and nuanced conversation about Indigenous spiritualities, animal relationships, and critical social work.


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