Métis-Astute Social Work: Shining the light on some helpful practices

  • Cathy Richardson University of Montreal
Keywords: Métis, Social work, Families, Response-based, Identity

Abstract

Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation process highlighted the need for improvements in the child welfare system in regards to serving Indigenous families.  Structurally, Métis children are both unrecognized and over-represented in provincial child welfare systems across Canada. In addition, Métis people are disproportionately likely to experience health and social problems leading to social work involvement for reasons of perceived neglect or poverty.  As we move forward, it is crucial that social work practice attends to these complex issues and helps families construct life-solutions based on Métis values and aspirations. This article addresses social work practice with Métis families by exploring factors that contribute to Métis well-being and helpful social work approaches while also offering a critique of practices which further marginalize Métis families. This article is intended to inform social work with Métis families by offering an approach to helping which may be considered nurturing, supportive, empowering and non-colonizing.  There may be relevance also for social work with First Nations and Inuit communities although it is the differences that compel this article to address Métis-specific issues. This article also explores issues of Métis identification, identity, and social work practices which dignify, rather than further alienate Métis families.  In other words this article outlines what is referred to as Métis-astute practice.

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