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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26156

Title: What are you in the dark? The Transformatiive Powers of Manitouminasuc upon the Identities of Anishinabeg in the Ontario Child Welfare System
Authors: Cameron, Rose Ella
Advisor: Neysmith, Sheila
Department: Social Work
Keywords: Aboriginal Identity
Child Welfare
Social Change
Social Policy
Personal Development
Issue Date: 15-Feb-2011
Abstract: The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore, describe and examine how the child welfare experience affects the personal and social identities of Anishinabe participants. Contextual realities, specifically the cultural and child welfare contexts, and how participants situate themselves in those realities, are explored. A Critical Ekweism conceptual framework is used to inform the design of the study and analyze the unique experiences of participants. The framework seeks to respect and understand the unique historical backgrounds and perspectives of participants as they critically evaluate their contexts as knowers and experts of their own experiences. While participants collectively identified existing dilemmas and practices, they also decided to actively think of ways to re-address and to positively transform these dilemmas and practices. Methods of inquiry included the Aboriginal Circle paradigm that is interwoven with Phenomenological procedures. The Aboriginal Medicine Wheel was used as an organizational tool to illustrate and explain study findings, and Phenomenological procedures were used to explore the meanings participants append to their experiences. Both sharing circles and individual interviews were used to collect data from twenty-seven participants who were involved in the child welfare system at the time of the study. Some were living in Northern Ontario, others in a large city. Data were transcribed and Grounded Theory coding procedures used to analyze the data and identify themes. Four main themes emerged: Place of Understanding’, ‘Place of Disconnection’, ‘Place of Identification,’ and ‘Place of Reconnection’ to represent the sacred knowledge-making spaces where participants through the Reality Circle make sense of their contexts. The meanings that underpin each of these sacred spaces are discussed. An analysis of the meanings of these four sacred spaces further describes how participants’ personal and social identities are juxtaposed in their cultural and child welfare contexts. Of interest is how participants’ child welfare experiences affect their cultural and parenting identities. Child welfare practices are interpreted in terms of parent, social work and First Nations Community responsibilities. A diagram depicting these responsibilities is presented as the ‘Anishinabe Identity Circle.’ The study is significant for the social work profession because an Anishinabe approach to ‘doing’ social work with this particular group of participants is developed and has implications for Aboriginal-based Theory and Aboriginal-based support and policies. Even though this is a small step towards changing some of the existing practices in the Child Welfare System, it may pave the way for larger and more constructive social changes for participants and their children in the future.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26156
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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