Community Development

Recommendations for Education in Native Social Work at the Bachelor of Social Work Level (PDF)

Recommendations for Education in Native Social Work at the Bachelor of Social Work Level

A report submitted to Dr. Ray Thomlison, Dean

Faculty of Social Welfare, University of Calgary


Dr. Pam Colorado, Coordinator

Native Studies Development Project

November 24, 1987

Table of Contents








APPENDIX 1     13


Terms of Reference

The University of Calgary Native Options Program is committed to the development of scholarly and academic excellence in Native social welfare. To this end our definition of Native social work includes:

the education of Native and non-Native students who wish to work with a Native population.

the integration or infusion of Native content into the generic social work courses.

Neither the Native population nor the University of Calgary Faculty of Social Welfare want diluted course content or reduced requirements for a Native options track. Instead, Native course content, methods and field instruction will be subsumed under the generic course numbers. The goal and objectives of the Native Options Program will be to produce successfully synthesized, biculturally functioning social workers (Swenson).

2. Toward a Native Options

The University of Calgary is committed to establishing a Native Options Program. This commitment stems from six forces:

Native bands and people are a significant population in Alberta and have critical human service needs. The Faculty of Social Welfare is charged with the provincial mandate to provide social work education which would begin to address these needs;

There is no mechanism or process for eliciting or integrating Native knowledge into social work theory or practice;

Nearly ten years of fragmental intradivisional efforts have not produced the coherent, unified program hoped for;

The Collins report of 1986 recommended a Native concentration for the three Divisions, but was not funded beyond the two-year developmental phase;

Without additional or outside funding, the Faculty of Social Welfare has now hired and obligated one Native M.S.W. full-time sessional and one Native Ph.D. (one day per week) to begin meeting the needs of the Native community and to spearhead the drive for a Native Options Program;

Historically, only a few Native students have been admitted to the program. those who are admitted are unduly burdened with the lack of culture specific curriculum and the need to assume total responsibility for re-interpreting course content into a Native context. Moreover, the transition back into the Native world rests solely on the shoulders of our graduates.

3. Native Social Work Programs, Design Issues

The struggle to articulate and implement a Native Options Program is not unique to the University of Calgary. The firs decade of such efforts has produced a number of concerns. Dunbar-Ortiz, Ph.D., Sioux, catalogues these issues:

There are few Indian scholars;

Native social work programs remain unstable due to a lack of qualified Indian faculty to develop academically viable curricula and research;

The absence of Ph.D.’s, publications and research mean that programs flounder in instability. Indian faculty remain temporary, part-time and are eventually phased out in retention, promotion, and tenure procedures of the University;

Indian students are especially sensitive to the historical process of attempted acculturation — the educational system;

Native studies are essential for educating the non-Native majority and for the Nation building process of tribes;

The University is not an appropriate vehicle to learn one’s cultural values. Instead a profession is to be gained. Mastery does not mean acceptance of Non-Indian values. But the ability to analyze and assess problems and issues and date within an historical and larger socio-economic context requires substantial reading, research, writing, discussion and the acquired ability to assimilate and analyze information;

Funding and counseling should be based on the realities of Indian and non-Indian relationships, not on university realities;

Federal and foundation funding should be supplemental;

Indians should be encouraged to pursue substantial education;

Specialized programs in different universities should complement each other, not overlap; Ortiz punctuates her list of concerns with this advice: A sense of mission, despite limitations, could work miracles in transformation of Indian high education from a mechanical mass production to excellence.

This proposal follows close on the heels of Ortiz. The document that follows is a blueprint for developing a Native social work program with a mission. That mission is the creation of a program which will address and draw from the interface (relationship) between Natives and non-Natives; to create opportunities for the two cultures to cooperate, collaborate and communicate.

4. The Concept

The Ortiz analysis points to a developmental problem in Native social work efforts. This is, programs either attempt to mass produce “Native” social workers or to teach culture within the university. As Ortiz notes, both approaches are conceptually flawed and fundamentally confounded.

The University is not the appropriate locus of cultural education; such teaching requires a tribal context. Moreover, it is the right and responsibility of First Nations to provide such education. On the other hand, avoiding cultural issues adhering to the mono-cultural, European tradition also presents problems.

Reliance upon a monocultural tradition within a multicultural arena constitutes an essentially transparent form of intellectual domination, achievable only within the context of parallel forms of domination…. Churchill

The Native Options Project will learn from and move beyond this developmental conundrum. merely establishing the Project will address one critical problem – the recognition of the multicultural basis of social work and the destruction of the deadly myth of one truth in social work theory. Deloria, distinguished Sioux scholar, notes:

One of the most painful experiences for American Indian students is to come into conflict with the teachings of science which purport to explain phenomena already explained by tribal knowledge and tradition. The assumption of the western educational system is that the information dispensed by universities is always correct and the beliefs or teachings of the tribe are always wrong…

Considering the present state of things, it is important for scholars…to begin to help us break the ice of ignorance and neglect which has been thrust upon our traditions for nearly half a millennium. Without the voices of respected white scholars, there is little chance we can get sufficient attention from the scientific establishment to plead our own case. But we should remember…(that this is) a call for each of us to enter into the exchange of knowledge…(and we, Native Americans are called) to offer our knowledge to the larger benefit of our species…

Churchill offers one final piece of incentive for a biculturally-focused grounded Native Options:

By pooling knowledge, resources and effort in a broad forum such as interdisciplinary studies, perhaps we can jointly seek to expand our knowledge of the world..the signposts point to a reconciliation of the two approaches. Western science must reintegrate human emotions and intuitions into its interpretation of phenomena; Eastern peoples must confront the physical world and the effects of technology. We shall understand as these traditionally opposing views seek a unity, the world of historical experiences is far more mysterious and eventful than we had previously expected. Such and achievement would be one from which all humanity would benefit…

5. How Do We Develop a Native Options?

The Native Options Project must be seen as an ongoing transcultural process. The components or mechanisms for initiating the process include:

an integrated curriculum

a Native Advisory Committee

a Native Options Track, consisting of optional courses which have been tailored towards Native social welfare issues.

6. Native Social Work Component

The Native Social Work Program will be an integral part of the existing B.S.W. programme, offered at the University of Calgary. The B.S.W. program will integrate “Native content” to specific required courses and also offer students a concentration of courses that are critical to working with Native people. As a result, all students will be offered critical components of the N.S.W. programme specific to their choice in the B.S.W. degree programme.

The Native social work component will provide appropriate prerequisite and field of practice courses in conjunction with the existing required methods/practicum courses of the B.S.W. programme. A Native Advisory Committee will assist in the development and operation of N.S.W. through prayer, teaching and advice.

The following are core courses required by all students enrolled in the B.S.W. programme; included are students pursuing the Native concentration.

SOWK 311 Human development: Childhood and Adolescence

SOWK 315 Communication and Social Work Interaction

*SOWK 325 Ideology and Social Welfare

*SOWK 341 Social Work: Its Social Science Foundations

SOWK 411 Human Development: Adulthood

SOWK 423 Canadian Social Policy

SOWK 432 Practicum I

SOWK 434 Methods I

SOWK 435 Groups in Social Work Practice

SOWK 441 The Scientific Base of Social Work Practice

SOWK 461 Social Welfare Administration

SOWK 532 Practicum II

SOWK 534 Methods II

Those marked with an asterisk will integrate the Native component to the course content. Thus, these courses will be made relevant to the Native situation and clientele. This can be accomplished by individual instructors who have had background to the Native situation, thus applying theory and concept to the Native situation (See Appendix 1). For example, the Canadian Social Policy course should include policy directly affecting Native people.

The following core courses will be developed specifically for the Native concentration. Native Science is the basis of knowledge and practice; therefore, a course equivalent to SOWK 441 is critical to the programme. Practice must also be made available in either Native communities or in agencies with a large Native client population.

N.S.W. 432 Practicum I

N.S.W. 434 Methods II

N.S.W. 441 Native Scientific Base of Social Work Practice

The Faculty of Social Welfare, University of Calgary, will decide whether N.S.W. 441 will remain as a core course and students may be exempt for another core course, or students with the Native concentration are expected to take one extra core course.

The Native Social Work component will include the above core courses plus five social work options. These courses are pertinent to the field of Native studies and practice.

SOWK 551.01 Intergroup Relations (Native Canadians)

SOWK 551.02 Alcohol and Drug Abuse

SOWK 551.05 Child Welfare

SOWK 555.09 Community Issues

SOWK 555.15 Integrative Approaches

The above courses with the core course will make up the Native Social Work component for the B.S.W. programme.

The following courses will be options for the students and may be made relevant to the specific situation to Native people.

SOWK 551.10 Social Work and Corrections

SOWK 555.07  Child Sexual Abuse

SOWK 591 Directed Reading

SOWK 595 Conference Course

6.1 Native Advisory Committee

A Native Advisory Committee be established with one-third of the committee being elders. The elders will be able to provide guidance through prayer, teach tribal tradition and give advice on tribal policy and law. Other Committee members will be represented from the various distinct cultural communities among Native people. This committee will advise the Faculty on all aspects of the N.S.W. programme, including curriculum, recruitment, admissions, appeals, policy and planning. It is recommended that the Native Advisory Committee be a subcommittee of the Undergraduate Committee. This Committee will also assist Native Communities with joint research projects.

6.1.2 Native Studies

These are courses in other university programs such as Native American Studies, Sociology, Political Science, Psychology and Anthropology which teach Native American history, culture and contributions. Where these courses exist, the Native social work component must utilize them in the two year prerequisite courses of the B.S.W. degree programme. Native organizations such as the Indian Association of Alberta, Metis Society of Alberta, Native Counselling of Alberta, and Nechi Institute on Alcohol and Drug Education must be involved in the developing of courses and research for viable solutions and programmes for the “myriad” of social problems facing their constituents.

The Native Social Work component is integrated into the core stream of the B.S.W. degree programme, because it is not sufficient to separate “Native content” to only those who choose Native studies, but is for those who work in the field of Social Welfare. (Recommended from Report to the Attorney General, Dec. 1984, by Assistant Chief Judge W. White, Provincial Court of Alberta).

6.1.3 Field Placements

Social work programs must have a full and direct involvement with Native communities. The practica for all students enrolled in the N.S.W. will be involved in both the non-Native and Native fields of work placements. It is critical for the students to access both practica and to integrate and synthesize their theory and methods in their respective practica. Where there isn’t a Native Community such as in an urban setting, agencies with large target populations that are Native may be the only suitable practica placements.

These practica placements are not only valuable learning experiences, but provide excellent opportunities for developing social work practicum placements in agencies that serve Native people. This can be done by demonstrating to agencies that professional Native people have the ability to perform at the same levels as professional social workers. Secondly, these agencies are a means of developing contacts and job placements for social work graduates.

6.1.4 Native Options Faculty

Native Social Work Programmes will have both Native and non-Native instructors. Non-Native instructors will be selected on the basis of their experiences and commitment to Native issues. Further these faculty will serve in the critical role of mentor for students in the Native Options component. Native instructors and elders must demonstrate a high level of knowledge, understanding and skills of Native culture. This is essential if we are to develop sensitivity to and an understanding of Native culture.

Faculty staff will include a Native Coordinator and two Native faculty members, sessional instructors, one counsellor and one clerical support. It is recommended that existing Non-Native Social Work faculty members who can be recognized as specialists in the field of Native Studeies can teach Native Social Work courses specific to their specialization.

6.1.5 Position Descriptions

The Coordinator will coordinate all activities of the Native Social Work Programme, including consultation with the university and First Nations’ communities and Native agencies, development of the curriculum, and coordinate meetings to ensure relevance in the Native concentration area.

The counsellor/tutor position will advise, support and recruit Native students and will also liaise with other faculty members, departments and practicum agencies.

Full-time professors will have full tenured positions with the Faculty and carry regular course load and research initiatives as it may take 5-10 years to develop a pool of Native Ph.D.’s. The full-time position may be entered at the M.S.W. level. Part-time sessional instructors with at least an M.S.W. will teach many of the courses in the Native Social Work Programme.

The core components of the Native Social Work Programe must be an integral part of the university budget. Provincial and federal governments special grants should be used to provide the support costs for development, remedial and support services that may not otherwise be available to the university.

6.1.6 Recruitment of Native Students and Support Services

Recruitment for Native students and their success depends largely upon the Native Social Work Programme. Active Native student recruitment must be extended to schools on reservations, Metis settlements, universities, colleges, Native agencies and other Native communities, to both public and separate off-reserve schools and to public welfare agencies.

The Native Social Work components needed to develop support services for Native students which include:

Financial security should be guaranteed for Native students;

Opportunities for individual and small group counselling and discussions. Native students, Native faculty and other qualified persons would be involved;

Socializing activities for staff and students;

Extensive tutorial assistance and remedial courses as indicated;

Special training in the use of libraries, writing papers, research, etc.; and,

Provision of Native-related library materials.

The Native Students’ Services at the University of Calgary, the Office of the Advisor on Native Affairs at the University of Alberta, and the Native American Studies Department at the University of Lethbridge successfully provide many of these services. The Native support services should be fully supported and further developed in close consultation with those programmes already established.

Funds required for these special services need to be negotiated with provincial and federal governments and foundations.

6.1.7 Admissions Criteria

The B.S.W. degree is often thought of as a four year social work programme when instead it is a two year programme completed after two years of general arts courses or after completion of a two year college Social Services diploma.

University undergraduate students planning to enter the B.S.W. degree are normally required to complete 20 university level semester courses (two years) chosen from a broad list of options. Once completed, students are eligible for admission to the B.S.W. programme, which is comprised of 20 social work semester courses (two years). Consideration will be given to N.S.W. students who speak a Native language or have taken Native Studies in these two years.

Graduates of an Alberta Community College two-year Social Services programme will receive, on admission, up to ten unassigned social work semester credits; and, in addition, credit for up to ten non-social work semester courses will be awarded on a course-for-course basis as indicated in The Provincial Transfer Guide.

Successful completion of 20 university level semester courses or a two-year college Social Services diploma does not mean automatic entry into the B.S.W. programme. Enrolment limits have been established on social work courses in relation to the number of students who can be accommodated in practicum settings. Admission decisions are based on academic standing and the extent of relevant work, volunteer and general life experience.

Appropriate methods must be developed for assessing the academic qualifications of prospective Native students whose background and grade point average might not accurately reflect their potential. These appropriate methods can be determined with the advice of the Advisory Committee. It is anticipated that giving a higher weight to life experience compared to grade point average need to be discussed.

6.1.8 Programme Networking

Programmes for Native social work students must be coordinated at all post-secondary levels to ensure that there is continuity in opportunities for Native people. Linkages between both the college and university level programmes should offer Native students a “career ladder” of opportunities since an individual may choose to enter the work force at either level.

Post-secondary levels must facilitate and support social work education. The community college here takes leadership in this role. It is felt that a two-year college social service diploma may initially be more attractive to many Native students than a four year university B.S.W. programme. All efforts should be made to enhance the credit recognition and transferability for these students. A word of caution is that many persons who may successfully complete Social Service diploma programmes at community colleges and then go onto very meaningful and successful careers in social services for whatever reason,

not able to successfully complete a university level professional programme, i.e., not all college graduates are adequately prepared or ready for university level study.

The following mechanisms and processes can be initiated to enhance the networking programme:

Better communication of the opportunities available to Native students who are interested in accessing the post-secondary system. Students should be able to enter the system at various levels according to their educational background and proficiency in basic academic skills.

More comprehensive articulation between programmes and post-secondary institutions must be initiated to ensure credit transferability or recognition, thus facilitating student educational mobility, culminating in a degree if so desired.

Intensified communication and cooperative links to be established between the post-secondary institutions and employers of social work graduates, with the intent of permitting students to leave the post-secondary system at various levels and seek employment, and yet ensuring that improved in-service training opportunities are made available for skill upgrading.

To ensure programme networking, there must be regular meetings with representatives of all the post-secondary education systems in Alberta to discuss the above programme networking issues. In the the last year, this has occurred with representatives of the community colleges and universities in Alberta. further networking meetings are planned.

6.1.9 Family and Community Involvement

Families must be encouraged to support their children in the education process. It has been observed that Native students from so-called “leadership families” continue further up the educational ladder than the vast majority of Native students. It seems that education and role-modelling are more actively supported by these leadership families.

Similar to the need for family support, it is very important that the Native community, including elders, friends and relatives support students’ efforts to obtain an education. Individual tribes and groups must be given the responsibility and opportunity to provide input into educational programmes for Native students. The Native community, students, and successful graduates need to be involved in the education process, not only for student support but also to keep the curriculum relevant to Native needs. It is stressed that Native elders need to be involved in any Native Social work education concentration developed in this faculty. Elder involvement may include representation on the Native Advisory Committee, possibly an Elder in residence and guest lectures.

7. Summary of Major Recommendations for Native Social Work Component to the B.S.W. Degree Programme

7.1.1 Programme Content

Native Curriculum developed;

Increased opportunities for Native Studies;

Increased opportunities for Native students in the field of Social Welfare.

7.1.2 Staff

Full-time Coordinator

Two full-time instructors/professors


7.1.3 Support

Internal support services

Tutorial service

Social activities

7.1.4 Networking (U. of C. N.S.W.)

Between post-secondary levels

Among Native communities/agencies

Among Non-Native communities/agencies

Non-Native to Native Child Care Services: Shifting Paradigms (PDF)

Non-Native to Native Child Care Services: Shifting Paradigms

Pam Colorado & Don Collins

Assistant Professors

Faculty of Social Work

The University of Calgary

Lethbridge Division

28 September 1987

Published in Journal of Child & Youth Care 1990. 4(5) pp 47-57

Native Culture and Child Welfare

…when a child was born, an old person would talk in that baby’s ear a long time. As the child would grow, that voice would be like turning the pages in a book – as the child goes through life. Now, that has stopped among the Indian people and there is confusion. It could be done again… Donawaak (Respiritualization Project, 1985)

This paper presents the need for a paradigm shift from non-Native child care services to Native child care services. A major issue addressed is that a parallel child care service for Native people does not take into account traditional Native child development practices, yet a parallel Native child care system seems to be presently supported by the government. The present child care system is mono-cultural in that it does not address clearly different cultural needs. There is a need to shift from a mono-cultural model to a bi-cultural model.

In moving from a mono-cultural paradigm to a multi-cultural paradigm a number of important questions are raised. These questions addressed in this paper include: How should this shift occur? What processes and structures are needed? What kind of relationship should exist between the non-native and native child care services? Will native child care services be embroiled in a privatization battle that diverts attention from the native child’s best interests? Under whose auspices will native child care services be: provincial or federal? What are the historical, legal and ethical issues involved in this paradigm shift?

A new child care paradigm would involve going back to traditional Native child care practices. Current native child care problems can be positively impacted if Natives and non-Natives will systematically and rigorously rely on Native Elders as a bridge between child and services. Implied in this thesis is the notion that resources-time, energy, funding, and concern will be devoted to the development of such an approach. Without this commitment, the evolution of effective tribal child care systems is imperiled. For example, the present transfer of control to tribes does not take into account the following: the historical disruption of the Native family calls for a major effort in parenting skills and the intervention of family alcoholism; young people are often unwilling and unable to listen to elders. Western trained workers must team with Elders to ease the identity crisis of the young and to help in the formation of biculturally functioning tribal people.

The figures are startling. During 1984 it was determined that between 35% and 40% of children receiving services in Alberta under the Child Welfare Act were of Native ancestry. Compared with the general non-Native population, about ten Native children to one non-Native child out of the province’s overall population required services under the Act. Thus the Native child has been strongly over-represented in child welfare programs, with an historical emphasis on the more intrusive rather than less intrusive care and services under the legislation (Alberta Social Services, 1985). Forty percent of Native children under care have been living away from their culture yet no provision is made for their reintegration or repatriation. Tribes lack residential and emergency care facilities as well as foster homes and trained child care staff. Specific allowance must be made.

A strong aspiration, encouraged by the government, on the part of Alberta’s Native people and communities to take care of their own children is being recognized. The process to move from aspiration to actualization has commenced and will continue. Throughout Alberta, Native communities and groups are developing initiatives to establish family support services to ensure that in future their children need not come into care. These initiatives are designed to progressively assume more responsibility for dealing with family problems within Native communities.

When we look at Native child care we see through a two paned window. Each view is a world, representing both Native and non Native worlds. The glass, symbolizing our professional training and values, enables us to see yet also separates us from the lives we impact. Today we stand on the threshold of a new era in Native child care work, an era which demands that the “window” be opened, that true communication occur between the community and the child care provider. Native Elders, silent for generations, are a bridge to the dialogue and direction we seek.

In the old days, prior to European intrusion, Native child care was a disciplined, structured development process involving extended family, community and Nation. This process was healed by elders so the child care system was based in love and kindness and grew from an understanding that all life is spiritual and related. Joy and living in a “Good Way” were hallmarks of a healthy Native family. Children were encouraged to “know what life is”, to “have an understanding”; each child “had a place in the community and was encouraged to find it.”

Self discipline was normally taught through example and discussion; rarely did it involve force. A Tlingit Grandfather explains:

…Love is more important than anything. My Grandfather used to say – “Grandson, go get for me.” Even though he could walk, his work “Grandson” comes to my spirit, so I run and get it. If I say to him, “Are you lazy?” I’m going to hurt him. “Grandson” is more important than anything…

A Blood Grandmother explains self-discipline from the woman’s side”

…When we talk to our children we say, “Niyeah, my child” quietly and lovingly…

Situations that called for a firm hand meant that the Aunt or Uncle would step in:

…The Uncle is obligated to train the nephew because he is of the same clan. The Uncle, because it is the nephew, pulls him out of bed and as the Nephew is getting dressed says, “Do this for a day; this is your work day.” And you do it…(Cyrus Peck, D.D.) (Respiritualization Project, 1985)

Sadly, this traditional way of child rearing has become disarrayed.

In this forge of neo-colonial confusion and conflict, child welfare work was born. Looking at the degraded Native culture and the harsh realities of Native life, the solution seemed obvious, “remove the children and help them assimilate into majority life.” This practice continued until a full 40 percent of children under care were of Native ancestry. Thus, the gentle hand of the child welfare worker created a new problem which called for a larger definition of child abuse.

…a case of social institutions in one culture abusing whole segments or classes of persons in another society…

The results of this practice are best expressed in the words of the People:

…where I come from…I run into a lot of younger generation my age, kids just getting out of school, who go to the city or college for a little while. They can’t make it so they come back and start drinking and causing problems…They are drinking because they can’t make it in the non-Native world and they don’t know how to make it in the Native world…

…Nobody talks about it so how would we know? We have a community across the river that is inter-marrying. I see they are destroying themselves; their kids are retarded…We are ignoring it; we don’t say anything.

…We got to stop our people from fighting each other…

…It is like a tidal wave, it will come toward you. The White people are moving…

…In March two French people came to our community. They were filmmakers who wanted to make a three hour movie…They are going to focus on the elderly and the younger generation. Their title is, “Is There Survival for Natives?”

Looking at Native family life today, Elders blame themselves:

…We (Elders) talked about how our younger ones live…It’s our fault. We are not talking to our grandchildren and our sons. Our land; what we used to know before we don’t tell. How are they going to learn? We got to tell them everything so they will learn to live. In these times, we just leave our children when they say it (our ways) are old-fashioned. We are scared to talk with them.

Young people feel that they are to blame.

…We don’t know where we fi in…the older people do not know how to approach us…They’ve never seen young people drink like we’re doing…sniffing glue, gasoline, pot…it was my impression they just gave up on us…

Non-Native child care workers also feel a sense of blame. As one worker recently put it, “I feel so bad about what has happened to Natives. A lot of us do. But we don’t know what to do!” Indeed the wholesale removal of Native children did not produce the healing or integration hoped for. So, privatization and tribal takeover seem a ready made solution. But what is it we are trying to solve? Will we settle for merely altering the appearance of institutional abuse? As it now stands, the issue of “best interest” of the Native child has narrowed to one word, “control”, and this definition carries danger.

While child care agreements occur in the political context of Provincial and First Nation legal agreements, Native and non-Native social workers must see that “control” does not end with shifting the unwieldy western child care bureaucracy onto Natives. Unless the definition of “control” is expanded to include intra-cultural controls, we risk creating a parallel (and equally destructive) Native child care system on the reserves.

So what can be done? Turning to the Elders we find clear direction.

Intra-culturally, Elders want to be connected with their grandchildren as the first order of business.

“We can’t give up with our Grandchildren.”

“I am willing to teach; we don’t have to give up.”

“With our feeling, our love, we have to teach them.”

“We got to set them down to listen; there is no old fashioned.”

Elders also want change in the Native/non-Native relationship:

Look into this. There’s going to be an interaction anyway, so why not try to go into something good…Lives are at stake if we (working together) can help that life to live, I think we have accomplished something.

“We are bashful to talk to our White brother. Some of them are good; some of them are not”

“Why not work with the White people? What they learn from us will help us too.”

As these comments illustrate, the Elders’ notion of “control” is much fuller than we understand in current legal agreements. Elders advocate control through respect.

A short traditional story for children makes the point:

There was a little bird who had a nest with eggs in it. The birds flew away. The eggs were left. One broke open. The little bird came out. It started walking around. It was looking for something. My grandfather asked me – “What is the bird looking for?” Finally, he came back to get the egg shells. He found a hole and buried the egg shell. He covered it with moss and dirt. My grandfather asked – “Why is he hiding the egg shell?” That bird had respect for the egg shell. If he left it, something would step on it He don’t want something to step on it so he put it away. That is when they tell me the egg shell is his Grandfather. The little bird respects the egg shell to put it away. Our people when they have a big potlatch say in the Tlingit way – “our eggshell”, that’s our Grandfather we talk to. This is what I was explaining to the children, to respect Grandfather and Grandmother. If you don’t have respect your life will be short, because you don’t listen to anybody. But if you listen to your grandfather, your life will be longer. (Donawaak)

Between the cultures we must be cognizant of the fact that we are emerging from an era of harsh racism and stark segregation. Elders tell us to prepare ourselves mentally, physically and spiritually for the new dialogue. And they caution us to watch our words.

My grandfather used to tell me, if you are going up the river, cut a pole so they can push your boat up. Before you give it to your partner who is going to help you, you got to run your hand over the pole. If you don’t sharp ridges on it will cut your hand. Then your partner will not help you. You have to run your hand over the words before you say anything. I tell my children. They are beginning to listen, how to respect each other.

In a context of respect, “control” involves tribal takeover of programs; developments of complete cultural models of child care services and establishing critical intercultural linkages.

New Child Welfare Act

The new Child Welfare Act allows for the delegation of responsibilities for child protective services to persons outside the Alberta Social Services and Community Health department. This will enable Native communities to develop their own child welfare services. This objective is being pursued in dialogue with many Indian bands and other Native communities. Yet without understanding and incorporating traditional Native child care practices, Native communities will only be developing a parallel child care system brought with the same problems existing in the present child care system.

The Province of Alberta has led the way in encouraging Native communities to take over their child care services when the first tripartite child welfare agreement was signed in 1973 with the Blackfoot Indian Band at Gleichen. Ten years later, a similar agreement was made with the Lesser Slave Lake Regional Council; a thrust supported by federal as well as provincial governments. Band children are cared for on the reserve, by and large, and nurtured in their own cultural environment. Very few children now leave the reserve for purposes relating to the need for child welfare services, whereas when the agreement began in 1973 almost 150 children were in temporary guardianship, most of them in non-Native foster homes off the reserve.

The Lesser Slave Lake Agreement promises to have a similar impact. This Indian Regional Council is currently readying itself to assume full authority and responsibility under the new Act. To date it has been occupied with developing community resources and training its staff. Yet a major question that needs to be asked is: Are we only creating a parallel child care system that does not understand or meet the unique cultural needs of the Native community but only mimics the present child care system.

Discussion & Recommendations

Alberta Social Services and Community Health is focussing on Native families and children in its child welfare services. The need for this special attention was verified by departmental statistics and by a growing awareness that Indian and Metis people want greater involvement in the case planning for Native children as well as in the actual administration of child welfare services. The 1980s will likely form an era in Canadian and Alberta history where Native communities seek a return of functions from government to the community with a special focus on prevention and early intervention, as well as on the utilization of Native resources which allow for incorporation of India, and Metis cultural values and customs (Alberta Social Services, 1985b). In December 1984 the Minister appointed a Working Committee on Native Child Welfare, a group of Native community workers and senior civil servants assigned the task of assuring that Native issues and Native families are considered in the implementation of the new Act and the evolving new service systems. Although the Provincial Government desires Native communities to take over their own child care services a major problem now arising in the province is budget cutbacks. The Government seems unwilling to put sufficient monies into the necessary dialogue process, consulting process and education for Natives to develop effective bi-cultural child care service. Instead the Government seems only willing to allow Native communities to take over the existing mono-cultural child care services that presently service Native children, complete with their existing budget problems.

Further, the push for privatization creates both challenges and problems for Native communities. Problems in terms of competition for limit funds and people resources. Challenges in terms of taking control and development potential of a bicultural paradigm. As privatization and tribal assumption of child care services is already underway, the following recommendations will focus on the development of a new bi-cultural Native child care paradigm:

I Development of Culture Based Child Care

Family Tree: The disruption of Native family life has resulted in a loss of traditional oral histories and family lives. One way to prevent further loss of family history and to mitigate against the danger of intermarriage is by creating and writing family trees. The children must know who they are.

Extended Family/Clan Networking: It must be openly acknowledged that anonymity does not exist in closely related Native communities. The western weakness is a Native strength when key Elders, Aunts and Uncles are identified and used as critical child care resources. These traditional experts should be compensated in some form for their services.

Elder Participation and Networking: Tribal child care workers need access to key Elders in a structured way. That is, Elders must be seen and used as policy makers, educators and quality control experts. Their roles should be clearly stated in tribal child care services and they should be compensated for their work on par with non-Native experts.

Inter-tribal Networking: Tribal child care workers must have the opportunity to meet with their counterparts in the tribes. Elders must also be encouraged to travel and enter into dialogue with Elders from other reserves. Finally, more audio-visual materials must be developed on the evolving Native child care services so that geographically scattered and isolated reserves may exchange information.

II Intercultural Linkages

Climate: The atmosphere of reconciliation exemplified in Catholic churches recent apology to Native people must be continued. Sometimes the best way to begin cross-cultural communications is with an apology. Those agencies dealing with large numbers of Native children may wish to follow suite as Native people complement these efforts following traditional practices of preparation.

Communication on appropriate levels: Leading non-Native child care experts and top agency administration must have the opportunity to meet with their counterparts – Native Elders. Tribal child care administrators may be a link in this dialogue. Communication amongst these Native experts will provide direction and guidance to the transfer and development of Native services. Working through the Elders will also promote strength and renewal to the original system of child care. this process will also halt the present destructive trend of using westernized Native child care workers as the benchmark for cultured people.

Creating opportunities for inter-cultural dialogue: Native people need the chance to meet and share with good non-Native people. Gatherings like Tiospaye in South Dakota provide a model for positive cross-cultural communication. Headed by Virginia Satir and Sioux Medicine People approximately 70 people from around the globe meet with an equal number of Indian people to spend four days each year working on family , spiritual and cultural communication issues. This could be done in Canada.

II Higher Education Level

The time is propitious for the universities and colleges to commit themselves to a more concentrated effort in training Native child care and social services workers. Native groups and organizations are keenly interested; government social services agencies (federal and provincial) are anxious to hire qualified Native practitioners. We must develop academically sound programmes which take into account a variety of training needs and methods, yet maintain credible standards (Collins, 1986).

It will be no easy task to develop education programmes and support systems for Native and rural students that will adequately compensate for major deficiencies in their early education as well as compensate for deficiencies in existing programs.

The following points need to be considered to enhance education opportunities for native people:

Native people see the need and value in tailored western training.

“Successfully synthesized (biculturally functioning) Indian people must receive human services training. They must be trained to consciously ease the transitions between the Indian and the non-Indian worlds, which must no longer be left to chance.”

Professional training has merit – “as you return certified, it shows people on the reserve that even though we want to get back to our traditional ways, we do realize there’s a white world out there and we’re arguing with a white problem.”

Credentialing is important, “it’s good for funding…it gives you a sense of accomplishment…it’s some credibility and helps if you want to move on.

Curricular must be modified to include Native content, screening of admission criteria must reflect the contribution Native people offer to social work programs.

III Creating Opportunities for Communication

Trent University Native Studies discovered that it is not enough to give advice, to tell the young “go back and talk to your elders” or “your culture is valuable”. People have trouble following such advice; we need to create opportunities to learn from each other. Universities can co-organize events like Tiospaye and can research models of positive cultural communication.

IV Inter-cultural Research

The university can play a vital role in identifying and creating materials, methods and structures that will lead to emergence of positive inter-cultural infrastructure. Examples include the identification of existing integrative and appropriate social science practices. Native social scientists are working alone in fields such as reality therapy, dream analysis, ethnomethodology and community organizing. University research efforts can link these Native social scientists with their western counterparts.

Further Considerations

Articulating a culture (Elder) based model of Native child care services brings together the secular and sacral. As a science, western social work does not include religion in its paradigm, yet spirituality is the foundation of Native science or truth seeking ways. Because of this difference it is important that the two systems remain discrete yet connected through an infrastructure that promotes understanding and unity. These considerations have been addressed in a number of Native projects. The Tlinget, Chilkoot Camp which provides a Native cultural/survival camp experience for children of all ethnicities is a good example. Chief Donawaak who established the camp concludes this paper.

“When you’re talking to the newborn baby, when that little baby listens, it stays there, everything we say. Anytime that child starts talking, its (the words you spoke to it) going to come out in front, like the tape recording when you play it. That’s the reason we talk to our babies so that what we try to teach will stay in its mind.

This is what I am doing with the children. These trees we see all around us, the roots are together. Spruce, hemlock, pine tree, birch, everything. All that is growing under some berries, salmonberries, raspberries, everything that is growing has roots. All the roots stay together. Then the grass grows and the flower grows. Right now you see the trees that are coming out, just like a newborn baby they start growing. Our grandchildren, they are just like a flower growing under the trees. Anyplace where you look there are different colors. When I opened the camp here, they asked me “What are you going to do? Are you going to teach just the Tlingit?” I told them, “No, this is for everybody.” They told me I am crazy. I told them maybe I am crazy. We used to be crazy ourselves. We used to fight with our white brothers. Now we adopt them, different colors. My son was married with white girl. My daughter was married with a white. Some of them are married with the Filipinos. They are all different colors. This is what the flower is. All different colors, what is growing. This is the children, they are growing as the grass and the flower. They are newborn babies, they have to learn.”


International Social Work and Social Content as a Springboard to a Mission Statement: A Discussion Paper (PDF)

International Social Work and Social Content as a Springboard to a Mission Statement: A Discussion Paper

Pam Colorado


Issues, implications, contradictions, and possibilities abound in considerations of an international program in social welfare. Foremost among these elements of discussion are culture and politics; the quintessence of the term “nation”.

In order to articulate a mission statement, this paper analyses the social context of international social work issues. Drawing on the political, scientific and ethical components of social science reality helps ground discussion on local and global levels.

Political Context of Social Welfare.

  1. Social Welfare as Political Neutrality;

Withorn argues that social welfare has protected itself by riding the fence on its position in capitalism. The results of this retreat – from engaging directly in ideological debate/from working behind the scenes – are that social workers often present themselves as faceless bureaucrats without a social vision; workers are profoundly confused as to what they should do, and have an enormous sense of isolation and frustration from other workers and clients.

Withorn suggests that the 1980’s are the time to;

“alter our perspectives and begin to see service delivery and political quest for basic social change as unalterably intertwined not irrevocably separate.”

The author purports that open political debate that results from links with personal and political concerns will provide the base for a new strategy, which will demand services without compromising quality; and, which will see workers as people within a critical industry for social change efforts.

2. Social Welfare as “Political Beast”

Good social work practice has faced fundamental challenges in the international arena. The locus of social work activities and the agent of publication and research has often been large, powerful agencies such as UNESCO and CIDA. Thus, social work has been subject to highly charged international politics. Moreover, the international bureaucracies that house international social work activities have clutched the safety of western scientific, positivistic objectivity. The results of this retreat into unbridled positivism have often been disastrous for third world and minority peoples, and have done great damage to the reputation of our profession and its relationship to global humanity.

The Scientific Context of International Social Work

  1. Atoms and Alienation

Bohm, theoretical physicist (University of London) points out the problems inherent in western, positivistic science:

“Fragmentation and wholeness are especially important to consider today. Fragmentation is widespread, not only throughout society, but also in individuals, in science, and in all human activities. It is creating a general confusion of the mind, leading to an endless series of problems that have no solution.

Science has become a very important source and sustainer of fragmentation in modern times, through its aim is unity. Physics has become the pattern or paradigm aimed for by all sciences. … (I)n physics around the time of Newton, they developed a mechanistic approach by which the world was effectively regarded as made up of atoms – separate fragments, each with its own existence. Each one moving mechanically, interacting according to predetermined laws of force. The parts were the ultimate reality. They were fixed in their relationships. Any whole was only the convenient way of looking at the parts collectively because it had no independent reality. Now this fragmentation introduced a certain unity, for all the world was made of similar atoms with certain universal relations between them. So from the beginning it was a step towards unity.”

The problems resulting from this paradigm include;

“Humans have attempted to live according to the notion that the fragments are separate, when in fact, they are not. Humans have lost an awareness of what they are doing. They just keep on dividing automatically. This process of division is the result mainly of a way of thinking. In order to divide things we must think of them as separate. This thought process was extended to cover man’s notion of himself and the whole world; to say everything is divided up, including man. People are divided from each other. If you cross the border from one country to another there is very little difference in nature, but there is a tremendous difference in the way people think about it. This has produced big differences in the way people are living in the two countries, though they may come from the same background. Humans, therefore obtain an apparent proof of the correctness of this fragmentary thought. They say, ‘look! It is really all broken up.’ They haven’t noticed that they have broken it up.”

Bohm goes on to argue that relativity and quantum mechanics both imply some individed wholeness of the universe. Thus physics is no longer supporting a fragmentary analytical point yet this fact is not commonly recognized.

“There is no very good non-mathematical way of thinking about these things that is easily available to most people, and thus they don’t know what quantum mechanics means. Very few know what relativity means. The prevailing impression even among most physicists is that quantum mechanics and relativity are still supporting a mechanistic fragmentary point of view. There is no imaginative understanding. Instead of using Newton’s equations to calculate, they are simply using these more complicated equations such as Schrodinger’s equation or Einstein’s equation. Then it looks as if no fundamental change has occurred, when in fact a very fundamental change has taken place.

What this means is that our present knowledge of nature does not support this fragmentary view, but the opposite view. Nature is an undivided whole. Therefore if we are thinking in fragmentary terms we are trying to break up things that should not be broken up. That is what fragmentation is.

2. Social Work and the Tyranny of Science.

Karger, Rosen, Fischer, Saleeby, and other social work researchers link the ascent of empiricism and quantitative research with the creation of hierarchical structures that bind social work to an undemocratic fabric.

“It is not that social work researchers consciously attempt through collusion to establish hegemony over knowledge in the profession; rather, through adhering to specific constructs and implicit ideologies, status and power hierarchies are enforced.

A striking feature for the hierarchical relationship between research and practice is the enforced division of labor. In the organizational structure of social work, the researcher-academicians sit on top of the status pyramid…

Rein and white cite the existence of the division of labor between a group made up of social workers, teachers, planners, and administrators – the people who make things happen – as opposed to the group designated as people of knowledge.

The lower rungs of the division of labor are occupied by the practitioners who, paradoxically, constitute the bulk of the profession and the raison d’etre for the activities of the elite researchers. Conflicts between researchers and practitioners are often reflected in the literature.”

The authors’ concede that the rise in impiricism reflects the profession’s need to establish greater legitimacy (in the ascendency of the physical science); the desire for more effective service and the belief in the reality of empirical observation as the only legitimate method of examination. But the new empiricism also produced unanticipated outcomes, including;

a. Context Stripping.

“By this Mishler means that quantifying removes any social or subjective context from a phenomenon and objectifies it. Any interconnectedness with other events is necessarily minimized. This ‘context stripping’ that permeates so much of social work research is also political and ideological. Quantitative research’s masking of the complex web of causes obfuscates social reality and hides the true nature of phenomena.

b. Control over Knowledge Production.

The role given to researchers is even more significant than it appears on the surface – it is the power to define the reality of the profession. Those who define the questions to be asked define the parameters of the answers, and it is the parameters of the questions and the ensuing answers that function as the lens by which people view reality.

c. Scientific Imperialism

“All research is political and ideological: by the choice of the subject and design of methodology, the researcher creates a context for understanding social phenomena. Conversely, the refusal fo the researcher to create a context for understanding social phenomenon is also political…

All research attempts or should attempt to clarify or interpret an event or problem . The meaning research gives to an event is shaded by the social and political climate in which the event is interpreted. As such, research functions as storytelling in modern societies, and the research is analogous to the stories that were used in nonindustrial or tribal societies to explain incomprehensible phenomena. The earlier stories were shrouded in religion and today’s are scientific, but both make claims to legitimacy. The function of both stories is to reinforce the existing social paradigm in a society. Rein and White observe.

‘On the one hand, the stories are classical in function in that they strive to bring meaning to human action in the way that stories always have in human societies. On the other hand, they are scientific in their constitution. Their empirical foundation serves to make the stories corrigible and falsifiable.’

The perpetuation of “stories” that are functional in reinforcing the existing social paradigm is political. It is the ability to perpetuate ‘stories of reality’ that is the prize of the ruling paradigm and the group that supports it.” (Karger)

3. The Feminist Critique of Science.

Overfield provides a well developed critique of western science. She notes that the assumptions of science are the assumptions of our daily lives with the control of science concentrated in male hands. She argues:

“… that science is men’s studies and cannot be modified and that a ‘woman-centred-science’ would be so radically different that it would no longer be invested with the meaning of ‘science’ as we understand it. It would not be ‘science’ and therefore, in a society where science is the frame of reference, would be without validity.

Despite the fact that it is possible to perceive science as a dogma and no less open to challenge and enquiry as, for example, the religious dogma which preceded it, science itself permits few heretics. Its system of beliefs must be accepted and rather than taking the challenge of non-believers, science denigrates them with labels such as spiritualist, mystic or telepath. While much of substance may come from sources outside science, such is the hold of the scientific dogma or ethic over our minds, we are capable of dismissing it, as superstition or mythology, of trivializing it, of spurning its non-rational nature.

Women as well as men have been impressed by the scientific ethic and have acquiesced to its values. yet, argues Overfield, the scientific ethic is the male ethic; it is the ethic of dominance and control, it is the ethic which encodes a dichotomous and unequal division of the objects and events of the world into man/woman, norm/deviant, dominant/subordinate, rational/emotional. To enter science is to accept this scientific ethic, to accept these unequal dichotomies, and for the reason Overfield urges women to eliminate, not modify, the basic constructs of science.”

4. Indigenous Reactions to the Monoscientific Paradigm.

The untoward consequences of applying empiricism transculturally are aptly summarized by Pauolo Freire;

“Research is a cultural action, if it has a humanist character, it is eminently dialogical and dialectical. In culture based research, Men do not act on other men as objects. Freire concluded that research should not be ‘our research on you, but rather a research project in which, together, in dialogue, we will come to know each other better and the reality in which we find ourselves so that we can more effectively transform that reality.”

Social work education is also perceived as a powerfully alienating experience for Native people. Deloria notes:

“One of the most painful experiences for American Indian students is to come into conflict with the teachings of science which purport to explain phenomena already explained by tribal knowledge and tradition. The assumption of the western educational system is that the information dispensed  by colleges is always correct, and the beliefs or teachings of the tribe are always wrong. Rarely is this the case. The teachings of the tribe are almost always more complete, but they are oriented toward a far greater understanding of reality than is scientific knowledge. And precise tribal knowledge almost always has a better predictability factor than does modern science, which generally operates in sophisticated tautologies that seek only to confirm preexisting identities.”

Ethics and International Social Work.

United Nations University scholar, Boulding, reminds us that a program in international social welfare involves moral choices:

“A program for social change is not a neutral institution. Moral choices will be involved. The program could try to repair the failed Western model of development or any one of its variants, or ti could try to enter into the emerging transnational sharing society reflected in concepts of the new international order.

In the realm of the sociosphere, that sum total of interacting social entities, structures, and cultures of the planet, there is a world public interest which stands beyond national interests. Trying to discern what that public interest might be is one of our major challenges. It will not be easy. We are all citizens of nation states, and nation states have conflicting interests with regard to the inter-nation order. One indicator of the maturity of the new international order will be when scientists, planners and community development workers have been able to develop a variant of the Hippocratic Oath which will declare that they will practice their respective crafts in such a way as to do no harm to any nation state, and to be of service to all. It will be difficult to apply such an oath in practice, but its formulation will be a great step forward for science, building logically on the values set forth in the UN Declaration of Human Rights.”

Resources and Tools for Developing an International Social Work Program

  1. Conceptual Tools.

a. Acknowledge the limitations as well as the benefits of the western, positivistic science:

“People thought for hundreds of years that classical physics was the final view of the world – the truth, not just a way of looking. atoms were not taken as convenient divisions, but as ‘the way it is’ ….

Of course, breaking and dividing things up should not be condemned. It is necessary to divide things up for practical purposes. For example, we divide up fields according to what can be grown; we divide up all sorts of things. But this ability to divide things up has been carried too far because it has led us to divide things which should not be divided. This is an essential point. We attempt to divide things which are one an d united.” (Bohm).

b. Learn about and from nonwestern traditions.

“It is the special task of learning centers in the West to break out of the shell of western technology, to begin the overdue learning process about nonwestern traditions, and to identify the features and resources of the emergent new order and the skills at its disposal, so a collegial process of social construction can begin.” (Boulding).

c. Change begins with each of us;

“Global transformation is a major theme of Third World planning these days, and it is a major theme of the work of the U.N. University with which I am associated. It is a term, however, that makes first worlders very uneasy. Transformation implies the emergence of wholly new forms; with all the uncertainty and unpredictability of the new, the untried. What the first world wants is equilibrium, stability. Change is perceived as a re-equilberating process. Yet new theories of change, such as Ilya Prigogine’s, are theories of dissipative structures, theories that direct us to look at the points of maximum disorder in the old system, a new order. We in the first world have to be willing to be part of the raw materials for the new order, rather than imposing our old molds on the rest of the world. From the perspective of creation we are all, individuals and societies, prima materia for that which is to come.” (Boulding).

2. Methods, recommended by U.N.U. and U.N.E.S.C.O.


Indian Association of Alberta Child Welfare Needs: Assessment and Recommendations (PDF)

Indian Association of Alberta Child Welfare Needs: Assessment and Recommendations


The extension of child welfare services to Indian people following World War II has had serious effects upon Indian children, families and communities. In the past decade, several theories have been extended in an attempt to explain the causal factors of the high proportion of Native children in care; however, these theories generally propose solutions based on the assimilation of Indian people into “mainstream society”. Assimilation of a people has often been described in the context of a colonial model. It is within the scope of this paper to examine the principles and practices of child welfare from a colonial perspective. Using the colonial model as a theoretical orientation is useful for two reasons. This model not only offers an historical description of Euro-Indian relations, but it also offers solutions which promote the cultural preservation of Indian nations.

Present Day Orientation

The Native Community’s concern for their childrens’ welfare was brought to critical point by the tragic, untimely death of a 17 year old Native child by his own hand. Once the facts surrounding this tragedy were revealed an awareness was created from which White and Native communities can now act; for Indian Child Welfare is now on the agendas of the respective Native and White governments.

Among the Native Child Welfare issues brought to light resulted from data indicating that Native children in Alberta represent a disproportionately high percentage of children in the Child Welfare programs. In fact, Alberta government statistics indicate that Native children are more likely to come into contact with child protection services at a frequency six and one-half times greater than do other children of the Province.

In response, the Indian Association of Alberta initiated this project; designed to provide a basic structure with principles from which First Nations can begin negotiations for the control of Child Welfare programs. It is our intent to establish a picture of the issues concerning Native Child Welfare. The assessment will then determine the severity of the issues; identify gaps and strengths of the present system and describe alternative models and approaches.

Present statistics indicate the inadequacies associated with services to Native families and communities. The questions that need asking are: Why has the Native community allowed this to go on? What is happening for the child and the family as children are removed from their communities? Whose needs are being met? Native people have argued that, historically, the services provided to them contain little recognition of Native culture and provide only meagre support for the socio-economic conditions plaguing their communities.

In addition to these inadequacies, the other factors precipitating this study are; Alberta Social Services recently implemented campaign for the privatization of Child Welfare programs, and the enactment of a new Child Welfare services to the First Nations. However, the pivotal force of these concerns is Native peoples’ feelings of powerlessness over the control of their own lives, symptomatic in the lives of their children. As a result, in Part 1 the research begins a dialogue in its examination of these issues and the dynamics of the relationships among Indians and between Indians and Whites. Then, it examines the dynamics of the types of relationships which gave rise to the tragedy of Richard Cardinal’s life and death.

Although statistics is an important western scientific research tool, inherent in it are many feelings of inadequacy. Ideally, the best one can hope for when attempting to use quantitative means to determine the depth and degree of human social dysfunctions, is an indication of dysfunction.

Part 2 will discuss problems with, not only analyzing data, but also the question of how to gather, and insure the accuracy of the information gathered. A large part of the problem has to do with previous research concerning Native behaviour, those studies assume some standard of behaviour for the Non-Native community then applies that standard to research involving Natives. Further, Part 2 discusses the need for knowledge of human history.

Part 3 looks at accepted western scientific paradigms, research models and attendant research methodologies, and discusses their limitations and failings in terms of the study of Native behaviour. The discussion then presents a new paradigm, research model and methodologies, explaining the advantage to these approaches.

Part 4 presents “Indian Science”, the process through which Native peoples come to knowledge. This part also includes a discussion of “Western Science” from a Native point of view and, the discussion includes the concerns of its own practitioners. Western Science is both ethnocentric and imperialistic; it recognizes no other science save its own, then uses that same science as the justification for the denial as the existence of any other science. However, many western scientists are searching for a new paradigm, fro they have come to realize what Albert Einstein stated fifty years ago. “The system of Newtonian thought does not work.”

Part 5 is a presentation of analysis and findings which will be presented differently from “standard” research. Rather than presenting statistics, this section presents a profile of four generations; Greatgrandparents, Grandparents, Parents, and Children. The findings and recommendations come from the people themselves.

Part 6 is a presentation of specific recommendations on management principles which go beyond programatic concern; will deal with specific tasks which can begin immediately and some fundamental principles for approaches and development.

The objective of the assessment is to identify a basic structure with principles from which First Nations can approach the issue of Child Welfare programs.

Fire & Ice: Natives, Alcohol and Spirituality, a Northern Health Paradigm (PDF)

Fire & Ice: Natives, Alcohol and Spirituality, a Northern Health Paradigm

Pamela Colorado, Ph.D.
Faculty of Social Welfare
University of Calgary
4401 University Drive
Lethbridge, Alberta

The Language Between the Cultures
Native and non-native interaction is powerfully and intricately interwoven with western science. Native alcoholism and the way it has been addressed provides insight to this complex phenomena and illuminates the possibility of global sobriety. From initial contact to contemporary times, the scientific view of the Indian has evolved through stages. Each stage has dramatically impacted the lives of both peoples.
Stage One, Scientific Racism
Scientific inquiry and literature on American Indians was born in the scientific racism of the nineteenth century. This doctrine replaced the word, “nation” with the word, “race” and assumed that moral qualities of people were positively correlated with physical characteristics; further, that all humanity could be divided into superior and inferior stocks (Berkhofer, 1978).
Typical of his time, Leslie Scott (1891) wrote an article entitled, “Indian” Diseases as Aids to Pacific Northwest Settlement” in which he States:

…Wherever went the white man’s appetites and wares went also his afflications which multiplied manifold in the savage habitat. Indians in the white man’s clothing, in his houses, in his liquor drinking, were like the cultures of malignant germs which the scientist multiplies in his laboratory…. throughout the entire West the Indians were victims, but perhaps nowhere else so badly as in the Pacific Northwest; and nowhere else were the results so good for the whites….

Thus, scientific arguments provided a rationale and a justification for the genocide and ruthless appropriation of Indian lands. Political rhetoric of the early 1800’s which was filled with optimism for the human race and the improvability of humankind gave way in 1850 to a strident “pessimism for inferior races and a belief in ineradicable racial weakness” (Horsman, 1975). In a popular work of the mid 1800’s phrenologist Combe argued that comparison of the heads of American Indians and Blacks demonstrated that Indian intellect was weaker but pride stronger therefore Blacks…

…were able to appreciate the superior moral and intellectual powers of the European race, and are content in some measure to live under their guidance.
The Indian on the contrary has refused to profit, to any great extent by the arts of literature of the Europeans and has always preferred death to servitude.

Bailey, who wrote as late as 1922, codified the scientific racist paradigm when he stated:

“From the statistics which relate to the two so-called primitive races, the African and the American Indian, it appears that the primitive could not under any present circumstances attain the average intelligence of cultured races. This appears to be so, not because there is any detailed information as to the potentiality of the primitive mind but because mental deficiency is so profuse that their average intelligence must be inferior to that of average European intelligence.”

Because Native alcoholism was understood to be a function of inferior biological stock, the treatment was death or near death. This view, turned on Native medicine and healers was examplified in a letter written in 1892 by Mrs. Willard, Christian Missionary who wrote:

It is here….I would speak of the Kling-get (Tlingit) fiend, the medicine man, and beg of those in authority to cause his extermination. His incantations should be held a crime and his uncut hair, his touch of power, should be shaved clean to his head; the whipping post and work under guard on public improvements would be better than a prison….(Dauenhauer, 1980)

These scientific “proofs” continued to assert innate Indian inferiority and establish complete confidence in ultimate Indian disappearance. In fact, scientific racism marched hand in hand with expansionists who at the close of the 19th century had exterminated more than twenty-five million Indian people!

Survivors of this “paradigm” became subject to the emerging cultural anthropological paradigm – at its worse a covert form of scientific racism and at its best, a harbinger of the golden age in Indian policy.

Cultural Anthropology, the Second View
In the birth of ethnography and cultural anthropology (beginning in the last part of the 19th century) the raciology and the evolutionism of scientific racism was repudiated. Boasian scholars such as Swanton, and later, Kroeber, espoused the idea of culture to explain the diversity of lifestyles of humankind. The cultural anthropological school separated biological heredity from the social transmission of culture, challenging previous work in the field.

Using empirical methodology, Boasian scholars stressed the import of replacing evolutionary history of Natives with actual history. They were convinced that tribal change, including alcoholism, happened more as a result of diffusion among tribes from a unilinear sequence of modifications in cultural perceptions and practices presumed by evolutionists.

This shift in thought produced dramatically different research. Radin (1972) wrote:

“the relationship of conquered to conqueror is important to both. Up to the present, all attempts that have been made to understand them, or to come to any reasonable adjustments with them have met with signal failure, and this failure is in most instances due to the scientific accredited theories of the innate inferiority of primitive man…”

Drawing on this earlier thinking, Lemert (1954) studied Haida and other Northwest tribes. His research indicated that alcoholism was not a function of race; that greatest drunkeness occurred when tribes were intensely involved in fur trade. Lemert argued that anomie, interclan rivalry and cultural conservatism were the most appropriate way to view Northwest Native alcoholism.

Lemert’s findings were typical of those in the flowering of cultural anthropology in the 1950’s. From this time forward, any discussion of Native alcoholism would include “culture”. The word “primitive” was no longer used to refer to Alaska Natives; empiricism became the method and major theories of deviance and social control became the philosophical underpinnings of future research.

The Sociocultural Model – A Third View of Native Alcoholism
The activism of American Indians, the Civil Rights Movement and the growth of the human sciences brought national attention and funds to the problem of alcoholism among Native people. The field exploded, producing more studies in a single decade than in the preceding fifty years. (Bates, 1980) More than half the literature continued to be anthropological (Leland, 1970) but the sociocultural model was emerging. This model,

derives from the view…that human behavior is the complex resultant of any interplay of biological and historical factors including interactions among systems that can be distinguished as those of the culture, the society and the individual…” (Berkhofer, 1970)

The contribution of the sociocultural model include: freeing Natives from the “ethnographic present” of anthropological research. No longer were Native people frozen in time. The model led to awareness that the effects of ethanol include social, economic, historical and cultural factors as well as chemical, physical and biological factors. Using history as a methodological tool, socio-cultural theorists have shown how attitudes, values and ways of drinking have changed in various ways and at different rates in many cultures. (Heath, 1980) Finally, this multi-disciplinary approach of the sociocultural model showed a propensity to get within the society being studied, to see history and life from the view of the people being studied.

The application of this science looked different from previous models. Psychiatrists and physicians including Bergman (1971) and Pascarosa (1976) participated in traditional Indian ceremonies and reported that Native science or way of coming to knowledge was efficacious, rigorous and humane. Native alcoholism and health sciences united. Alcoholism was viewed as a medical problem properly treated with technology. Publicly funded community programs struggled to integrate Western and Native healing techniques.

A second significant event that occurred was the emergence of the first generation of college educated Native scientists. This small group used the sociocultural model to talk with non-Native people about Native issues. Their work looked to external forces – historical, economic and political, as causative agents of Indian problems. The work was concerned with continuity, tended to be highly descriptive and combined realistic and spiritual themes.

The New Empiricism, a Fourth Model
Early sociocultural research produced a wealth of descriptive and explanatory studies but few claims were made for scientific rigor (Heath, 1980) and the need for definitive studies pushed empiricism to the fore (Nobel, 1976). The nascent cross-cultural scientific exchange was effectively halted as the study of “Native People” moved toward the harder sciences.

As a result of the new more rigorous and robust scientific empiricism, fundamental issues were raised regarding previous work. First scientists recognized that Native social problems are a complex phenomenon about which little is known; second, data collection and interpretation problems presented manifold problems and finally, the appropriateness of theoretical models was called into question.

“…it is not clear that the disease we call alcoholism is the same in both white and Indian societies or even that there is one unified pathology we call alcoholism. Those indicators, both behavioral and physiological, which have been used to diagnose alcoholism in the White society have been found to be determined in part by sociocultural factors. The behavioral indicators have been most frequently used to diagnose the presence of alcoholism in Indian populations. Since the association between these behaviors and either a physiological predispositions to drink has not been demonstrated, there must be an effort on the part of clinically oriented researchers to observe and measure the causative agents of alcoholism more directly if, in fact, this is possible…” (Nobel, 1976)

Lacking a precise definition or clear understanding of the variety of Native cultures meant that the new empiricism was confounded in its earliest efforts. And the increasing reliance on sophisticated analysis produced a new set of problems:

“There is a growing concern about where quantitative techniques are carrying us…our data manipulation techniques are carrying us…our data manipulation techniques have become increasingly complete mathematically sophisticated and governed by strict assumption, but, paradoxically, our interpretive frameworks which make such data meaningful have grown looser, more open ended, fluid and contingent…there seems to be rather widespread skepticism surrounding the ability of conventional data collection techniques to produce data that do not distort, do violence to, otherwise falsely portray the phenomena such methods seek to reveal…” (Van Mannen, 1979).

Thus, in the early 1980’s alcohol research and the science that guided the research were again in search of a paradigm that would work. Van Mannen observed:

“…there is something of a quiet reconstruction going on in the social sciences…There has come of age that significant realization that the people we study (and often seek to assist) have a form of life, a culture that is their own and if we wish to understand…we must first be able to both appreciate and describe their culture…”

Toward a New Paradigm
The sterility that characterized the findings of much of the “New Empiricism”, triggered a movement back towards holistic and qualitative research in Native alcoholism. Theories of Paulo Freire, South American educator, and research by UNESCO prompted researchers to look at culture in a very different way. Freire observed:

Research is a cultural action, if it has a humanist character, it is eminently dialogical and dialectical. In culture based research, “MEN DO NOT ACT ON OTHER MEN AS OBJECTS”.

Freire concluded that research should not be

“our research on you, but rather a research project in which, together, in dialogue, we will come to know each other better and the reality in which we find ourselves so that we can more effectively transform that reality”.

For the first time scientists began to recognize that Native people have a voice, and by extension, a way of knowing or science. Methodologies and approaches have evolved from this recognition. Popular writer, Milam, typifies the movement towards synthesis. While arguing for medical dominance of the filed he nevertheless recognizes that the “ism” in alcoholism necessarily involves a human or family system not merely the alcoholic. Participatory research, systems theory and family therapy all focus on relationships, development and the strengths of an existing system.

In Canada application of Native science has sparked a fire in Indian alcohol treatment. Tache a small reserve in British Columbia has used its mobile treatment model to move from 100% alcoholism to 95% sobriety. According to Maggie Hogson, Director of Nechi Training Institute, the spark has now jumped over to Alberta and other parts of Canada. The key to this phenomenal success lies in a careful integration of western treatment methodology and Native traditional ways.

These methods complement, native science and offer the possibility of intercultural scientific exchange. Native Alcohol work, usually the unwelcome relative to “harder” science, may draw on its theoretical underpinnings of wholism to assume leadership in the new pardigmatic shift. The firs step is to ask Native People, what is Indian science?


“…This is what Raven did for us…The shelter is the tree…”

Indian science, often understood through the tree, is holistic. Through spiritual processes it synthesizes or gathers information from the mental, physical, social and cultural/historical realms. Like a tree the roots of Native science go deep into the history, body and blood of the land. The tree collects, stores and exchanges energy. It breathes with the winds, which tumble and churn through greenery exquisitely fashioned to purify, codify and imprint life in successive concentric rings – the generations. Why and how the tree does this is a mystery but the Indian observes the tree to emulate, complement and understand his/her relationship to this beautiful, life-enhancing process.

The Meaning of Science
To the Indian, the tree is the first spirit or person on Earth. Indeed, the tree which oxygenated Earth’s atmosphere, is the precursor to our human existence. Because of its antiquity it is a respected Elder but the greatest power of Native Science lies in the reasons behind the trees existence.

When discussing the origins of the tree Chief Donawaak, Tlinget Elder says:

“This is where stories begin, there is no story before this…When Raven spirit and Black Raven are working on this land, they put coves in it where you can come in when it’s blowing – a place where you can come ashore.

My Great Grandfather who told this story to me said – the cove is where you’re going to be safe. If you pass that harbour you’re not going to go very far…you will tip over or drown. But if you come to the cove you will be safe. This is what Raven did for us. The shelter is the tree. You could get under the tree and stay there overnight. All this is what the Raven did…(Colorado, 1985)

From these words we see that Native science has a sacral basis and that its teachings are grounded in the natural world. The Navajo and the Natural World are one; he expresses that unity this way:

The foundation, you have to know your roots, where you are coming from. It is understood that we all come from God, God created us. But you have to understand in your own Indian way, where your roots are. You see a tree that is weak, about to give up. Sometimes you find people like that. Why is that tree just barely making it. Because the roots are not strong. If the roots are solid and strong, then you see the tree is strong and pretty. It can withstand cold, hot weather and winds. The human, has to have those roots because we are growing too. The Great Spirit put us here with nature. We have to understand the nature. That is why we understand how an animal behaves. That is why we have to talk to them. We don’t pray to them, we talk to them because they breathe the same air we do. We are put here with them. We are also a part of the plant life. We are always growing, we have to have strong roots. (Colorado, 1985)

Indeed all of life can be understood from the tree.

…just after the earths crust was formed Raven (the Creator) made the tree. Why did he make this tree? He made it to shelter us. Even before Raven broke light on the World, people took shelter from the tree. And after he broke light, look what your sitting on, what’s above you, it comes from the tree.

And that’s where the Tlingit gets his canoe, his house, his clothes – everything. The Raven put it there for him (the people).

And look, what’s growing under that tree? The grass. In the spring the Bear comes down to eat that grass and the wolf, the moose and the mountain goat. All these things, they come. And the berries, growing there – salal, salmonberry, huckleberry and beneath them, the plants, the medicine. All that, it comes from the tree… (Colorado, 1985)

So the roots and their functions form the basis of Native scientific methodology. Seeking truth and coming to knowledge necessitates studying the cycles, relationships and connections between things. Indeed a law of Native science requires that we look ahead seven generations when making decisions!

Principles of Native Science

Laws and standards govern Native science just as they do western science. In an Indian way, Bear who is the North, represents knowledge, healing and comfort. The Bear is also fierce, his claims are non-negotiable. Western Science understands Bear in terms of rigor, reliability, and validity.

In the spring Bear marks his territory on the tree. Stretching as far as possible, Bear uses his claws to score the tree. Other bears, passing by are challenged to meet this standard. If they cannot reach the mark they leave the territory. For the Native scientist the tree is not merely science but science interwoven inseparably with life. We meet the mark or die. Like the Bear passing through, no one watches us; the science relies on utmost integrity.

Native science assumes its character through power and peace. Vine Deloria (1986) noted Lakota scholar discusses its principles:

Here power and place are dominant concepts–power being the living energy that inhabits and/or composes the universe, and place being the relationship of things to each other…put into a simple equation: Power and place produce personality. This equation simply means that the universe is alive, but it also contains within it the very important suggestion that the universe is personal and, therefore, must be approached in a personal manner…The personal nature of the universe demands that each and every entity in it seek and sustain personal relationships. Here, the Indian theory of relativity is much more comprehensive than the corresponding theory articulated by Einstein and his fellow scientists. The broader Indian idea of relationship, in a universe very personal and particular, suggests that all relationships have a moral content. For that reason, Indian knowledge of the universe was never separated from other sacred knowledge about ultimate spiritual realities. The spiritual aspect of knowledge about the world taught the people that relationships must not be left incomplete. There are many stories about how the world came to be, and the common themes running through them are the completion of relationships and the determination of how this world should function.

Deloria notes that there is no single Native science, each tribe or Nation follows ways specific to a locale. However, the tree and the Bear are nearly universal. From South America to the Arctic, the tree and all that it implies has been guiding and shaping the thought of Native people since the dawn of humanity. Those who follow this natural science do so in search of balance, harmony or peace with all living relations. Iroquois call this SKANAGOAH.

The Goal of Indian Science
Skanagoah, literally interpreted as “great peace”, is the term used to describe the still, electrifying awareness one experiences in the deep woods. This feeling or state of balance is at the heart of the universe and is the spirit of Native science. For the western educated audience, the notion of a tree with spirit is a difficult concept to grasp. The English language classifies reality into animate and inanimate objects, with most things falling into the inanimate classification. Native languages do not make the same distinction. As Deloria says, the universe is alive. Therefore, to see a Native speaking with a tree does not carry the message of mental instability, on the contrary, this is a scientist engaged in research!

Put another way, western thought may accede that all natural things are imbued with energy. Much like the electromotive force in a capacitor, the force of the energy is transmitted without there being a direct flow of energy. If you had a piece of wire, electricity would travel from one end to the other uninterrupted. But if you put a capacitor in the line, the force is transmitted from one side to the other without there being a direct flow of electricity form one side to the other. This is how energy is transferred from tree to tree to tree to person without there being a direct flow of energy. The spiritual energy of a tree isn’t transmitted directly but rather its life force is felt. Like a capacitor, the thickness of the dielectric, the physical distance between the person and the tree, is not important; the exchange still occurs.

This exchange suggest that human beings play a vital part in Skanagoah. Western thought teaches the value of the specialist, especially to the masses who are mostly generalists. In an Indian way, we may think of the Bear as a specialist, indeed, if I compete with the Bear in his own environment and on his terms, there is no way I can match his proficiency. But the generalist, in this case, human beings determine the continuance of Bear’s habitat. We are related, we are all one, life and death, good and bad, we are all one. The Indian acknowledges this and so discovers the most liberating aspect of Native science; LIFE RENEWS and all things which support life are renewable.

The struggle through Native alcoholism has repeatedly brought two peoples together. Let us hope that the fire of sobriety sparked in northern communities, spreads south and our sciences lead the way.

The Bear Has Made His Mark…
Can you Reach It?

In the Company of Women: Complementary Ways of Organizing Work (PDF)

Struggling down the cellar stairs with a forty-pound laundry basket at the end of a long day in the 1970’s I said to myself “I wonder where the laundry would be located if a woman had designed this house?” This laundry epiphany prompted a later observation in graduate school, “How come there aren’t any women in these research populations defining leadership?” My next thought was “How would these organizations look if they were designed by women?” These questions illustrate the threshold of perception a woman crosses in recognizing hte existence of a pervasive paradigm that does not include her. Once awakened, a casual scan of the nightly news will confirm the fact that the viewpoints of her half of the human population are rarely included in the crucial debates and decisions being made on the global stage.
Models are representations of key concepts and operating principles. When applied to organizations, they indicate what we pay attention to when we gather to do work. The predominant organization models that we use today were historically designed by men, in the West, by white men. As a consequence, they reflect male values and favor rewarding masculine behaviors. This fact has generally been overlooked in discussions of organizations. To seek answers to these questions I spent two decades applying a gender lens to the structure and dynamics, the look and feel of organizations through sponsored research which I conducted from 1981 to 1997 with over 1500 women leaders in public and private sector organizations on four continents. The forms of organizing studied were formal and informal, since women’t work transcends the standard definition of workplaces. The structures studied ranged from the predominating male-defined ones, through women-owned businesses with mixed management, to women-only businesses. It was in the latter group that the clearest manifestation of women’s unique modes of work emerged. The field study concentrated on twelve women-owned and women-only work structures. From the research findings and field applications I conclude that:
Women’s ways of conceptualizing and organizing to do work are essentially different than men’s;
Those ways are complementary, not competitive. By combining the best of both men’s and women’s models, an entirely new paradigm can be created, one that holds the promise of creating wholeness and balance for organizations struggling to adapt to the challenges of change;
To transform traditional models will require examination of the core beliefs we bring to, and find reflected in, the design and operation of our organizations.

Exploring Women and Men’s Ways of Organizing to do Work
This research explores the emerging models of the other half and views them as complementing existing models. Since we are familiar with the historically male-derived organization, we will primarily focus on the emerging female form.
Women’s Ways of Organizing
The work environments conceived and developed by women were found to reflect a preference for organic structure and collaborative operation where the flow of the work defines the form of the organization and information is shared freely among members, without attachmento to functional position. Context and processes are characterized by a strong commitment to values, with particular attention to building relationships in order to establish the trust needed to accomplish complex tasks. When women design and operate the organization, they pay attention to process as well as outcomes and describe operations in unique language, symbols and metaphors
The Embryonic Model: An Organic Design
Let us enter this new territory through the experience of a national woman’s service organization that successfully transformed their purpose, structure and operation using a consciously feminine model. Their challenge was to reinvent an eighty-year old, hierarchically structured institution that had lost focus, commitment and participation while retaining a nationwide membership, dedicated staff and generous endowment. They successfully met the challenge by using the organization design process to transform the energy as well as the focus of the organization from a static hierarchy to a dynamic embryonic form.
They began by envisioning the new organization as a success in a weekend process that gave form to what it would take to get to that state. Next they aligned their personal values with the organization’s to determine three principles that guided the redesign process:
question all existing organizational standards and structures, processes and procedures, language and symbols for congruence with women-centered values which were defined as cooperation, interdependence, inclusiveness, and process-orientation.
adopt “a level glance” in all deliberations acknowledging a female preference for status-level vs. status-enhancing interactions. This approach posited webs of connection that viewed staff and board members as peers rather than hierarchies that rank people by function, or what Dr. Deborah Tannen would call the female desire for “symmetrical connection”.
use a collaborative model where system-wide inputs would be sought and aired, a collaborative approach to decision-making would be utilized, experimentation and learning from errors would be encouraged and attention would be given to process as well as task.

Flow Determines Form
The critical point in restructuring was committing to the design, a point where many organization redesigns flounder. To do this the women employed a manifestation of the mind-body connection in which intuition is employed to support feelings in a process of “being with” a situation or event. This is a process natural to women which I call “female embodiment.” In this case the planners immersed themselves in the imagined flow of both an ordinary day and a crisis situation to test the functionality of the restructured design. They described this process as getting a feel for the dynamics of how the work flowed through the proposed structure. Joanna Macy, an environmental educator, writes of this capability as female internalization of external events. In her workshops, women repeatedly described environmental degradation not as an intellectual concept but as a physical experience which some called the rape of the planet. After the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, several of my female coaching clients spoke of their inability to watch the televised replay as the impact of the plane on the Twin Tower evoked a physical reaction described by one as a blow to her body.
By sensing relationship of the functions of the organization in this way, the roles needed to operationalize the design became clear to the planners. It also became clear that two functions, finance and communication, were pivotal the success of the reinvented organization because they enable and define the system where it interfaces with the ooutside world. These functions were repositioned to surround the operational core with a permeable membrane marking this critical boundary. By intuiting alterations to the structure in this organic way, buy-in is incremental and on-going and continues today.
The Role of Female-Referent Language
Another unique outcome of applying a feminine consciousness to organization design was the use of nature-based language to describe the dynamic they wanted to achieve using metaphors drawn mainly from botany and biology. From the beginning, the board and staff wanted to reframe the impersonal, analytical language traditionally used in strategic planning. They saw it as creating a distance between the planners and the system. Instead they called the strategic planning process “midwifing the new organization”. Surveying stakeholder inpputs was “tilling the soil.” Actions to improve effectiveness were named “nurturing” and increases in funding were “watering” the system. Marketing was renamed “seeding”, new programs were called “buds” established programs, “flower”, new initiatives, “petals.” The reinvented organization came into being.
Collaboration in Action: Relationship-based Decision-Making
Findings suggest that women with a history of being an intact group do some amazing problem-solving. One group studied was six women who wanted to travel at personal expense to Santa Fe for an important meeting. They were of varying economic means and did not want cost to be a reason to exclude anyone’s participation. The women had built trust over seven years by periodically engaging in a process of sharing and listening to the details of one another’s lives and careers, devoid of judgement or unsolicited advice. Based on this established relationship, they devised a collaborative decision-making process that they had used on five subsequent journeys.
First they determined what they needed for the trip, including food, lodging, transportation and a “wish list” of activities. Next, priorities were determined by consensus. Then, a cost was determined for each aspect of the trip. The total cost was announced. Seated in a circle, members reflected silently on their commitment to making the journey and their individual economic situation. Each member then wrote on a piece of paper what she could afford to contribute and put the paper in the center of the table. Some of the anonymous contributions were hundreds of dollars, some thousands. Each was based on an honest assessment of the individual’s ability to pay. The total was fifty dollars in excess of the required amount.
Key aspects of this collaborative approach show up in all of the women’s groups studied in my research.They are: 1) the high value given to inclusion, 2) building relationships before addressing complex tasks, 3) sharing personal as well as professional information, 4) relating as peers and 5) encouraging a continuous and open flow of information.
The Spiral: A Diffuse Idea Incubator
Women in the groups I studied pursue ideas in an expansive way. Conceptualized as a spiral, an ancient symbol for the female creative life force, the process women use moves from idea generation to attracting interest and involvement by sharing the ideas freely with the goal of attracting others. As Carol Frenier noted men use a focused consciousness, notice content and seek a finite solution. Women use a diffuse lens, notice context and remain open to multiple potential resolutions. The aim is not to settle on one idea and focus on one outcome, but to allow a multiplicity of ideas to emerge and expand, providing space for viable ideas to embed and grow.
Once attracted, members move in and out of these collaborative efforts over time based on situational responsibilities, which may include family care. Periodic detachment did not appear to negatively influence subsequent participation in the project. The spiral model is distinguished by and relies on collaboration, an open flow of information, experimentation and a willingness to both tolerate and learn from errors. This is accomplished by observing and sharing information on what’s working and what isn’t that result in adaptations to the flow and outcome of the process.

Men’s Ways of Organizing
The work environments originated and developed by men can be seen to reflect a preference for hierarchical structures, with orders coming down from the top and reports moving up from the bottom. The leader is located at the top and access to information is stratified according to functional position or an informal network. Highly focused on results, this model can miss emerging factors critical to operations.

The Arrow: A Focused Dynamic
The arrow model, suggested by Bill Page, futurist, represents the linear, sequential progression of a concept from inception to completion. Direct, quantifiable and outcome focused, this is the standard applied in our society to accomplish work. This basic model suggests the focused instrumentality of an arrow.

A Natural Connection: The Models Mimic Nature
Quantum physics and folk wisdom tells us that “The whole is reflected in the parts” or “As above, so below.” I suggest that the distinctive designs of men’s and women’s organizations reflect a hologram of their distinctive essence, including their reproductive function. Complementarity denotes a functional fit with the other half. It is why the male of the species is physiologically designed to fit the female in the act of creating neew life. In the Asian understanding of yin and yang the two halves create a whole, not a polarity; they represent completion, not opposition.
Brain structure also differs in the male and the female. There is more connective tissue (corpus callosum) linking the left and right hemispheres of the female brain, increasing her capacity to switch from the left, linear, abstract hemisphere to the the right, holistic, concrete hemisphere. The male brain has a preference for dealing with discrete events, sequentially. This primordial difference in brain structure leads to a facility for multi-tasking and whole pattern thinking in females and for focused, sequential thinking ind males. The arrow model reflects the linear thinker, as does the standard organization chart. The spiral suggests the generative flow of the creative process, providing time and space for ideas to grow.
Complementarity is reflected in the biological make-up of men and women. For example, in the construction of the visual mechanism of the eye, female rods have a capacity to see diffuse patterns and wholes and male cones have a capacity to focus discretely with specificity and acuity. (Ramsey, Shlain) These biological tendencies when applied to organizing to do work could result in an organization primed to scan for emerging trends while paying attention to bottom line results.
If the arrow represents a direct route to effect an idea, the spiral represents a diffuse process of generating and refining a multiplicity of ideas. If the spiral is the incubator where ideas are conceived, nurtured and developed and the arrow is the vehicle that transforms ideas into products and services, then combining the two would insure that great ideas are successfully grown and launched into the system. New ideas need a safe container where they can be tested and improved., where they can attract key support before being introduced into the organization, the society. Further, if we consider the spiral as a idea incubator it becomes a dynamic metaphor for the womb after conception. Here only viable ideas would embed and grow; since the womb rejects a conception that is seriously flawed. Therefore, ideas that emerge from such incubators are biased for quality and strength. To combine the spiral and the arrow is to capitalize on the strength of both.
Conversly, to encourage imbalance by encouraging one and discouraging the other is to court dysfunction. Most of us can recall efforts dominated by female ways of organizing that were so inclusive and emergent that they couldn’t reach a decision and efforts doinated by male ways of organizing that were so focused on results that they missed important emerging factors.

The Challenge to Change Agents
If the organizations we serve are to achieve resilient, strong cultures able to capitalize on change they, and we, need to consider these challenges:
Transform our organizations and institutions by acknowledging that they are constructed on a base that capitalizes on only half of our human potential.
The fact that the basic model for our organizations is male-defined goes all but unnoticed by today’s organization design and development community. As a result, we do our work in a construct whose very invisibility threatens our ability to influence it, to improve its operation. In its many manifestations, whether public or private, business or bureaucracy, for profit or not, our organizations still reflect the thinking of the men who conceptualized and built them. The myth has been that the basic model is inclusive. If the numbers of senior women bailing out of corporations to start their own business is to be believed, one size does not fit all.
Balance our systems by including the authentic feminine voice in arenas of decision-making.
The authentic feminine voice is developed at the individual level through introspection on living life as a female and reflection on how that experience has affected ones impact on her world. This includes engaging at a physical, emotional and intellectual level with the impact of internalized cultural scripts for gender and external institutional sexism on her life choices. THe goal of tilling this soil, which is not without suffering, is expanded consciousness. From the ground of her being comes the courage to speak the truth of a woman’s knowing. A writer describes her efforts to access her feminine voice: “Gradually it dawned on me that I was unconsciously used to a masculine mentality and writing style. I was approaching the task through my head. I had to drop into my body…to balance masculine discrimination, rational, analytical, with feminine sensibility, empathy, feelings.” (Simkinson)
Go forward in wholeness by addressing and moving beyond ancient and global beliefs, deeply embedded in men and women, that regards the female as “less than” and essentially flawed.
The original act of discrimination into “better than” and “less than” groups occurred between males and females thousands of years ago. It occurred on a global scale. This opinion about the relative value of humans by sex was conveyed primarily through religious tradition. The belief that males took precedence over females was later reinforced by the family and society. Over time, negative attributes were ascribed to being “less than”. Females were considered to have less intelligence, less strength, less ability to complete any number of tasks from studying in school to leading nations. These views resulted in girls and women not being accorded equal status with boys and men, being considered essentially flawed. This opinion prevailed in societies all over the world until late in the 20th Century. Ancient beliefs are deeply embedded and operating primarily below the level of consciousness in people. These beliefs do not go away at the office door.

Embracing Complementarity
Energy is gathering among people active in the important work of social justice and organization effectiveness. These are people who envision a world where a multiplicity of ideas are valued, where no single point of view dominates. These people are beginning to understand that the input of females is needed at top levels of public and private sector organizations and institutions. This is movement toward complementarity.
Key to the development of complementarity is the understanding that until girls and women are honored and valued society will not succeed in transforming the way we order life and structure organizations. Bringing the authentic voice of a critical mass of women into arenas of decision making will transform the way we operate our commerce and governance, our communities and our planet.
We need both halves of humanity to run a business, build a community, co-exist on the planet.

Relevant Postscript
At lectures and presentations, I have been repeatedly asked why I use the words “male” and “female,” “masculine” and “feminine”; why I don’t use “less polarizing” terms to create more joining and less jolting, to be more team oriented and less threatening. It is because I want to keep before us the core issue at hand: the ancient, pervasive and largely unconscious devaluing of the human female. As a result, I am concerned that some male decision-makers in institutions and organizations will assume that the desirable attributes observed in female ways of working can be appropriated by males, thereby obviating the need to adapt to include “the other”. I am concerned that women will continue to populate middle and lower levels of management and therefore some will see themselves as fit only to serve in support roles in organizations and in life. I am concerned that both men and women will continue to be suspicious of women’s capabilities for top leadership of our society, thereby supporting the status quo.
The source of this concern is to be found in the numbers and their consistency over time. Women are not rising to the top of the major organizations that perform the world’s commerce and governance in numbers that reflect their fifty-one percent of the population of the world, their decades of experience as contributors in mainstream organizations or their substantial educational qualifications. Women in the U.S. are still only 3% of CEO’s and 18% of Congress forty years after passage of the Civil Rights Act. At a time in history when the voices of women are needed for global decisions affecting every aspect of their and their children’s lives including the environment, globalization and its impact on women laborers, the conduct of war, they are noticeable in their absence, their exclusion. Until a critical mass of females are welcomed into arenas of decision-making, transformation will elude our best efforts.

20 August 1988 Personal Correspondence on Community Culture Healing, Spirit and Science (PDF)

Aug. 20, ’88.

Dear Pam

I write to you again. For your laugh, I quote a joke.

“A famous physicist worried about Library space projected

that, at the present rate of increase in the number of articles

published in Physical Review, they will soon reach a rate which

will have to fill library shelves with the Speed exceeding that

of Light. However, this does not violate the Principle of

Relativity, for the journals contain no Information.

[Physics Today Aug. ’88. P. 9.]

– – – – – – – – –

I have a proposal to make, and I would like to discuss the

matter. How about writing a paper on European and Native

Community/Culture Healing as a Therapy/Medicine? I know I am

trying to push you to do an Academic thing. But, now that you

moved, there is nothing much I can do anyway. So perhaps it is

safe to make a proposal. Besides, I do not know how “Community/

Culture Healing” would fit with what you do on the job. Please

let me know the situation.

The idea came from reading an article by William K. Powers

“Alternatives To Western Psychotherapy: Modern-Day Medicine Man”

mentioned before [In Beyond The Vision U. of Oklahoma Press 1987.

Psychotherapy has Psychoanalysis as a theoretical part, though

the relation of “Theory” and “Practice” contains problems.

Likewise, Native Medicine has Native Science, though the relation

between them may be different from that in European system. But

the Science ought to be relevant and helpful to practice of the

Medicine. In fact, we have been deciphering Native Science from

the Medicine in the traditional culture, as the Science existed

there to deal with problems in life.

The comparison of the complex of science-therapy in Western

Culture to one in another Culture is interesting enough. But I am

not just proposing to make a comparison. Something new is added.

Native Community/Culture is facing new problems stemming from its

encounter with Western Ideology and Technology. The new problems

require new responses. It means more trouble, but that also means

a new development in Science for both sides. As a “Wisdom”,

Native Science needs not to change, but its expressions have to

reflect the changed environment in order to be helpful to the

people. You have been on that task. But if you wish to elaborate

on Native Science at higher and deeper level of

Native Science, working out “practical applications” is one of

the ways to do that. Comparison is a mere entry device.

As “Spirit” is revealed through manifestations, the Science

is learnable through “working it out” (praxis). Writing a paper

is a way of helping people who face up to the problems and

looking for ways of healing. The paper may look “theoretical”,

but it is (i) a report on experiences, and/or (ii) elaboration of

“strategy”. It is not “Wisdom” itself, but it is an intermediate

“translation” in a sense of being an “approach to”, or a “way

to”. Just as we cannot prescribe “Vision”, we cannot describe

“Wisdom”. We can, however, talk about experiences or the

procedure leading up to it.

And, to the extent the problems are brought by “European”

things, what we write have to contain “European” things. That is

the necessity of the circumstance, and also from the work being

“translation”, “interface”, and “praxis in the present world”.

There is an element of “Beating European Intellect at its

own Game”. We might say “If Europeans brought Guns to Natives,

Native Science can shoot the same guns better”, or “If Christians

talk of Love, Native Science does it better”. It is not that

competition is the aim, but the pains and suffering of the people

under “European Power Science” is real — unfortunately we in

bourgeoisie academy do not immediately experience them — and a

way of Medicine/Therapy must be proposed now.

Actually, for this, it probably matters little if it is

called “Native Science”, “Marxism”, or “Born-Again Christianity”.

There are “Natives” colonized all over the World, even in Europe.

In some degree, I have a special interest in Japanese affairs

which do contain “Native Problems”, and you have “Native

Americans’ in the center of your heart, and in that we are

“Racists”. But I do have something beyond that, which has to do

with “People”, “Humans,”, not “Race”. I am not helping Native

Americans as a Race. It makes me feel sad to think, but I stand

outside “Native American Science” — She is your baby. I adore

her, but that is all I can —. At least, I try to avoid becoming

a “Fake Indian”. [I saw an NFB film on Long Lance: “Chief Buffalo


It does give me a pain of being an “Outsider”, forever

segregated and cast away from the happy community of people whom

I care, but I hope I have a spiritual strength to withstand the

alienation. The danger of the alienation becoming a bitterness

and then intellectua1 arrogance is great. But that is where

devices, strategies such as Participatory Research come in. It is

an intellectual thing to do, and as such, it perhaps is not quite


satisfying. If Alcoholism is a problem, Intellectualism is also a


However, I think that there is a “meaning” in both

Alcoholism and Intellectualism. Rejecting or rather pretending

that one is staying clear out of the problems, with righteous

contempt, is not an answer. I would much rather have you drinking

and suffering than being like an angel. For the pain can also be

source of creative energy. The period of Colonialism is not yet

over, and if we are comfortable in the World as it is today,

there is no reason for us to do anything about it. At least, in

that way I can talk with you.

I said the above, because if you are “Perfect Indian”,

“Noble Savage Philosopher”, you would not play with an academic

game like writing intellectual paper. A Japanese proverb has it

that “Great Man is a Useless Man” — nobody can use him, nor

does he use anybody —. But, I would like to drag you down to a

lesser being who suffers pain like “ordinary” people do and

could, at the best, be “useful” to people as such. If there is no

problem, pain, malaise, there can be no Science. Both

Intellectualism and Alcoholism are product/expression of

suffering. I would dare further to say that Spiritualizing is a

“moral equivalent” of Alcoholism.

Now, that has been my excuse to you to make a proposal. For

you to judge whether it is helpful or not, you would ask what it

involves. So I shall explain.

One important thing Powers missed in the article is that

Native Medicine is done as “Communal Affair”, if not “Ceremony”,

whereas Western Psychotherapy is highly individualistic ritual.

That stems from Psychoanalysis being an analysis (theoretical

construct) about the Individual. Freud’s paradigm is to “adjust”

deviant individuals to the given Civilization (*1). C.G. Jung saw

this defect/limitation in Freud’s works. He went to “Collective

Unconscious” etc. to correct the ignorance/ignoring, and made

“Psychoanalysis” useful in “Social Psychology”, “Anthropology”

and “Linguistics”. Jung’s works were closer to Hegelian Field

Dynamics, as a contrast to Newton-Kantian Mechanics of Freud. And

it opened a way to “Cultural Analysis”, supplementing “Social

Analysis/Criticism” of Marx et al. You might say it is

“Environmental Science” in contrast to Individualistic/Atomistic

Science of a single Tree.

(*1) [To be sure, Freud did write Der Zukunft einer Illusion

1927, Das Unbehagen in der Kultur 1930. It is interesting

to note that the English translation of the second book is

“Civilization and Its Discontents”. Freud knew better than


Civilization with Culture. But the title was approved by

Freud. The reason become clear if one reads the book. The

“culture” of Europe in the 20th century is nothing but a

“Civilization” — i.e. Technopolis —. Freud, in his zeal

to establish his science to be an Eternal Truth, totally

ignored History of European Social Technology. (Jung failed

in this respect as well.) It is surprising to see this in

an intellectual circle in which Hegel and Marx were well

known. Perhaps, it was Newton-Kantian blindness to History.

Or, it is because European chemistry (Atomism) was A-
Historical (Non-Dynamical).

It is also interesting to note that, the term “Unbehagen”

is equivalent of French “malaise”, that is more like

“disease”. “Discontent” came from the first title Freud

gave, which was “Das Ungluck”. The translation of the title

is not quite right, but from the content of the book the

English title is just right. That is, Freud failed to treat

the “Disease” of the modern European Civilization in which

he was a part. European Science has had this peculiar

posture of as if God was looking at problems from outside.

Scholars talked as if they themselves had no problem of

their own. A.A. made one progress in this respect in that

they talk of “My problem”. What I like to see is a Science

of “Our problem”.]

However, even Jung did not come to think of “Therapy on

Community”. Social Psychology, Anthropology, or for that matter,

Sociology, Economics, did not think of practice of “Therapy” in

relation to them as “Science”. Marx, Keynes were exceptions. It

was not that Social Scientists did not attempt to influence

Social Policies, or Psychologists did not interfere with

Educational Policies. The relation between these Sciences and

Practices were not only obscured by pretended “Scientific

Objectivity”, or “Value Neutrality”, but also ignored, perhaps,

from their “Static-ism” (inactivism), if not incompetence. They

did not have the degree of relation that physics had with

Industrial applications, and Medical Science had with Clinical


I imagine “Social Work/Welfare” uses existing Social

Sciences as its theoretical grounds (metaphysical axioms and

Rhetoric-Jargons). Yet, I wonder if the relation is clear at all.

Suppose an Economist proved that in a pluralistic society, “the

Value Maximum does not exist”, what change then social

work/welfare as a discipline of practice would undergo? In fact

the proof was given by Arrow in 1940’s (*2), but I am afraid

Scholars in Social Work/Welfare behave as if they are totally

ignorant of implications of Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem, just

as the

most Natural Scientists are oblivious to Godel’s Incompleteness

Proof. If the Science means anything, one would expect certain

effects from changes in the science to changes in the practice,

at least something comparable to that from Medical Science to

Clinical Practice.

I am not saying every “theory” has to have direct and

immediate effects on practices in therapy/healing. For the case

of Native Communities, even the identification of problems is a

problem for itself , let alone talking of Healing. But then, I

would expect that Native Science is relevant and useful in the

identification (diagnosis/analysis). I also expect the Science to

provide a “Language” by which the problems can be described,

communicated, and efficiently understood, so that people can make

an effective co-operation.

Now, I am quite aware that there are difficulties, say in

the relation between Western Sciences and their therapeutic

practices. There exists no such thing as “Sociotherapy”, so that

I cannot comment on what Social Science does. Incidentally,

Gellner mentioned before [The Psychoanalytic Movement. Paldin

1985.] discussed the problems in Psychoanalysis/therapy.

Gellner, however, took a rhetorical posture of comparing

“Psychoanalysis” to other Sciences, and pretended that other

Sciences, particularly Natural Science, have no such problem. It

is false. There is no “Science” that is free from troubles. Every

one of them has one degree of trouble or another. In fact,

Natural Science escapes the trouble by ignoring — only deals

with simple linearized models —. Even our “Logic” has troubles

when it tries to deal with “dynamics”, beyond its traditional

“static” and “atomistic” territory. [Russell’s Paradox, etc. see

The Mathematical Experience. P.J. Davis, R. Hersh. Penguin 1984

for example.] It appears that Gellner is ignorant about these

problems in Western Science. Unfortunately, this ignorance, or

rather ignoring, about Logical foundation is rather universal

among English speaking “philosophers of science”.

[I picked up from the New book section of our library a

book; Philosophy, Science And Social Inquiry, by D.C.

Philips. It is a neat summary of “British-American

Philosophy Of Science”. There is no mention of the problems

in Logic. It has a chapter on “Neo-Hegelian Critique”, but

there is no discussion of Hegel’s “Logic of Science”.

On the other hand, if we read, say, Paul Ricoeur’s Lectures

On Ideology And Utopia, the whole 19th century German

Philosophy, covered by Marx’s German Ideology, was a

struggle on “Science”. But it is

not recognized by British-American Academia. It appears

that there was an implicit censorship by those who were in

the academic “Empire Building”. They appear to be no

different from Racists and Colonialists.]

What is interesting, however, in Gellner’s book is that

despite his implicit rhetorical assumption, the troubles of

Natural Science come out. His criticisms against Psychoanalysis

being not a science are applicable to Natural Science just as

well. That is why it is worth reading

Of course, Freud failed to achieve his ambitious goal.

Rather, he went back to the level of Newtonian Mechanics, and

treated “Civilization” to be a “State of Technology” in a

society. His therapy was a technology of adapting individuals to

the society dominated by the Technology. It did not come to

Therapy on the Technology itself. Besides, he was a self-centered

S.O.B., of which many books had been written. That was very

common, Ego-Inflating effect of the Competitive Intellectualism

that we are under. I hope efforts such as Participatory Research

would take care of the problem of Intellectual imperialism (or

rather Judeo-Christian Superiority-Persecution Complex) in


In this respect, it is interesting to note that Powers

reports on “Abdication” (p.137 point 7). European way of seeing

this is “Loss of Power”. But, I suspect rather it means “retiring

from responsibility obligation”. “Power” in Native lingo probably

means “Function”. One who “has” a Power is obliged to perform the

function. I wonder, in this sense, what “power” university

professors have.

I ought to mention here that Marx also failed in reaching a

“Science” — Marx had never come to elaborate what he meant by

his “Science”, though he was very proud of saying “Scientific

Socialism”, “Proletariat shall have Science to Liberate

themselves”, etc. —. Marx failed to do “Philosophy of

Technology”, but did only “Mechanics of Power”, and consequently

failed to help the construction of the “Science” that was

expected for the Oppressed to develop.

What you want to do in the name of Native Science is what

Marx, Freud, Jung et al. failed to achieve. Therefore, if you

make mistakes here and there, you have nothing to be ashamed of.

Mistakes will hurt you, but that is all. The important thing is

that you pointed the direction, a Vision/Dream/Prophecy.

[You might think I am unduly hard on you, but

actually it is you who picked such a difficult task. It is

as if you are saying you like to jump into a volcano. I

push you over the cliff, because you are standing at the

edge. Afterwards, I and friends of yours will erect a

gravestone there, inscribed as “Here once stood a brave


I would go on further to say Native Science is a way to

“Wisdom”, not the “science” of the European sense. And if it is

“Wisdom”, it has to be in a Community/Culture, not property of

one individual, however genius you are. It can only be developed

by “History”. All we can do is the task of Midwife. And you need

co-operation of many people, and communities (Participatory

Research?). What I am proposing you to write is not Native

Science itself , but merely one among many “about Native Science

— something like “Comparison of What Native and European

Sciences would say about Community Healing/Therapy.” —.

Richard Gwyn, writing on the crushed “Prague Spring” 20

years ago, says: “The real cost of that smashing of a mailed fist

into a gentle smiling face has been an intangible one. The

Czechoslovak sickness of today is neither economic nor political

but is psychological; it can only be described as

institutionalized immorality”. [Leth. Herald. Aug 23.] If one

says this about Czechoslovakia, what must one say about The First

Nations of America? Is it Institutionalized Immorality? And if

so, how does one go about Healing it?


Sam K.

(*2) As to K.J. Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem, see Social Choice

And Individual Value. John Wiley 1951. Cowles Foundation

Monographs vol. 12.

My Economist friend referred me to Q. James, Saposnik, and

Ruben. General Equilibrium And Welfare Economics but I have

not read this.

The main point of Arrow’s Theorem is that “Values” cannot

be ordered in a linear hierarchy (in Boolean Lattice). If a

set of propositions does not form a Boolean Lattice, the

Classical Logic cannot be applied. For Non-Boolean set, the

Probability Calculus becomes unworkable, Quantum Logic is

Non-Boolean. It creates linguistic situations where The

Principle of Exclusion of the Middle breaks down


Principle). A Dutch mathematician E. Brouwer talked about

this problem in 1920-30s.

But, as far as I know of, there has been no Social Science

built upon explicit basis of Non-Boolean Logic. There have

been suggestions that Zen philosophy is non-Boolean, but I

have not seen any serious writing about this. There is also

such a thing as “Fuzzy Logic”. But I see no sign of it

applied to Socia1 Sciences.

I would like to ask you, or to Woody, if Quantum Logic

(Non-Boolean Linguistic Structure) can be found in Native

narrations. I am looking for cases where “Either/Or”

propositions get into clear trouble.

As to Quantum Logic, I enclosed some references. But they

perhaps require some more explanations and elaborations to

make it relevant to Cultural talks.


4 January 1988 Personal Correspondence on Alcoholism and Social Welfare (PDF)

Jan. 4, 88.

Dear Pam

I am glad to hear that you wish to attend CPREA this year too. People will be delighted to see you again. Peace people are such — “lost souls” looking for companies in misery? —. It is much like A.A. (so I imagine.)

Because the Program Director, Don Bryan fell by a minor heart attack, the notice of meeting and call for papers are delayed. In a phone call to Pat Alcock, I found that out. She suggested me to write up a proposal and send it to him any way. The “proposal” is a way of letting CPREA know of my coming to the conference. It ought to be less than 200 words, announcing Topic and the theme of a paper. they call it “Abstract”, but they know we do not have a paper by this time to “abstract” from. Later, they would ask us if we wish to change Topic and the content.

At any rate, papers are for tickets. Because others put effort in writing in order to come there, I am also obliged to put some effort to it. As you had discovered, we do not read papers in the meeting, except the “new faces” to the meeting. Presumably, papers are sent to participants before the meeting, so that we can spend time on discussions. This is, however, easier said than done.

I would like you very much to come.

You are thinking of a talk on Violence in Alcoholism. That is a splendid topic. In my memory, nobody in the meeting has presented a paper about it. I would beg and appeal to the goodness of your heart for your presence in the conference. And please consider the enormous spiritual righteousness that you aroused in the hearts of those Social Welfare Scientists who had the chance to attack you personally. Please do not deprive of their pleasure and opportunity to uplift their souls in an illusion of knowing what you were talking about enough to attack you. Basically, I am doing the same in criticizing you, though I am careful enough not to talk as if I know Native Science.


Sam K.


Here, I give you my immediate reactions and questions, anticipating your talk.

Why men turn to violence? I imagine the conventional theory explains the phenomenon by saying “When Men lose Intellectual Control of themselves, their Intrinsic Aggression takes over”. The assumes the “Axiom” of “Man is a violent animal in its natural state”.

I do not believe that. I might grant that Fear Reaction is “Intrinsic” (instinctive, innate). But “Fear” is essentially “freezing into inaction” and “inhibitive”. It is not “upper”, but “downer”. Fear makes the “outside” control one’s actions, and behavior. In that , it is quite different from Violence, Aggression, Anger, Intellect, Love, etc. In fact, the very same conventional theory, also insists that Fear is the only effective means of controlling Violence. I might say that Fear is almost “Intellectual”, and henceforth contradict the conventional categorization between “Thinking” and “Feeling”, or “Higher Intellect” and “Animal instinct”. I think Violence is a function of the Higher Intellect, whether Man is conscious of it or not.

Violence require highly coordinate body motions, not mentioning all the calculations needed to do things which aimed at hurting the opponents and victims. At the level of National Scale, Nuclear War is a very “intelligent war” which cannot possibly fought without Science, High Technology, and huge well Managed Organizations. There are differences between Individual Violence and Collective Violence. But the “Intellectuality” is common.

Even during “Black Out”, Man does not cease to be intelligent. It may have to do with long range “Memory”, but that does not say Man is “stupid” during Black Out. I suspect, some people are more intelligent in Dreaming than in working on their jobs. Only occasion I can think of “less intelligent” state is during Sex. And Sex is not “Violent”, unless by the intervention of Intellect it is perverted. (I heard a research result that Intellectual Professionals are more apt to perverted sex than uneducated men.)

I am insinuating that intellect is Violence. Or, if you like to defend Intellect (“Reason”, “Thinking”), then I might concede to a possibility that “tender part” of Intellect is a “Perversion of Intellect” by what is so contemptuously called “Emotion”. This is the opposite of the Sex perverted by Intellect. Perversions go both ways.

Looking at from this point of view, Alcoholic violence is puzzling. I have heard from a few friends of mine who worked with Alcoholics that Alcoholics are the most Sensitive and Tender People.

Why then Violence?

According to my “theory”, (i) Violence had to be learned/taught, and (ii) Violence had to have Social Approval [Milband condition]. The first condition is easy to meet. We have all kinds of “Education” to be Violent. The T.V., Video, Films teach us “How to do Violence” by examples. Judeo-Christianity, Moslem, religions are violent religions. Their God is known to be Violent in Rage. School teachers show us how. Parents train children in Violence, even if their subjective intent may be just opposite.

But the second condition for Social Approval (legitimization) appears to be lacking for Alcoholics. Society does not approve their violent behaviors. It seems that not much “encouragements” and “admirations” are given to the violent acts of Alcoholics. (Our society does give encouragements and admiration for other kinds of Violence. Man in Violence has the Hero Image.) In fact, Alcoholics are “looked down”.

Of course, I do not know percentage of “Violent Alcoholics” among “non-violent Alcoholics” plus “Closet Alcoholics”. I imagine not all of them are Violent. Or is it?

And there is a possibility of a “chemical-Physiological Reaction” for people with certain types of Metabolic Structures. Chemicals could “up” or “down” certain kinds of behavior patterns. You point out that Alcohol makes those people feel (“Think”) more “powerful” and “capable” than what they actually are. But I do not know, if the phenomenon is bio-chemical.

May not it be possible that those who had been under deprivation of the feeling of their own “power” and “capability” for long time tend to get the feeling as a “compensation”? [In Peace research context, Germans under Nazi exhibited this tendency. It is known that “White Supremacists” are from the “Low Prestige Class”. Poor White had been more Racists than the rich ones. While the Well-To-Do Europeans were romanticizing the Noble Savages, the Poor Wretched were shooting at Indians were not much different from them. They hated themselves, and punished Indians, Blacks and Yellow “Gooks” for it.] Alcohol may be helping them to ignore the humiliating “Reality” around them, which they do not like to be reminded of.

If so, the phenomenon is a kind of Impersonation. They may have this “Somebody Superior” in their intellect, who despise them all the time, so much so that Alcoholics learn to impersonate the Intellectual Being. I imagine this “Intellectual Being” is what psychiatrists call “Super Ego” or something similar. This Being is a very vindictive moralist and goes around punishing people. The sense of “Intoxication” beyond disability is not a simple “personality change”, but rather an “Impersonation” which is an acting out of a certain image of personality in their mind, What they imitate (emulate) depends on their “Education”.

The other possibility is the opposite one to the above. Namely the violent person is inflicting Pains to others as an “appeal” for “Sharing Pain with me”. Since other people around them are “uncaring”, “insensitive”, the only way to communicate the Pain is to let them have the Pain.

Parents may hit their children, perhaps unconsciously, in order to let children know how much they are hurting. Of course their folly of pride prohibit them to say directly that they are hurting. They cannot admit that they are vulnerable beings, let alone admitting that their children have the “Power” to hurt them.

Those “odd” behaviors are, however, not limited to Alcoholics. The “salesman” in The Death of A Salesman was not an Alcoholic. But what I read about Alcoholics somehow reminded me of him. And, at any rate, anybody in this Culture is violent. Not only that, I think many university Profs are “Sadists”.

And, Judeo-Christians appear to associate the degree of “Sacredness” with the degree of “Atrociousness”. They are saying, in effect; “The more cruel it is, the more sacred.” [of Apocalyptic Vision for the Chosen Few.]

Perhaps, only Alcoholics are “honest” and “sensitive” enough to admit their own violence.

From my point of view, that is where Peace Learning starts. For Learning (science) start with recognition, acknowledgement of problems. I try to point out Violence of Science, because one who does not know one’s own violence cannot learn anything about Peace. Peace Education is a Therapy for Violent people who beats up wives and children and fight wars etc.; namely it is for “us”. The Angels of Peace and Love need no Peace Education.

Traditional Healing and Western Health Care: A Case Against Formal Integration (PDF)

Traditional healingand westerns health care: a case against formal integration

V. Edward Bates

The holistic health movement has the potential for improving health care for all Americans. It also has the potential for descending upon Indian people with unexpected consequences. Traditional healing practices may become imperiled when, under the guise of holistic health, public health officials and health care workers (HCW)1, who dominate the services and bureaucratic processes, underwrite third-party payments and training for medicine persons. These processes potentially can subvert individualized spiritual services into a standard item of health care. None of the changes or preceding movements impacting Indian health over the past 30 years has presented such a risky challenge to Native American culture.

A review of major societal changes during the past three decades may help to explain why holistic health practices, affecting Indians in particular, are becoming popularized today. Recent history that has altered public attitudes towar Indians might begin with the clinical awareness of ethnic diversity and prejudicial attitudes that were significantly heightened by Adorno (1950) and Allport (1954). Certainly health concerns were highlighted when the Indian Health Service was legislated into existence at about the same time (1955). Remedial programs to address mental health problems, however, would not come into being within IHS for another 15 years.


Native American Alcoholism: An Issue of Survival (PDF)

19851A Dissertation

Presented to The Faculty of the Florence Heller Graduate School for Advanced Studies in Social Welfare

Brandeis University

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of the Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

by Pam Colorado

December, 1985

Table of Contents

Section One: Native American Alcoholism,

An Introduction…………………………………………….1

Section Two: Scientific Thought And

Dine’ Alcoholism…………………………………………11

Section Three: Dine’ Alcohol Policy,

An Historical Analysis……………………………….66

Section Four: No One Makes You Drink……….150

The Politics of Alcohol Recovery…………………….162

AIM, The War Against Alcoholism…………………..173


Reference Notes……………………………………………………208


Section One:

Native American Alcoholism, An Introduction

Section one introduces the current relationship between Native Americans and alcohol/substance. This section explores both the social dimensions and the impacts of substance use/abuse among Native people. Several points are made:

1. Alcohol and substance abuse are the leading cause of death of Native people.

2. The prevalence, incidence is so great that it cannot be explained by theories based on individual deviance or pathology.

3. Despite efforts to combat alcoholism, the problem is increasing geometrically.

4. Substance abuse threatens the survival of Native Americans.

Section one concludes with a statement from an elderly Northern Cheyenne man. This man, a child at the time of the Battle of the Little Big Horn, spells out an interpretation of the changes alcohol has wrought among the People. He suggests that an answer to the problem may lie in re-discovery of the “Good Way”, that is, a way which is based on traditional tribal values and practices. The question is raised, why is the “Good Way” the answer and how can it be found?

Paint 1

A cold summer night on the northern plains of Montana

Winds come, fiercely whipping the squat tarpaper house where six children and three adults sleep

Four rooms crumbling plasterboard, rotting floor boards

backed up toilet and sink. Windows too few for air and too small

for light frame reality for this Native American family.

Earlier evening, after work, the Family gathered at the Tongue River, built fire, heated rocks and took Sweat.

The Way of the Sacred Sweat

Water – the Gift of Life, is poured on the Grandfathers, lava rocks, now radiant with heat and mingle with prayers into the steam – the Breath of Creator

Outside Sweat Lodge, Thunders rumble ominously and cedar is burned

the storm retreats held back through ancient understanding.

Inside Sweat, the Family gives thanks for – a day of life, a husband being sober again, a child recovering from illness and a

prayer for Mitakeoysin (all the Relations).

Evening Meal:

Eleven relatives sit down for boiled venison and Wonder Bread.

Thanks is given, again and again, especially for the food.

Oldest son, age fifteen, is proud, night before last,

freezer empty,

he got the deer.

Plentiful coffee and Kool Aide

reservation water, too brackish to drink alone,

its depredation visible oily slag on the top of drinks.

teasing and laughter conclude the Feast.

Now its two A.M.

heavy winds and driving rain pound against the house.

Lightening flashes; thunders roar and I awaken with a start.

Heart pounding, gnawing fear returns.

I cannot sleep for thinking…my sister, face lined with

pain and bitterness

a sespair which speaks of some final surrender.

Struggling for answers, tears slip down my face

as I beg Creator’s pity on this Family.

There was such hope

Just four years ago, the Family left Boston,

two advanced degrees, won at such a cost, and worth it too

This time the tribe stands threshold of new life.

Coal, black gold!

Harvard degrees wielded to extract a successful contract

with the

energy conglomerate, the first negotiated by a tribe on its own.

Now there is a way to feed and shelter the People.

yet my sister and family perish.

Today! Assassin! In your sights, my brother-in-law falls

to his knees.

Mind clouded in Whiteman’s poison, he steals from his wife

and children.

for the next bottle…

The baby stirs, lying next to me on the cot.

Water drips in and within seconds, soaks through the


the bed is moved repeatedly to avoid the leaks.

A new home

BIA has been promising one for ten years

but it is a four A.M. promise

far away.

Exhausted and hungry, the baby and I fall into sleep.