Seeds of decolonial practice: An autoethnographic study of settlers working in Indigenous communities
LE3 .A278 2014
Master of Education
This autoethnographic study explores the process of cultivating a culturally safe and critically reflexive counselling practice in Indigenous contexts, an orientation that is imperative for settlers to ethically work with Indigenous clients, families, and communities. Any other approach risks subtly or overtly recreating experiences of colonial violence, and eroding the therapeutic relationship. Honestly examining the colonial legacy, deconstructing settler identity, learning to listen to other historical narratives, questioning the historical myths of peaceful Indigenous-settler relations, and unpacking the assumptions within them is challenging but essential for learning to work within a culturally safe framework. Becoming unsettled is an emotionally evocative experience; however, critically reflecting on discomforting emotions, reactions, and experiences is an essential component of personal transformation. Settlers cannot theoretically engage in decolonizing, rather, we must experience it first as individuals, and then as ethically responsible citizens willing to challenge dominant cultural narratives and help foster a more just society.
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