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Canadian Social Work Practices: Faculty Research Presented to an International Audience

Alta conversation-women
Morna McEachern and Norwegian scholars ‘yarn’ under the midnight sun

September 13, 2017

Stan DeMello and Morna McEachern represented the University of Washington, Canadian Studies Center and the Pacific Northwest Canadian Studies Consortium and presented three papers: “In Search of Spirit: Celebration of Native Elders as Warrior Scholars across the 49th Parallel,” “Truer to Northern Pregnant Teens: Stories toward Culturally Safe Childbearing Practices in Inuit Nunangat,” and “Columbia River Treaty Renewal: Report from a Field Course.”

The conference was a truly life- and scholarship- affirming meeting of Indigenous people and allies from six continents. Sámi social work faculty from UiT Alta hosted the meeting under the light of the midnight sun. True to the Sámi principles of usefulness, beauty, and ethics, the program was organized to engender “a society where indigenous and non-indigenous people live side-by-side, where culture and tradition can be kept vivid and respected and where development can take place both in modern businesses and traditional culture and lifestyle” (Anne Husebekk, Rector, UiT, Alta).

#3 2017 Alta conference

Stan DeMello (far right) and Morna McEachern (to his left) with participants at the 4th International Indigenous Social Work Conference.

This international exchange of Indigenous ideas and approaches to environmental, social, economic, artistic, and political questions deepened and broadened the participants’ connections and understanding of Canada’s place in indigeneity. Not only were there Indigenous representatives at the conference from their traditional lands, which are also part of several Canadian provinces and territories, but the fact that the conference was held in the Arctic supports the University of Washington’s focus on both Canada and the Arctic.