Settler colonialism, one microaggression at a time: R. Bubar, T. Kelly, C. Souza, L. Lovato-Romero, K. Bundy-Fazioli, ‘K. (2022). ‘Disrupting Settler Colonial Microaggressions: Implications for Social Work’, International Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics, 19, 2, 2022, pp. 47-77


Abstract: The Council on Social Work Education made significant changes in 2022 to integrate anti-racist practices in social work education. However, this change in the social work education accreditation standards still neglects the persistent harms of settler colonialism. The unintended consequence of neglecting settler colonialism is ongoing violence of gendered, heteronormative, and colonial power relations (Arvin et al., 2013) against Indigenous women and 2SQ people. This Indigenous research project seeks to call attention to harm that is perpetuated when the social work profession does not acknowledge settler colonial logics. A reimagining of the discipline’s values is needed by re-centering Indigenous knowledge to create more ethical spaces for future generations that align with anti-oppressive social work practice (Clarke, 2016; Lee & Ferrer, 2014). The research applies the concept of ‘slow violence’ (Nixon, 2011; Anderson et al., 2018) to microaggressions to mark how the discipline’s logics of conquest and settler complicity sustain field and classroom experiences that wittingly or unwittingly condone violence against Indigenous people. This qualitative study on microaggressions centers Kovach’s (2010) conversational method, Archibald (2008) and Clarke’s (2016) storywork and talking circles with Native women. Native participants in this research included college students, practitioners, and parents, all of whom work as professionals in higher education, social work, K-12 school environments or tribal-related affairs. Two major findings emerged in the data, killing Indigenous futures, and witnessing other Native Women and 2SQ people’s storywork as resistance. These findings are discussed as a pathway to pursue liberatory framings for future generations.

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