Essay on An Aboriginal Approach to Social Work

7465 Words Jul 3rd, 2010 30 Pages
An Aboriginal Approach to Social Work
Introduction
Before I begin I would like to share an Aboriginal quote:
"The Circle has healing power. In the Circle, we are all equal. When in the Circle, no one is in front of you. No one is behind you. No one is above you. No one is below you. The Sacred Circle is designed to create unity. The Hoop of Life is also a circle. On this hoop there is a place for every species, every race, every tree and every plant. It is this completeness of Life that must be respected in order to bring about health on this planet."
~Dave Chief, Oglala Lakota~
The reason why I chose this quote was because I felt that it represents and symbolizes the key concepts and values of the Medicine Wheel in this chapter.
An
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They also participated by trading with one another. When the fur trades subsided and the European wars ended, the settlers began treating the Aboriginals as burdens rather than economic partners and military allies.
Laws were passed by the settlers that banned fundamental aspects of the Aboriginal economy such as the potlatch and the give-away ceremonies. The potlatch is a festival or ceremony practiced among Aboriginal people. The main purpose was the redistribution and reciprocity of wealth (a relationship between people involving the exchange of goods and services) Potlatches would also involve fasting, spirit dances, theatrical demonstrations, feasts and the distribution of gifts. The give-away ceremony is one of many traditional Aboriginal customs. It is performed at religious and social gatherings such as the pow-wow, grass dance, and rain dance were again the distribution of gifts took place. The giving away of gifts showed the appreciation to the visitors that traveled long distances in order to take part in their festivals. More importantly a give-away may also be held in memory of a loved one who has passed away.
Even when Aboriginal nations attempted to adapt to and accept the new enforced system making alterations to their economic system, new laws were introduced to keep them from fully participating.
Potlatching was made illegal in Canada in 1885. Largely because of missionaries and government agents who considered it

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