Journal Article

An ‘Ecospiritual’ Perspective: Finally, a Place for Indigenous Approaches

John Coates, Mel Gray and Tiani Hetherington

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 36, issue 3, pages 381-399
Published in print April 2006 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online April 2006 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
An ‘Ecospiritual’ Perspective: Finally, a Place for Indigenous Approaches

Show Summary Details


Despite holding significant roles in providing social services to First Nations or indigenous communities, social work has been reluctant to accept indigenous perspectives and traditional forms of helping and healing. Most often, social workers have operated within the dominant paradigms that, despite efforts to the contrary, have primarily imposed Western social work beliefs and practices which have been unable to effectively accommodate diversity. This paper argues that the recent attention to the importance of the environment and spirituality, and the paradigmatic shift that such issues require, has created a welcoming space for indigenous voices. Such acceptance has opened the opportunity for the profession to benefit not only from a genuine exchange among cultures, but also from a re-thinking of the foundational beliefs of the social work profession.

Keywords: Indigenous social work; cultural diversity; spirituality; eco-social work

Journal Article.  8150 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Work

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