Journal of Indigenous Social Development


Our Mission

The JISD is dedicated to improving practice and expanding knowledge relevant to indigenous peoples’ social, cultural economic, and environmental wellbeing worldwide. The mission of JISD is to advance knowledge and understanding of:

  • Indigenous peoples’ efforts to preserve, defend, and promote their life ways, knowledges, and values;
  • Social development, as processes of resurgence, and/or social change, that improves individual, family, community, and cultural wellbeing so that all involved are supported to reach their full potential;
  • Effective and promising social support and development practices (traditional and contemporary) with individuals, families, communities, and/or societies that create sustainability options in a changing world;
  • How qualitative changes in the structures and frameworks of societies can improve Indigenous wellbeing of individuals, families, communities, and/or societies;
  • Critical analyses of social barriers, challenges, and oppressions, and the progressive alternatives that support Indigenous peoples, families, and individuals facing these barriers, challenges, and oppressions; and
  • Research, particularly research based in Indigenous methodologies, that supports the social, cultural, economic and environmental wellbeing of Indigenous peoples and which may come from a range of bases, including science, business, the arts, health care, education, policy, technology, and government.

A Word from our Editor

The publication of the Journal of Indigenous Social Development is part of a larger process and continuum that brings to light new paradigms and conceptions of Indigenous social work, social welfare and social development practice and research. The process began with the first International Indigenous Voices in Social Work conference in Makaha, Hawaiʻi in 2007. The gathering of Indigenous social workers from regions throughout the Pacific and North America was timely given the mounting interest regionally and globally. This conference reflected how Indigenous social workers were emphasizing the need for incorporating Indigenous ideas and practices into social work.

Indigenous peoples understand how the colonial conceptualization of social work, social welfare, and social development threatens not only Indigenous peoples, but the social well-being of all people and their wholistic relationships with their environments. These threats emphasize ideas and practices based on the separation of people from their histories, cultural understandings, and practices as well as the disconnection of people from their lands, waters, skies, and generations to come. These critical understandings have been expressed in the ongoing International Indigenous Voices in Social Work Conferences that have taken place in Winnipeg, Canada, Darwin, Australia and Alta, Norway. In these conferences, Indigenous peoples working in social work, social welfare, and/or social development have emphasized alternative ways forward.

With a commitment to local knowledges that have intergenerational and/or community bases, Indigenous peoples have focused on the resurgence of their traditional and cultural practices. They have also incorporated ideas and practices from one another’s societies and developed them to fit their needs, aspirations, and visions locally. Despite the ongoing colonial oppression that ranges from insidious impositions to the overt killings of Indigenous people, there is a continuing resurgence of Indigenous peoples’ knowledges, values, practices, and visions by Indigenous peoples active in social work, social welfare, and social development. This resurgence is evident in each issue of this journal.

Individuals from various communities throughout the world have sought out the Journal of Indigenous Social Development as a place to publish their anti-colonial, Indigenist work. While a notable number of the publications have come from individuals in academia, there are also voices from Indigenous authors working in communities and organizations. Overall, the publications reflect the intent of the journal to support the push back on colonialism and the centering of Indigenous philosophies, values, perspectives, and practices for Indigenous peoples.

Our vision is to rally the collective intelligence and passions of scholars, researchers, and practitioners committed to Indigenous social work, social welfare, and social development into a productive, less derivative, more dignified approach to supporting Indigenous communities in their self-determining efforts. Perhaps it may offer a template for something new in the world.

The Journal was originally published through Le’a Publications which was established through a generous gift from Sally Lampson Kanehe (MSW). Her passion for the creation and dissemination of Indigenous knowledge is vital to the profession of social work and the wellbeing of the people to whom she is deeply committed. It had continued through the support of the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Social Work, and the Canada Research Chair program. It is now supported through the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. Moreover, its continuing success is due to the effort and commitment of Indigenous peoples globally as they stand strong for their ways of being and place in the world.

Michael Anthony Hart

Author Image

Author Spotlight: Dr. Absolon

Kathy Absolon (Minogiizhigokwe – Shining Day Woman) is Anishinaabe kwe who is a community helper, knowledge seeker, educator, researcher and writer. Kathy is a member of Flying Post First Nation Treaty 9. Her passion for wellness among her peoples and the restoration of Indigenous knowledge in Creation has been one of the driving forces in her life work as an Indigenous wholistic practitioner in child welfare, Native mental heath, youth justice and community work.  Her academic and cultural work has been in restoring, reclaiming, re-righting Indigenous history, knowledge, cultural worldviews and making the invisible visible.  She promotes this through Indigenous research methodologies and published “Kaandossiwin, How we come to know” (2011).  She has authored other works in wholistic practice, social inclusion, reconciliation, community healing and wellness and Indigenous knowledge. Her most recent project is in gathering stories of resistance and resilience from her mother, a survivor of the St. John Anglican Residential School in Chapleau, ON.  Currently, Kathy is an Associate Professor in the Indigenous Field of Study, Faculty of Social Work and the Director of the Centre for Indigegogy at Wilfrid Laurier University.  

Read more here...

IIVSW Feather

News & Events

National Tribal and Indigenous Climate Conference (NTICC)

September 14-17, 2020 - Free Registration, Virtual Conference More Info

Indigenous Star Knowledge Symposia

Four Webinars in the Seasonal Series: September 22, 2020; Dec 21, 2020; March 20, 2021; June 20, 2021-  More Info

World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conference

Dated Moved - May 2021 - RBC Convention Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada - More Info

2021 S’TEṈISTOLW̱ Indigenous Adult and Post-Secondary Education Conference

August 24 - 27, 2021 - Camosun College, Victoria, BC - More Info

World Indigenous Peoples' Conference on Education (WIPCE)

Scheduled for 2021- Adelaide, South Australia - More Info

call for submissions

Call for Papers

Special Issue: Call for Submissions

Indigenous Communities and COVID-19: Impact and Implications

Submissions Closed. Special Issue will launch November 1. Stay tuned for details. 



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Meet the Editorial Board

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Keep in Contact

If you would like to be notified when the latest issues are published please submit your name and contact information to jisd@ucalgary.ca.