Students in the Indigenous Field of Study are expected to respect and seek to practice within the Indigenous worldview. This means that along with intellectual development you will also engage in the development of your spiritual, emotional and physical selves. You will learn from a diversity of teachers including academic instructors, Elders, Indigenous ceremonies and the Indigenous community. You will be expected to involve yourself in all aspects of the specialized program, which include cultural camps, classroom work, presentation of yourself to Elders and in practice settings. You will be evaluated on your academic knowledge and your ability to practice from the Indigenous worldview.
Upon admission to the Indigenous Field of Study program, you will be expected to attend cultural camp where you will learn traditional teachings and practices under the instruction of program Elders and Indigenous faculty. This experience will enable program Elders and academic staff to determine the comfort level of students with this form of instruction and to help students determine their suitability for this field, aside from their intellectual capacity. During the course of the program, you will be evaluated with regard to traditional knowledge, traditional ceremonies, and your ability to “carry” and express these teachings in the context of their behaviours and practice.
You will be expected to garner from the traditional teachings, which may be transmitted orally, the meaning this knowledge contains for you and for the people with whom you will work. You will also be expected to articulate how this understanding fits into your own wholistic healing practice paradigm. It is expected that you may find this new process of learning to be challenging. Therefore, you will be guided and supported throughout the program by Elder teachers and Indigenous academic staff to assist you to master this challenging process.
If concerns arise about the personal suitability of a student to practice from the Indigenous worldview, these concerns will be discussed with you and a plan to address the concerns will be developed. If serious concerns about personal suitability persists, the collective of the program Elders and Indigenous faculty will evaluate if you have the capacity and commitment to practice from the Indigenous worldview. If the collective decision of the program Elders and Indigenous faculty is that a student does not have such capacity or commitment, the program director will counsel and may require the student to leave the program. In this case, the student will be provided with the insights of the program Elders and Indigenous academic staff as to the basis for this conclusion, and he or she would have the right to engage in the existing appeal processes, which are set out in the policies of the Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Social Work and the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
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