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• Summary: The Australian Prime Minister’s 2008 historic Apology to the Stolen Generations gives Australian social work an opportunity to confront its past complicity in Australian Indigenous disadvantage and embrace the development of Indigenous social work as central for practice. Critical Whiteness1 theory in social work curricula could assist the development of Indigenous social work as a core approach by challenging the ongoing and largely un-reflexive practices emanating from social work’s Euro-centric heritage with its often taken-for-granted knowledges and principles which negatively affect Indigenous peoples.

• Findings: Recent professional and theoretical attention on critical Whiteness highlights race privilege, questions the invisibility and continuing invisibilization of race, critiques previously taken-for-granted Western knowledges and practices, and facilitates the development of countering practice approaches. Research studies reveal some practitioners to be aware of the need for different practices as well as some who practice differently without realizing they are using critical Whiteness principles.

• Application: Critical Whiteness theory in the social work curriculum offers a strong conceptual and practical opportunity for students and practitioners to become more racially cognizant in their work with Indigenous people, allowing this work to be more effective in the profession’s social justice mission as well as decreasing some of the extant colonizing practices.


School of Allied Health

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Journal Article

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