Decolonizing Reflexive Practice Through Photo Essay Aisinai’pi Storying Place


  • Christine A. Walsh University of Calgary
  • Natalie St-Denis University of Calgary
  • Anita Eagle Bear



In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, universities across Canada are currently exploring ways to decolonize and indigenize their institutions and curriculum. The profession of social work has had an historical and ongoing role in the oppression of Indigenous Peoples, and now has the responsibility to advance and integrate Indigenous worldviews for reconciliation and healing. Storytelling has been described as an embodiment of Indigenous knowledges and validates the experiences of Indigenous Peoples. Although traditional stories have been most often shared orally, visual methods of storytelling have gained popularity among oppressed communities as a way to share their realities. This photo essay project was developed as a tool to guide social work educators and students to decolonize their reflexive practice by reflecting on their personal and professional identities in relationship to place.The photo essay presents a series of images evoking stories of original peoples and settlers on this land and fuels important questions about identity and belongingness. 

Keywords: Decolonization, reflexive practice, photography, storytelling