“I am Lakota. My professional interests stem from my personal reality as an Indigenous person, a person of color, and a social worker. My on-going interest in cultural identity comes from grappling with the Anglo-English roots of social work, my chosen profession, and its responsiveness (or lack thereof) to culturally diverse peoples. My focus, while diverse, is primarily on Indigenous populations, including Native Americans and other Indigenous Peoples around the world. Throughout my work, I continually ask, where does the cultural piece fit in?”
Multicultural social work; indigenous populations and refugees
Hilary N. Weaver, DSW, is a professor and associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion in the University at Buffalo School of Social Work. As a social worker, educator and researcher, most of her work focuses on the importance of culture in helping processes with a particular focus on Indigenous Peoples and a secondary focus on refugees. She views both through the lens of the common experience; these populations are often displaced people who have experienced trauma and are enveloped in foreign cultural contexts. She is Lakota and has lived much of her adult life in Haudenosaunee territory in Western New York.
Weaver has presented her work regionally, nationally and internationally including multiple times at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (2005-2008, 2013-2018). Her publications include many authored, co-authored and edited books, including “Explorations in Cultural Competence: Journeys to the Four Directions” (2005). She edited the well-received book, “Social Issues in Contemporary Native America: Reflections from Turtle Island” (2014). She is at work on a book on contemporary Native American issues viewed through the dual lenses of trauma and resilience.
Weaver has received funding from the National Cancer Institute to develop and test “Healthy Living in Two Worlds,” a culturally grounded wellness curriculum for urban Native American youth. She is a member of NASW and CSWE and serves as president of the Indigenous and Tribal Social Work Educators’ Association. In recognition of her lifelong contributions to promote American Indians in social work education, in 2017 she was the youngest person to be awarded the American Indian Elder Award from the Indigenous and Tribal Social Work Educators’ Association.