Since colonial times, Indigenous communities have been marginalized to the least productive lands, a dependent status in the economy, and political disenfranchisement. Though now maybe less overt, this pattern too often continues through public policy, religious institutions, education, and social service programming that have been used to maintain a system of dependency that has systematically degraded quality of life for generations. Dependency significantly inhibits the ability of individuals to directly participate in the search for solutions to economic, political and ecological problems. Through dependency communities lose a sense of control over their lives. People become overwhelmed by their situation and lose the capacity to seek out and effectively utilize available opportunities.
The dissolution of continuing colonial models of dependency which hinder Indigenous communities' development
To connect Indigenous communities with academic partners to craft and enact actively informed models of development, directed by Indigenous actors
Partners in Service is a growing network of Indigenous organizations and university communities that are developing innovative and pragmatic strategies to harness service-learning and research to support small group dynamics and popular education techniques that empower Native communities with the time, confidence, and tools to solve problems, move out of poverty, and seize opportunities for leadership and participation. Our model works through a cooperative approach that is participatory and inclusive with a focus on empowerment, building leadership and agency, and enhancing the capacity for people to make choices and implement those choices in their lives in order to counter charity paradigms that reinforce systems of dependency.
At Partners in Service, we don't claim authority or expertise concerning "the right path" to healing and development, but rather rely on a dynamic process of evidence-based investigation to develop innovative new models of empowerment. This approach requires interdisciplinary collaboration between academics, organizers, communities, and students, exploring and implementing theory through their praxis. We look for serious academic partners who wish to be active agents in transformational development.