Editor’s Note: March is Social Work Month, and the theme this year is “Social Work Breaks Barriers.”
Kristi Whitaker, a COPES therapist at Family & Children’s Services, has worked with the Cherokee Nation for the third time to translate the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) yearly World Social Work Day poster into the Cherokee Language.
“I cannot recall how I found the opportunity, but when I found it, I was working at Indian Health Care Resource Center,” Whitaker said. “When I realized that there weren’t any poster translations in the Cherokee language, I was immediately determined to make that happen.”
World Social Work Day is a celebration that aims to highlight social work’s achievements, raise social services’ visibility for the future of societies, and defend social justice and human rights. Every year, World Social al Work Day is celebrated on the third Tuesday of March, it is a celebration that has become a high point in the social work calendar with social workers all over the world celebrating and promoting the contributions of the profession to individuals, families, communities and broader society.
Whitaker submitted the poster through the IFSW North American Chapter, which goes to the NASW President for approval. So far, the Cherokee Nation has been the only American tribe and only language originating from the United States. The poster translation is done by Roy Boney, Jr., a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.
“I feel proud that my tribe sees social work and participation in World Social Work Day as important,” she said. “My main goal with this project each year is for the Cherokee language to be represented on an international level. We are still here, and so is our language.”
Whitaker hopes that tribal students who may have an interest in social work will be inspired by the poster.
“At a minimum, I would hope it assures them that there is an important place for them in social work,” she said.