The Emergence of the Breath of Life Theory

The Emergence of the Breath of Life Theory

Cindy Blackstock, PhD
First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada University of Alberta

Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics, Volume 8, Number 1 (2011) Copyright 2011, White Hat Communications


Using First Nations Elder and scholar Willie Ermine and colleagues’ (Ermine, Sinclair, & Jeffery, 2004) concept of ethical space, this paper proposes a bi-cultural theory founded in First Nations ontology and physics’ theory of everything called the breath of life (BOL) theory. BOL assumes that a set of interdependent principles known as the relational worldview principles (Cross, 2007) overlay an interconnected reality with expansive concepts of time and multiple dimensions of reality. Diversity in human experience is accounted for as culture and context shape the manifestation of each principle. The basic premise of the theory is that structural risks affecting children’s safety and well-being are alleviated when the relational worldview principles are in balance within the context and culture of the community. Implications for social work policy and practice are discussed.

Key Words: First Nations, theory, structural risks, disadvantaged populations, children

Blackstock-C_2011_The emergence of breath of life theory