BY COLLEEN KLEVEN
March 7 -13 has been designated by the Ontario Association of Social Workers as Social Work Week. This year?s theme is Celebrating Community Honouring Diversity. As a community, Sudbury has always been proud of its multicultural heritage. The diversity of culture, language and perspective adds to the richness of the local landscape.
Deborah Taback is an example of how diversity is working here. She has recently opened the doors of her private practice, Deborah Taback Counselling and Consulting. She is the first, and only, aboriginal private practitioner offering social work in the city.
Taback?s personal background includes a multicultural upbringing, with a Ukrainian father and Ojibway mother. Her life changed in 1985, with the amendment of Bill C-31; a pivotal federal government amendment allowing Aboriginal women who had been stripped of their status (after marrying non-aboriginal men) to re-apply for status.
?Rather than feeling a sense of relief, I felt a profound sense of loss. What did this (regaining my native status) really mean for me and for my children? I had always struggled with my cultural identity and my sense of belonging. I needed to search for what I felt comfortable with, in terms of...my heritage.?
She did an enormous amount of research and went back to school, graduating with honours from the native child and family worker program at Cambrian College. She went on to earn her bachelor of social work native human service degree and her masters of social work, both from Laurentian University. She is now a registered member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.
Taback balanced her studies with practical experiences in traditional Ojibway ceremonies.
Her first job was with the Shawanaga First Nation Healing Centre. She has also worked for the Children?s Aid and the Sudbury Regional Hospital in the Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Treatment Program.
?I believed there were a lot of people who had struggled with their identity the way I had. I wanted to share the process of my personal healing with others,?she said. ?Aboriginal peoples have their own unique needs and history. There are powerful issues Aboriginal people have to deal with. I want to
help people connect all the parts of themselves back together so they can be whole again.?
Taback?s office is 62 Frood Rd., Suite 252 in the Cambrian Foundation building. She can be reached at 564-9700 or by visiting her website at www.tabackcounsellingconsulting.com.