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September 7, 2021

The Phoenix Indian Center recently honored Christopher Sharp (Colorado River Indian tribes), a medical assistant professor in Arizona State College’s School of Social Work, with its 2021 Man of the Yr Award.

Sharp, director of the The varsity’s Office Of yank Indian Tasks, acquired the award as An factor of the Phoenix Indian Center’s annual Arizona American Indian Excellence in Management Awards.

Christopher Sharp from the ASU School of Social Work. Photograph courtesy of Christopher Sharp
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Yrly the awards acknowledge Arizona people and groups “Who’ve demonstrated excellent leadership and dedication to the development, placement, promovement and enhancement of the cultural, instructional, social, financial or political welfare of the American Indian group, or have currentd vital contrihoweverions to the American Indian financial system,” Based mostly on a press launch.

“Chris values the position social work can play in empowering tribal communities, notably by teaching and mentoring practitioners from these tribal communities,” said Elizabeth Lightfoot, School of Social Work director. “We’re Joyful with Chris and his steadfast efforts On the School of Social Work and Regionally to foster understanding and respect for the distinctive social, political and cultural variety of the Southwest.”

Study on to learn extra about Sharp and his work On the Office Of yank Indian Tasks and the School of Social Work, That are based On the Watts School of Public Service and Community Options:

Question: Inform us Barely about your self right now And also your early years.

Reply: I am a medical assistant professor and have simply accomplished my second full year as director of the Office Of yank Indian Tasks (OAIP) Inside the School of Social Work. Earlier to that I used to be the enterprise coordinator at OAIP for seven years. My graduate education led me So far in my profession. I used to be a graduate scholar Inside The twin diploma program Ensuing in Grasp of Social Work and Grasp of Public Administration levels, having accomplished these levels in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

I am additionally a graduate from The distinctive cohort Of yank Indian Research program, incomes my bachelor’s diploma in 2002. After buying that diploma I labored at Inter Tribal Council of Arizona Inc., in spaces of coverage and program enhancement for education and the developing older program. Finally I labored in a residential remedy center for Native youngsters and at Salt River Elementary School Instead practiceer and instructional assistant. I’ve Almost spent my complete profession working with American Indian/Alaska Native populations in numerous positions and capacities.

Q: Inform us about your receiving The particular person of the Yr Award. What does it imply to be acknowledged On This method?

A: This award Might be very particular. As quickly as I first was notified, I felt hesitant and a bit undeserving. Particularly now with the pandemic and All of the struggles and loss in our communities. I assumed mightbe a medical doctor or nurse ought to get the award. After reflecting, I noticed that educators play a essential position On this pandemic. So I started To know this award as an acknowledgement of the significance of education In any respect levels; I simply happen to be in greater education. Our work On the Office Of yank Indian Tasks focuses on empowering people and communities to create greater futures by strengthening houseprimarytains and creating healthful environments wright here future generations can thrive. We Do this by way of social work education, teaching currentd to communities and enterprises in companionship with tribes And concrete American Indian/Alaskan Native groups.

Wright hereas it’s getting greater, greater education institutions don’t primarily understand and award This Sort of labor, eparticularly The extent of effort it takes To decide notion Initially After which set up working relationships with our communities. So receiving this award is an affirmation that OAIP is Heading in The biggest course, and it’s eparticularly implyingful coming from the group.

Q: Inform us A few couple of of your latest evaluation efforts and recently having submitted testimony to a congressional fee on baby welfare.

A: We now have A lot of good factors Occurring, which I really feel will develop and increase our influence, not Solely for OAIP However The varsity and Watts School. We participated Inside the statewide research on lacking and murdered Indigenous women and women. This was a research set uped by Arizona House Invoice 2570, which handed and was signed into regulation. The problem with That is ThOn tright here have been little to no funds currentd To primarytain out the research. We set uped a group within Watts School led by Professor Kate Fox Inside the School of Criminology and Felony Justice and completely different faculty. Definitely one of many important goals for that enterprise was to recruit and Usher in Indigenous scholar evaluationers to contrihowevere to the research. The final evaluation was revealed in November 2020, however we have been funded for proceedd evaluation by Women in Philanthropy, a program On the ASU Basis. We’re wanting forward To primarytaining out that enterprise Inside the upcoming year.

Tright here are completely different enterprises we are Engaged on presently collectively with a tribal opioid response evaluation, a teaching companionship with Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona Inc. and Tohono O’odham Nation Komckud Ki Home and Sexual Violence Prevention Program teaching for service suppliers to packages that work with survivors of sexual assault. Others are Inside the works.

I used to be In a place to current testimony for The primary listening to of the Alyce Noticed Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Youngsters, initially scheduled for March 2020 however postponed As a Outcome of of pandemic. They recently had their first in-particular person meeting As a Outcome of the pandemic shutdpersonals, which was in Tucson, And that i had The prospect To fulfill feeers in particular person. They held The primary listening to in Alaska in August and have been gracious enough To enhance An invite for me to attend. Wright hereas I respectabsolutely declined As a Outcome of of resurgence of COVID, I proceed To current assist for a listening to Inside the Phoenix space Inside the shut to future. I Look forward to aiding the fee on planning that event and hoping thOn The varsity, Watts School and ASU can assist this important event.

Q: What was your “aha” second, Everytime you understandd you needed To consider The sector you now practice?

A: Good question. Tright here is a lot Of particular personal househprevious historic previous in regard to social work. My father was one of The primary — if not The primary — tribal members of the Colorado River Indian Tribes to earn an MSW diploma (which is from ASU), so he certainly was A process mannequin. He went on to work for our tribe and Discover your self to be a council member, eventually working at Indian Well being Service in Phoenix and at Fort Yuma. As quickly as I used to be 2 or 3 years previous we moved from the reservation to Tempe so my mcompletely different could attend ASU’s SSW (School of Social Work). I used to be In a place to see her get that diploma and work for our group For a few years at Inter Tribal Council of Arizona. So principally I used to be saying I needed to be a social worker at a youthful age.

As An adolescent And also youthful grpersonalup I moved amethod from that and was focused on an MPA diploma. I had An alternative to get again into grad school. By then, The twin diploma MSW and MPA program was provided. I said, “Why not get a social work diploma?” And now right here I am absolutely within social work education, however I convey A lot of my againground in American Indian studies and public administration into my current work. I give A lot of credit rating To 2 of my mentors, Edwin Gonzalez-Santin and Timothy Perry, for conveying me in to OAIP, giving somebody like me a probability To maneuver the mission forward.

Q: What’s it A fewSU that made it wright here you needed to take your profession?

A: First off, I bleed maroon and gprevious. Make no mistake about that one. I really feel that’s A great question, because I On A daily foundation have seen myself working for a tribe or group that serves tribal populations. I didn’t enimaginative and prescient myself at ASU because I Did not see the alignment. My mentor Edwin Gonzalez-Santin contacted me late in my final year of graduate studies and converseed about thOn tright here Might Even be an employment alternative with OAIP. I took This alternative and understandd that I can each work at ASU And have interplay in work with our tribal companions and populations.

I think about OAIP is a mannequin for doing that effectively over A very Very prolonged time interval. Do You’d like to Take A look at our scholar group, the American Indian Social Work Student Affiliation, This Is usually a essential method for OAIP To fulfill its mission, and the group has been in existence As a Outcome of the early or mid-Nineteen Nineties. Our advisory committee was set uped in 1990. I’ve the docation from The primary meeting, and we proceed To take care of it as a essential linkage to our communities. Not too many mannequins within ASU And even within academia have This type of monitor doc. So Everytime you see that, It is one factor That you merely Have to be Half of.

Q: What’s one factor you found — both as a scholar your self or since turning Right into a school member — that surprised you or modified your perspective?

A: Tright here’s Tons that I’ve found Through the years as each a scholar, staff And school member. I might say that I’ve found Tons from attending conventions and conventions Throughout the spaces of domestic violence and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) movement.

The latter I participated on the evaluation group for the statewide research. I attended a convention Positioned on by SWIWC (Southwest Indigenous Women’s Coalition) And commenced To know the Indigenous anti-violence movement as having such A strong objective and being very grassroots-diploma in its power. I noticed tright here Might Even be a disconnect between these actions and tribal leadership In lots of communities. I started To know myself as an Indigenous male, the privilege Which will convey and the significance of being an ally to anti-violence and MMIWG actions in a method that elevates the voices of Indigenous women, houseprimarytains and survivors.

Q.: What do you hope your scholars Study You which of them will give them Definitely one of the biggest perception into what You are practiceing them?

A: I strategy researching in A particular method, Specializing in The teaching course of, essential considering And notably reflective researching and apply. I am practiceing a summer time bridge class for the Yuma MSW program presently and actually hoping The scholars understand the significance of their expert id and elevating Their very personal native expertise. Our scholars from underserved communities actually revenue from fostering their self-understanding and imaginative and prescient of their futures as social staff. I truly went to Highschool in Yuma so I can relate A lot extra to The scholars Inside the cohort and understand the complexities Contained in the Yuma area. We’re Making a group of changemakers On the market in Yuma, Somerton, San Luis and California’s Imperial Valley; it’s actually particular.

Q: Inform us about a “gpreviousen practiceable second,” when all The celebs appeared to align And also you have been In a place To Obtain scholars’ minds in an unforgettable method.

A: This occurs a lot within our required social work area placements, typically after The primary semester when scholars start To know the connections between their coursework and area placement researching actions. I’ve served as each an teacher wright here I’m immediately practiceing and as a liaison that oversees scholar researching actions out Inside the communities. I might advocate to any social work faculty to Carry out area liaison For school youthfulsters placed in businesses Inside their group or apply setting of curiosity. This is a Strategy of getting a presence in a group that one completely differentwise might not have.

Q: What’s your life motto In a single sentence?

A: Earlier than the pandemic It Could have been, “Stay your dream.” I really feel Through the pandemic All of us have an appreciation of social assist and psychological health, And that i even have been saying, “It’s Okay to not be OK” A lot extra recently. It’s OK To converse to somebody or ask for assist, and We ought to almethods do what We will as supervisors and colleagues to encourage self-care and constructing social bonds within expert settings.


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