About the Journal

Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.

Journal History

A brief history of the Journal of Indigenous Social Development (JISD)

On June 4-7th, 2007, after a year of preparation with community elders and interdisciplinary partners, the University of Hawai`i, Myron B. Thompson, School of Social Work convened the first International Indigenous Voices in Social Work (IIVSW): Not Lost in Translation Conference in Makaha, Hawai`i, on the island of `Oahu.  The conference brought together over 400 participants from Africa, Australia, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Fiji, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, and Hawai`i’s diverse population. 

As a result of participants’ enthusiastic response, conference presenters were invited to submit publishable papers for peer-review.  The Journal of Indigenous Voices in Social Work (JIVSW), an open-access, electronic publication, released its first issue in February 2010. 

JIVSW was envisioned as part of a larger process and continuum intended to bring to light new paradigms and conceptions of social welfare practice and research. The new journal represented hopes and expectations that social work was coming to terms with the non-viability of western social work practices across cultures, and the need to find or develop fundamentally different approaches to human healing and wellbeing. 

During the first and second year of publication, manuscript submissions revealed the need for a publication, which explores and examines the complex nature of Indigenous wellbeing.  For example, the interactions between resource restoration, land, water, cultural knowledge and ways, in relation to emotional, social, spiritual, and physical wellbeing outcomes. Therefore, after considerable discussion, the editorial group and community partners changed JIVSW’s name to the Journal of Indigenous Social Development (JISD), to allow for more inclusivity of areas contributing to the wellbeing of indigenous populations.

JISD is deeply grateful to Sally Lampson Kanehe, alumnus of the University of Hawai`i, Myron B. Thompson, School of Social Work.  Her generous support and commitment to the wellbeing of Indigenous people made this publication possible. 

In 2016, following a year of preparation, JISD successfully transitioned from the University of Hawai`i to the University of Manitoba. In 2019, the journal was moved again to the University of Calgary.


Our Mission

The JISD is dedicated to improving practice and expanding knowledge relevant to indigenous peoples’ social, cultural economic, and environmental wellbeing worldwide. The mission of JISD is to advance knowledge and understanding of:

  • Indigenous peoples’ efforts to preserve, defend, and promote their life ways, knowledges, and values;
  • Social development, as processes of resurgence, and/or social change, that improves individual, family, community, and cultural wellbeing so that all involved are supported to reach their full potential;
  • Effective and promising social support and development practices (traditional and contemporary) with individuals, families, communities, and/or societies that create sustainability options in a changing world;
  • How qualitative changes in the structures and frameworks of societies can improve Indigenous wellbeing of individuals, families, communities, and/or societies;
  • Critical analyses of social barriers, challenges, and oppressions, and the progressive alternatives that support Indigenous peoples, families, and individuals facing these barriers, challenges, and oppressions; and
  • Research, particularly research based in Indigenous methodologies, that supports the social, cultural, economic and environmental wellbeing of Indigenous peoples and which may come from a range of bases, including science, business, the arts, health care, education, policy, technology, and government.

Call for Submissions
Submissions considered for review must address the JISD mission within broadly defined areas such as:

• Family, organizational, community, or governance practices;
• Community, social, economic, and environmental development or sustainability;
• Analysis of local, national or international policies;
• Research related to social, economic, and environmental wellbeing.