Student Highlights

Carmin Blomberg, 4th year BSW student in the Indigenous Specialization

BSW student’s learning journey: Honoring Interconnection/s Through Art

Carmin Blomberg (she/her/they/them), artist and 4th year BSW student in the Indigenous Specialization, walks through life in forms of art creation, embodying “art is life.” With a commitment to social justice, decolonization, reconciliation, relationality, resurgence, reclamation, and Whole-istic ways of being, Carmin’s heart-centered work shines through in her critical reflections. Carmin generously agreed to share some of her reflections, artwork and learning journey- including publishing some creative work on the School of Social Work website. As a preface to her artwork, Carmin’s bio follows below:

Carmin Blomberg, 4th year BSW student in the Indigenous Specialization

Tansi, Carmin Blomberg, nisîthikâson, Peter Ballantyne (Maskwa/Bear) Nêhiyaw Nation, Pelican Narrows Saskatchewan, ochi nitha.

(Hello, Carmin Blomberg is my name, Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, Pelican Narrows Saskatchewan, is where I’m from). 

I am Woodland Cree and Norwegian Sweden Jewish through my father, and French and Scottish through my spirit mother. It is important for me to acknowledge myself as a whole, with all my ancestral backgrounds, especially as my role in reconciliation and an Indigenous Settler. As an Indigenous Settler; in my accountability as a visitor who does not intend on leaving anytime soon, I acknowledge my privilege of being born and raised on the lək̓ʷəŋən, Esquimalt, and W̱SÁNEĆ territories of the Coast Salish Peoples.

My pronouns are She/Her/They/Them. I am an artist who focuses on painting, drawing, beading, and sewing. As well as carving teachings taught from my Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis brother, łiłalqumlilas (meaning Welcoming face, given to him by James Charles King aka Jimmy King) Glen Johnson, from Gilford Island. My Kwakwaka'wakw siblings offered my initial understandings to Indigenous cultural teachings and continue to guide and support me as I reclaim my Woodland Cree ancestry. I am grateful for their guidance and unconditional love.

I am also a student in my final semester of my Bachelor of Social Work Indigenous Specialization Degree at the University of Victoria. I work with Youth, Elders, and Knowledge Keepers and as a Youth Board Member in community development projects centered on healing colonial violence and reclaiming identity.

As a multi-cultural young person, I work with and walk alongside individuals on their journey through interconnected traditional practices that center cultural resurgence and decolonial healing. Through restoration of traditional practices like beading, singing, and sharing circles, I weave together healing, relationality and cultural connections. To grapple with the nuances of reconciliation, I am passionate about honoring each and every individual wherever they are at on their journey. I recognize that each individual experience life from many intersecting lenses; this is at the forefront of my wholistic, land-based, art-based approach as I walk alongside people on their journey. With genuineness, humility, reciprocity, resurgence, reclamation, responsibility, and accountability, I seek to communicate from the heart and listen to guidance from my family, Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and spirit to carry myself and gifted traditional teachings in a meaningfully impactful way. By emphasizing the continual importance of our youth, Elders and community relationships, we learn from one another and carry forward ways of being that will reflect how one cares for themselves and each other for generations.

Kahkithaw niwahkômâkanak, (All my relations in Cree),

Carmin Blomberg 
Maskwa (Bear) Nêhiyaw (Cree), Peter Ballantyne Cree First Nation with Norwegian Sweden Jewish and French Descent. 

Carmin completed the revised SOCW 413 condensed course in the 2021 Summer term.  With an overarching focus on exploring critical social work practice from a decolonial, anti-racist, social justice framework in various contexts, this final year BSW practice course infuses a variety of creative and contemplative practices and pedagogies that seek to foster holistic learning and honor various ways of knowing, doing and being. Students were invited to weave creative and contemplative practices in their reflections, weekly posts and assignments.  Carmin consistently wove art and creative expression into her posts and assignments.  In the closing circle activity, Carmin reflected on some key learnings in the form of a poem- illuminating some unit themes and links to self/positionality:

Poem: Interconnection

1Skidmore, L. [BearPaw Media and Education]. (2016, June). Wahkohtowin: Cree Natural Law [Video file]. Retrieved from 

When invited to publish her poem on the School of Social Work website, Carmin then offered to also create a visual representation in the form of a painting- further illuminating her written reflections:

This painting is a visual representation of my reconnection to culture. Titled Interconnection, this spirit painting symbolizes the interconnection between all beings… the roots connected to spirit, fire, ancestors, land, community, and my Woodland Cree culture. Finding my way… all elements are important in understanding who I am, where I come from and where I’m going… my journey.
Interconnection - Artwork by Carmin Blomberg

Thank you to Carmin for sharing her reflections, incredible creativity/artwork and some of her journey in the UVic School of Social Work BSW program!

Posted: March 17, 2022

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Ivan Leonce, 3rd year BSW student