The Choctaw and the Irish Have an Enduring Bond of Gratitude

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many stories have emerged about the amazing selflessness of the front line workers, about patients who against all odds survive the ordeal, about artists in numerous genres sharing their art to buoy up the spirits of those quarantined, about neighbours helping neighbours, and about strangers helping strangers. These are stories about sacrifice, strength, courage, kindness of heart, and generosity of spirit. 

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Dr Bonnie Henry, Elders, Reconciliation, and COVID-19

When Dr Bonnie Henry announced the death of an Elder from Alert Bay, I was struck by her compassion, her understanding of the enormity of the immediate and long term loss to the Elder’s family and her community, the loss to the greater society, and the deep emotion in her voice. 

"Included in the deaths in the last 24 hours, is our first death in one of B.C.’s First Nations communities. Along with the many lives we have lost to COVID-19, this is a tragedy that’s beyond just us. This is a tragedy for all of us. Our Elders, in particular, in our First Nations communities are culture and history keepers.

When they become ill and when they die, we all lose and I want you to know that we feel that collective loss today. My thoughts are with her family and her entire community as I recognize the tragic impact this has on all of them.

It is particularly a challenging time to not be able to come together physically, in the normal way that we would, to respect the customs that we have in communities at this time and my condolences and my heart goes out to this community and to the family.” 

You can listen to Dr Henry by clicking this link; her above comments are in the first 100 seconds. 

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What is an Indigenous medicine wheel?

Bob Joseph

"The circle, being primary, influences how we as Aboriginal peoples view the world. In the process of how life evolves, how the natural world grows and works together, how all things are connected, and how all things move toward their destiny. Aboriginal peoples see and respond to the world in a circular fashion and are influenced by the examples of the circles of creation in our environment". [1]

Medicine Wheel

There isn’t a simple answer to the question as medicine wheels (sometimes called hoops) come in more than one form, and their significance and use is culture-specific. There is, however, one fundamental similarity besides the shape - medicine wheels represent the alignment and continuous interaction of the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual realities. The circle shape represents the interconnectivity of all aspects of one’s being, including the connection with the natural world. Medicine wheels are frequently believed to be the circle of awareness of the individual self; the circle of knowledge that provides the power we each have over our own lives. 

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Indigenous Relations in the Time of COVID-19

The world is a challenging and rapidly changing place right now and all indications suggest that it will remain as such for quite some time. Government leaders are adapting policies and creating new ones to address the impacts imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations, corporations, small and large businesses have all been thrown the same curveball and adapting where possible to continue serving their clients and customers. It’s as though we are all “boom cats” running on logs trying to avoid slipping under. 

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Suggestions for Helping Vulnerable and Remote Indigenous Communities

Amidst all the dire news about the trajectory of global and local COVID-19 case numbers and mortality, hoarding of necessities, fights in grocery stores it was a joy to receive a question from a follower asking how they could help remote or vulnerable Indigenous communities. 

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Indigenous Peoples and COVID-19

We are in uncharted waters these days as countries around the world scramble to respond to the COVIE-19 pandemic. While we are all at risk and all have a role in helping minimize the spread of this virus, some are at heightened risk, due to age, underlying health, geographic locations, or a combination of all those factors. 

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Skills based Indigenous relations training essential to reconciliation

As providers of a suite of Indigenous relations training, we frequently are asked if we offer “blanket exercises.” The short answer is “no, we don’t.”

The longer answer is we don’t provide blanket exercises because the courses we develop and deliver provide the knowledge, skills, and attitude or competency-based training that changes attitudes and behaviours and equips non-Indigenous Canadians to have respectful relationships with Indigenous Peoples.  

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Vancouver Board of Trade Intercultural Presentation by Bob Joseph

In case you wondered what I (Bob Joseph) do for a living, here is a 45 minute video of my "Intercultural Presentation" delivered at the Vancouver Board of Trade - Aboriginal Opportunities Forum 2014.  The forum is now called the Indigenous Opportunities Forum.

Intercultural Presentation - Bob Joseph

 

The theme of the forum, in 2014, was Building Sustainable Aboriginal Relations and the video contains a number of insights designed to help people work effectively with Aboriginal Peoples.  It is a small taste of what you will experience in our online training or open to the public Training Weeks.   

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Using The Inuit Perspective to Successfully Lead a School

Guest author:
April A. Strickland

Looking for an adventure five years ago, I travelled to a small Inuit community in Nunavut. I quickly discovered teaching Inuit children is a rich, rewarding, and learner-filled experience incomparable to past education I have experienced. Seeing first-hand the positive impact the Inuit culture had on the school was eye-opening. As I returned from my first field trip of berry picking, eating and making bannock on the land as a “Southern Outsider”, I had the privilege of witnessing Inuit students learning in a culturally respectful way.

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Myth: Indigenous cultures were primitive at time of contact

A widely held belief about Indigenous Peoples is that they were primitive cultures living in primitive conditions at the time of the arrival of Christopher Columbus (1492). 

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