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Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples®

Learning Centre

Bob Joseph

Recent Posts

ayisīnowak: A Communications Guide a respectful cross-cultural collaboration

 

 ayisīnowak: A Communications Guide

 

When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report was published in 2015 it revealed the reality of residential schools, the damage the schools have done to the survivors, their families, their culture, their identity, and the ongoing impacts of that damage. The TRC Report also included 94 calls to action (CTAs) for governments, institutions, and organizations to support reconciliation.


The TRC Report has motivated many in the public and private sectors to look within and find ways and means of enacting the relevant CTAs. Since 2015, there have been some inspiring and heartening examples of reconciliation actions, particularly in the recognition of traditional or treaty land acknowledgement at the beginning of government and corporate meetings, art events, sport events, and in education facilities.

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Topics: Indigenous relations, Indigenous protocol

The Final Solution - Which Government Used the Term First?

 “The final solution”

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Topics: Indian Residential Schools

Why are Indigenous leaders called chiefs?

Definition: Chief (n.)

c. 1300, "head, leader, captain; the principal or most important part of anything;" from Old French chief "leader, ruler, head" of something, "capital city" (10c., Modern French chef), from Vulgar Latin *capum, from Latin caput "head," also "leader, chief person; summit; capital city" (from PIE root *kaput- "head"). Meaning "head of a clan" is from 1570s; later extended to American Indian tribes. Commander-in-chief attested from 1660s. [1]


In October 2017 a school district board in Ontario passed a motion to remove “chief” from all job titles out of respect for Indigenous communities. The action was, according to a school district spokesperson, a proactive step towards reconciliation. There was a mixed reaction to the move but the most common response, from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, was confusion.

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Topics: Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Awareness

First Nation Projects: Lack of equity? Not a Problem

Did you know that many, if not most, large projects undertaken in Canada are being done by proponents without any effect on their own balance sheet? In commercial investment sectors this is known as project financing.  


Project financing is the development of a project where the bulk of the financing, both equity and debt, is repaid primarily out of the assets being financed and their revenues. It’s paid solely out of the project.

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Topics: Indigenous economic development

What does traditional consensus decision making mean?

"The art of consensus decision making is dying. We are greatly concerned that Aboriginal people are increasingly equating ‘democracy’ with the act of voting ...[W]e are convinced that the practice of consensus decision making is essential to the culture of our peoples, as well as being the only tested and effective means of Aboriginal community self-government." [1]

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Topics: Indigenous Awareness

Indigenous issues articles: Is it time for specific headlines?

“Although daily newspapers have covered Indigenous issues extensively, news organizations are being called upon to reach a higher standard. As Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner Marie Wilson put it when she spoke to Ryerson’s School of Journalism, “Journalists must embrace their role as educators when reporting on Indigenous issues and recognize how their work shapes perceptions.” [1]


For many Canadians their sole source of information about Indigenous Peoples is via articles in print or online. Given that readers increasingly scan the headline before sharing on social media or moving onto another article, there has never been a greater need for specificity in headlines.

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Topics: Reconciliation, Indigenous Awareness

Some Resources to help you with Indigenous Protocol

On October 1, 2017 as I listened to Jagmeet Singh make his acceptance speech as the newly crowned leader of the National Democratic Party I was struck by how far Canada has come. He was the first visible minority to lead a national party, and pretty much the first words of his acceptance were to acknowledge “that we are on the traditional land of the Haudenosaunee, Wendat, Anishinaabe and the territories of the Mississaugas of the New Credit.” Wow.

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Topics: Indigenous protocol

Including Indigenous Caterers In Your Procurement Strategy

When developing your Indigenous Procurement Strategy one of the services you might consider including are the services of an Indigenous caterer. Or, for that next meeting with your shareholders, consider having it catered by an Indigenous chef - you will make a statement that supporting Indigenous culture is part of your corporate culture.

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Topics: Indigenous procurement

Two Examples of Indigenous Education Programs

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) Report and calls to action in 2015 brought some hard facts about residential schools to the surface and into the conscious of millions of Canadians. Among many other positive outcomes, the TRC report motivated many school districts to look at how education had been used as a tool of assimilation and the impact of that usage on Indigenous students today. School districts also started to look at their curriculum - at the way in which the relationship between the government and Indigenous Peoples was portrayed and that information about the residential school system was not included in the curriculum - had it been, there would not have been such a shock wave in society when the TRC report came out. As Commissioner Murray Sinclair of the TRC said “We have to start addressing the way that we teach our children about Indigenous people.”

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Topics: Indigenous education

Some Indigenous Protocol Examples

We are at an interesting juncture in Canada in terms of Indigenous relations. On the one hand there is an awakening and awareness on the part of mainstream Canadians, the media, and governments that is contributing to a landscape of reconciliation. This awareness and awakening is causing many to accept and reconcile, rather than hide from, uncomfortable truths about the history of Canada and how Indigenous Peoples have been treated. It is also generating calls by Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians for the removal of tributes to historical figures who were particularly ruthless in their treatment of Indigenous Peoples. On the other hand, there are some Canadians who struggle to make a name for themselves by clinging to and broadcasting their colonial ideals and beliefs. I don’t want to give any airtime to the latter - they simply don’t warrant any attention.

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Topics: Reconciliation, Indigenous relations