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Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples ©

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What You Need To Know About Indigenous Language Revitalization

Guest contributors:

Amanda Pereira & Jillian Morgan, wintranslation

 

Indigenous languages are struggling to survive. With the number of Indigenous language speakers on the decline, some of these languages are on the verge of completely disappearing. Many of Canada’s Indigenous languages, such as Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca, are estimated to have less than one hundred speakers. But, due to an increasing awareness of Indigenous people and the importance of their culture and language in Canada, Indigenous language revitalization efforts are being made to keep these languages alive.

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Topics: Reconciliation, Indigenous Awareness

Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples™ Blog Passes 1 Millionth Visitor

 

I am delighted to announce that our blog, Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples™, surpassed the 1 millionth visitor milestone in mid-March. I started the blog in 2011 as a free resource for people seeking information about Indigenous Peoples. It spluttered along for a couple of years slowly gaining traction. Our biggest month was 7,000 visitors. I wanted to reach a greater audience so moved to a platform called Hubspot, and that is when the blog really took off. We now have an average of 60,000 visitors a month which is quite a leap from our earlier efforts.

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Topics: Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Awareness

A Brief Definition of Decolonization and Indigenization

Decolonization

Decolonization once viewed as the formal process of handing over the instruments of government, is now recognized as a long-term process involving the bureaucratic, cultural, linguistic and psychological divesting of colonial power [1] 

 

Indigenization

Make indigenous; subject to native influence [2]

 

 cultural assimilation-128432-edited.jpg

 

Ever since the release in 2015 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s summary report on residential schools there has been an awakening on the part of non-Indigenous Canadians to the harsh realities of the Indigenous experience in Canada. The Commission’s 94 calls-to-action (CTAs) have ignited organizations and institutions to examine their operations and identify ways to answer and implement applicable CTAs. These actions and initiatives often lead to discussions on a broader context about decolonization and indigenization. But, what do those terms mean? This article provides a very basic explanation of a very complex topic.

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Topics: Indigenous Awareness

3 Things to know about Alberta Carbon Tax Exemptions and First Nations

Carbon tax is a form of pollution tax. It levies a fee on the production, distribution or use of fossil fuels based on how much carbon their combustion emits. The government sets a price per ton on carbon, then translates it into a tax on electricity, natural gas or oil. Because the tax makes using dirty fuels more­ expensive, it encourages utilities, businesses and individuals to reduce consumption and increase energy efficiency. Carbon tax also makes alternative energy more cost-competitive with cheaper, polluting fuels like coal, natural gas and oil. [1]

 

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Topics: Indigenous Awareness

A Definition of Smudging

Sacred smoke created from burning medicinal or sacred plants is an aspect of many cultures and religions the world over. In North America, it is a practice common to Indigenous Peoples and is called smudging. Many, but not all, Indigenous cultures in Canada smudge but may have different beliefs associated with the smoke, and different ceremonies and protocols. In this article we are giving a general definition of smudging.

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Topics: Indigenous Awareness

Reconciliation and Indigenous Libraries in Schools

 


Education for reconciliation

  1. We call upon the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada to maintain an annual commitment to Aboriginal education issues, including:
  2. Developing and implementing Kindergarten to Grade Twelve curriculum and learning resources on Aboriginal peoples in Canadian history, and the history and legacy of residential schools. [1]

In late 2016 a newspaper article about a Nanaimo school that was building an Indigenous-authored collection of books for the school library caught our eye. The school had a small nucleus of books but wanted to build up their collection with titles that would appeal to all reading levels and that accurately depicted Indigenous history, Canadian history, Indigenous culture. The school, John Barsby Secondary, went a step further and commissioned Snuneymuxw carver Noel Brown to build a bookcase to house the books.

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Topics: Reconciliation, Indigenous Awareness

Indigenous cultural competency trainer criteria

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls-to-Action (CTAs) are galvanizing  the government, corporate and private sectors in Canada to learn about the wrongs of the past and work towards a better future for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples. The CTAs, released in June 2015, have inadvertently triggered an opportunity for entrepreneurial types to set themselves up as Indigenous awareness and cultural competency providers. The high demand to fulfill the CTAs is creating the opportunity for “new to the field” trainers.

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Topics: Indigenous Awareness

Snapshot of Indian Act denial of status for Indigenous women

 

“When an Indian woman marries outside the band, whether a non-treaty Indian or a white man, it is in the interest of the Department, and in her interest as well, to sever her connection wholly with the reserve and the Indian mode of life, and the purpose of this section was to enable us to commute her financial interests. The words "with the consent of the band" have in many cases been effectual in preventing this severance….The amendment makes in the same direction as the proposed Enfranchisement Clauses, that is it takes away the power from unprogressive bands of preventing their members from advancing to full citizenship.” [1]

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Topics: Indigenous Awareness

Indigenous Peoples terminology guidelines for usage

We’ve talked about the definition of Indigenous Peoples and the constitutional significance of Indigenous or Aboriginal. In this article we drill down on guidelines for usage. Terms for Indigenous Peoples have evolved over time and are continuing to evolve.


The First Peoples of this land now known as Canada formerly had unique communities with unique names - there wasn’t a need for collective nouns or complicated terminology. With European contact and ensuing colonization, the government required people to be defined and labeled for ease of governing.

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Topics: Indigenous Awareness

What is the definition of Indigenous Peoples

We’ve talked about the constitutional implications of Indigenous or Aboriginal so now want to tackle the definition of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and who uses this term and why.


First, as it stands, there is no generally accepted definition of Indigenous Peoples in a global context. Some countries refer to Indigenous Peoples as the people who were there first at contact. Others refer to Indigenous Peoples as the nomadic peoples within their borders.   

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Topics: Indigenous Awareness, Indigenous relations