Communications with Indigenous leaders - Letter Writing Tips

When communicating cross-culturally there are certain sensitivities around language used in the letter and expectations placed on the recipient of the letter. In this article we focus on some guidelines for writing a letter to request a meeting with an Indigenous leader and provide some tips, as well as some do’s and don’ts.

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8 Things You Need to Know About On-Reserve Housing Issues

 Did you know that adequate housing was recognized in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Did you also know that one in five (19.4%) of Aboriginal people lived in a dwelling that was in need of major repairs in 2016? Or that In 2016, 18.3% of Aboriginal people lived in housing that was crowded? [1] Those stats are not for a developing country. 

Those stats are for Canada, which ranked as  the 24th wealthiest country in the world in 2017. In 2014, James Anaya, then-Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, noted that housing in First Nation communities “has reached a crisis level.” [2]

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What is Indigenous Identity?

We identify ourselves in many ways - by gender, generation, ethnicity, cultural, religion, profession/employment, nationality, locality, language, hobby (biker, equestrian, knitter etc) and so on. We rarely identify ourselves in one category - it’s usually a combination of identities.

Identifying as an Indigenous person brings additional layers, complexities, and considerations. The added layers of identity can include, but are not limited to: whether or not a person has status, which nation, band, clan, or tribal council or treaty office they belong to, and whether or not they live in their home community or have migrated to an urban centre. 

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Definition of Smudging to Indigenous Protocol - Our Top 10 articles in 2017

In 2017, we had just over 816,000 visitors to our blog Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples® looking for information on a wide variety of topics related to Indigenous Peoples. Here are the top 10 most read articles from the past year, arranged with the most read first. 


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7 Not so Secret advantages of First Nations Radio

Here's an article shared by Juanita Muwanga:

 

Gimaa radio CHYF 88.9, which broadcasts from M'chigeeng First Nation, started as a dream of the late Carl Beam, an internationally known Indigenous artist whose works dealt with colonialism, language, and the spirit. As a child he was sent to Garnier Residential school and learned firsthand the power of language, and what happens to a people when their own is denied them.

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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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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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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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What does Indigenous connectivity mean?

The woldview of many Indigenous Peoples includes the principle of connectivity - that everything in the universe is connected. The spirit world is connected to the mortal world, the sea is connected to the land, and the sky is connected to the ground. Connectivity explains the connection people have to their communities, their traditional territories, the ecosystem on those lands.  

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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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Indigenous Corporate Training Inc., provides information on this blog for free as a resource for those seeking information about Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Readers looking for more detailed information, or who have questions, can sign up for our fee-for-service training. Also, ICT encourages everyone who reads this information to use their best judgment given their own circumstances, vulnerabilities, and needs, and to contact a consulting or legal professional if you have more specific questions. Join the conversation over on our Linkedin page.