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What Should You Look For in an Indigenous Awareness Training Program?

Do you know what to look for in an Indigenous Awareness training program?

We found an independent checklist* and put ourselves and our Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples® training to the test!

We are proud to say that we exceed all areas outlined on the checklist. Take a look:

1.  A program that includes a needs assessment

We discuss the client’s needs for the training from the first inquiry. We look to ensure that your goals are met for each training session. If requested we can take a formal needs assessment of the anticipated participants to gain insight into their expectations and questions before the training session.

2.  A well-researched, fact-based program that is originally developed, field-tested and rooted in genuine insights and experiences and is not derived from other training sources or materials.

There are many choices for training in the marketplace. On the surface, they all look like history lessons because that’s how many new trainers have interpreted the calls to action. With this in mind, many new trainers simply grab things off the internet and use them in their courses. Purchasers should be on the lookout to ensure that the training is not derived from other source material or contains trademarked or copyrighted content belonging to others. This critical step in upholding the authenticity of the learning experience demonstrates a commitment to ethical practices and respect for intellectual property rights.

We have developed our training programs over the 20+ years we have provided Indigenous awareness and relations training. We have learned that a safe space for learning is a must. Trainers should work hard not to make learners feel ashamed for asking questions and avoid making learners feel guilty about history in Canada.

Another essential thing to look for is the view of the history lesson. Do the trainers you’re looking at view it as a history lesson? It’s not just a history lesson.  In intercultural communications, the training should be viewed as a way to get people who live under different laws and different cultures on the same page.

(Our book, Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples® is in its 4th edition. In addition to our training, the book has been used by post-secondary institutions for their courses.) This approach underscores our dedication to delivering training programs that are authentic and ethically sound.

3.  A program that deals with contemporary Indigenous issues such as economics, education, social conditions, treaties, taxation, self-government, and land claims

We feel that it is important for participants in our training to understand the historical and legal importance of Indigenous Peoples in Canada to fully understand the contemporary Indigenous issues that affect Canadians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous. We provide honest and straightforward answers to questions about whether Indigenous people living on reserves get free housing or free post-secondary education. Whether Indigenous people pay taxes in Canada. Whether there is a connection between Indigenous unemployment and Indigenous health and social problems.

Within the history section of our training, we explain the history of treaties through the present BC Treaty Commission and the Specific Claims Commission. We explain the importance of self-government and the forms that governance has taken to date.

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Having an interest in the progression of industry – aboriginal relations, this course has given me an informed appreciation for the issues on the table today and in the future.

J. G.  •  Moose Mountain Technical Services

4. Professional trainers well-versed in the subject matter.

Our Indigenous Awareness trainers are Indigenous Peoples who have first-hand knowledge of the communities and lived experience. They are entrepreneurial people who had their own businesses or worked in large corporations or government organizations. They have been providing Indigenous Awareness training for over 60 years combined.

Our Subject Matter Experts and trainers are both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous professionals with backgrounds ranging from local government and the corporate sector to Indigenous leadership, both elected and hereditary. (See also: Indigenous Cultural Competency Trainer Criteria.)

5. Indigenous trainers and resource people who can share experiences and perspectives.

Our Indigenous trainers and resource people have diverse backgrounds and come from a range of different Indigenous communities. To learn more about each of our trainers, visit our team profile page.

6. An environment where participants can ask sensitive questions and explore differing perspectives.

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A good overview of a complex area. Appreciated the matter-of-fact delivery of sensitive topics.

A. M.  •  Shell Canada Limited

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This workshop was highly informative. Including the perspectives and experiences of First Nations… sets this workshop apart from other Aboriginal awareness training programs.

R. D.  •  Enbridge Pipelines

7.  A program that does not evade difficult issues - such as racism - but addresses them in a non-threatening way.

It is important when training to address difficult issues, such as racism, in a non-threatening way. From our experience, racism flows from ignorance of the facts. Once provided with rational, fact-based information participants are able to understand the history of a difficult issue and see solutions in a different manner.

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Workshop leader knowledgeable, sets excellent pace and his presentation style is calming and enjoyable, assisting understanding of material.

S. G.  •  Hunter Dickinson Inc.

8. Good resource materials that can be used in the session and then as reference tools.

As mentioned earlier, our best-selling book, Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples®, is presently in its 4th edition. Every participant in our training receives a copy to use as a continued reference.

9. A conducive facility, ideally a location that augments participants' understanding of Indigenous Peoples and issues.

We have found that by providing the training in the client’s preferred location participants can feel more comfortable as they are within their own environment. If it is preferred we can arrange for an alternate facility either in a neutral, central, or Indigenous community location.

10. Positive evaluations and references from previous participants.

At the end of each training session, we provide an evaluation for participants to give us their input. The quotes posted above are a sample of the comments we have received from our evaluations. You can see the types of comments received and the clients we have trained by checking out our testimonials page.

*The independent checklist was created by and originally posted on the Indigenous and Northern Development Canada website. We have used it as a guide for our own list here.

Please don't hesitate to contact us with your questions. Click the contact us button, fill out the form, and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

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Your Commitment + Our Training = Informed Indigenous Relations