Elders, Aboriginal advisors and Culture: a “way of being”, not an event

7928109324_0cc92fb4bcCommunities where there are no bands makes the community liaison job difficult.  The students do not self-identify as First Nations. There is an advisory committee to build a better approach to the First Nation program and approaches but the systemic barriers need to be acknowledged before they can be changed.

Indigenizing the Academy Elders

Mr. Elder with Indigenizing

Changes have begun in the way of Elders being invited to open ceremonies and community deliveries. Some Advisory committees include Elders from the community but there needs to be a conversation about the difference between First Nations ways of knowing versus the western way.  Culture and tradition needs to be ‘a way of being’ rather than an event. Strategic plans, education plans and the Board need to be on board to provide consistent, open, direct commitment to the Aboriginal common. Middle management struggles if these senior management leadership elements are not in place. With good and bad past history institutions have some ‘trust building’ to do with First Nations communities. Campus’s with satellite campus’s face the challenge of who is working at the distant campus.

Campus’s need to have resident Elders with First Nations involvement and consultation in all activities. Most programming offerings still cover at the European aspect instead of Indigenous material. A tangible description of what Indigenizing means is required so people know what they are expected to change.

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