Custom Group Training: Indigenous Awareness & Strategic Engagement

6 minute read

The first course in Canada that that combines experiential cultural learning with research and strategic advice on context-specific Indigenous engagement.

Context - Why should you be interested in this training?

Almost every policy, program or project developed in Canada has implications for Indigenous (First Nation, Métis and Inuit) communities. In many cases, there is a legal requirement to meaningfully engage these communities on such developments. In every case, early and meaningful engagement is recognized best practice for seeking community consent and the sociopolitical acceptance of the broader Indigenous governance landscape. 

It was for this reason that the 2015 Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called upon federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, and the corporate sector, to bolster the cultural competency of their staff by providing them with opportunities to learn about the history of Indigenous peoples, the legacy of colonialism, treaties and Aboriginal rights, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Equally important is having knowledge of your organization’s particular operating context, and the tools, skills, and strategy required to ensure that your engagement and partnerships with Indigenous communities and organizations is meaningful, effective, and contributes to meeting your, and their, objectives.

Target Audience - Who should attend this training?

This comprehensive and holistic approach to combining cultural and historic learning with research and strategic advice on engagement is ideally suited to extended teams led by Assistant Deputy Ministers/Vice Presidents, Directors General, Regional Directors General, Directors, and senior staff. It is also an excellent option for specific business-line teams, such as Human Resources or Procurement.

How Does it Work? - What is included in this training?

This isn’t just another off-the-shelf-course! IOG staff will work with your organization to obtain an in-depth understanding of your particular objectives and challenges in order to build an agenda that includes interactive, experiential learning, and strategic research and advice on engagement of Indigenous communities and organizations tailored to the specific context in which your team operates. Courses can be designed for delivery in one day, or two.

Typically, half the time (the morning of a one-day course, or Day One of a two-day course) will be spent on interactive, experiential learning, such as a blanket exercise or medicine walk. The second half of the course will present the results of the strategic engagement research and advice for discussion and next steps. Topics covered can include approaches to community engagement in your organization’s particular operating context; developing a strategic plan for engaging on the development of a specific policy, program or project; understanding systems of Indigenous governance and politics; implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), Indigenous Relationship Audit/360°; Indigenous recruitment, retention and advancement; inclusive workplaces; Aboriginal procurement, and others.

Courses can be delivered anywhere in Canada, drawing on the intimately familiar with your local operating context. Groups of any size can be accommodated. IOG’s extensive network of Indigenous facilitators, Elders and subject matter experts.

Indigenous Awareness and Strategic Engagement is fully customizable. From interactive, experiential cultural learning, to context-specific research, analysis and advice, your organization will benefit from an approach that is responsive to its unique interests, and needs.

Training Options 

Build your event a-la-carte-style to best suit your team. We are happy to consult with you to help you develop the ideal learning event. 

Indigenous Awareness: 

Below are some of the examples of the interactive, experiential learning activities that IOG can arrange (subject to availability) for your team/organization.

·      Blanket Exercise: Blanket exercises are interactive, participatory lessons in the history of Indigenous people in Canada, and the history of Indigenous-Crown relations. Participants take on the role of Canada’s First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples as colonialism spreads across Canada, with devastating results. Blanket exercises invariably have a profound, and enlightening, affect on those who participate in them. 

·      Medicine Walk (weather permitting):A medicine walk takes participants out on the land to learn about the medicinal and cultural benefits of plants, guided by local Indigenous Knowledge Keepers. Gain a better understanding of the role that deep knowledge of the natural environment plays in individual and community wellbeing.

·      Cultural Crafting: Drums, baskets, beading, sculpting! Group crafting sessions led by First Nation, Métis and Inuit artisans are an excellent way to learn about the cultural importance of creating useful articles from the natural environment. A ‘hands-on’ cultural learning experience, and a great team-building exercise.

·      Speakers: First Nation, Métis and Inuit community and corporate leaders share their insights on reconciliation and effective engagement. By engaging with leaders on their personal experiences and observations of current events, participants gain greater insight about the history and state of their operating environment, allowing them to more effectively build relationships to meet their objectives.

Strategic Engagement and Advisory Options: 

The Strategic Engagement research and advisory services described below are building blocks to meaningful relationship-building and effective engagement.

·      Environmental Scanning: A core component of Strategic Engagement, Environmental Scanning assesses your organization’s objectives against the First Nation, Métis and Inuit context in your specific operating environment. Through desktop research, interviews of key staff in the engagement hierarchy, and the application of wise practices and lessons learned, our staff will provide you with invaluable insight critical to ensuring meaningful and effective engagement of Indigenous communities and organizations.

·      Engagement Strategy and Planning: Build on environmental scanning and strategic analysis to develop a meaningful and effective Indigenous engagement strategy, and formal plan. Ensure that your strategy and plan reflect lessons learned and wise practices in engagement, and that your engagement activities are mindful of local, distinctions-based protocols, and structures of governance.

·      Indigenous Relationships Audit and 360°: IOG staff will work with your organization to review your existing relationships with Indigenous communities and organizations, including interviewing your engagement partners, and provide advice and recommendations for strengthening those relationships. The Indigenous Relationships Audit and 360°is particularly valuable to front-line government and industry engagement teams that need to ensure that they are not unknowingly at risk due to less-than- optimal relationships with communities and organizations.

·      Recruitment, Retention, Advancement and Procurement: Ensure that your organization’s efforts to recruit, retain and promote the advancement of Indigenous peoples is maximized, and that your workplace is conducive to doing so. Discover ways in which you can maximize the benefits to Indigenous businesses and communities of a project, or ongoing operations, through effective procurement strategies and commercial capacity-building.

Get Started & Learn More

Ross Holden, Vice-President, Indigenous Governance and Self-Determination