Beyond Indigenous Awareness and Competencies Training

Time: Tuesday, June 16, 10-11 am MT, Edmonton

Session Title: Beyond Indigenous Awareness and Competencies Training: Centering Indigenous Relationality in Professional Development

Presenter: Dr. Gabrielle Lindstrom (nee Weasel Head) is an assistant professor in Indigenous Studies at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She teaches Indigenous Studies: Canadian and International perspectives, and Research Ethics and Protocols. Her research interests include meaningful assessment, Indigenous homelessness policy reform, Indigenous health, intercultural pedagogies, SoTL: intercultural parallels, Indigenous resilience, assessment reform in Child Welfare, anti-colonial theory and anti-racist pedagogy.    

Session Summary: Based on my experiences facilitating Indigenous awareness and competencies training workshops, this presentation aims to problematize current diversity and inclusion discourses and educational/professional development approaches. The objectives of this session include:

·         Establishing how current Indigenous cultural competency and awareness training approaches are often insufficient to address the overall ignorance, or lack of awareness, of non-Indigenous peoples working in healthcare, education and social serving systems.

·         Propose that the experiential components of the competency and awareness training are not enough to dismantle stereotypes and often work to either further desensitize or traumatize non-Indigenous participants.

·         In terms of mainstream diversity programming and awareness programs, explain how Western systems need to move beyond Indigenous awareness training since many Indigenous peoples see that it is not a useful learning model because it only addresses filling in knowledge with regards to what non-Indigenous people are missing and not what Indigenous peoples have lost and are continuing to lose – both amongst themselves and in White mainstream society.

·         Describe a relational learning model that is delivered from an Indigenous perspective and utilizes Indigenous pedagogy and knowledge. Teachings are intended to offer a deepened understanding of colonial impacts as a pathway towards fostering critical self-reflexive practice. An anti-colonial theoretical lens allows for learners to understand that in colonial nations, social domination underpins the Indigenous/non-Indigenous relations.

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