By Tereigh Ewert
A ground-breaking program, almost unique to post-secondary institutions in Canada, is offered through our own Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectivness: Indigenous Voices. In its final of three years of PCIP funding, we have been able to develop, pilot, and now deliver campus-wide this staff and faculty program, free of charge. The 14-gathering program was developed in consultation with Elders, Knowledge Keepers, community members, and Indigenous and non-Indigenous faculty and staff, and they continue to introduce learners to a variety of topics that challenge common misconceptions about Indigenous peoples, colonial structures and practices within education (decolonizing), and to Indigenous cultures, ways of knowing, world views, and histories (Indigenizing). Click here to view the program model.
Many participants want to begin the program from the beginning, with the “Shared Ground” gathering. In this gathering, terminology, the Indian Act, explanations of “stats,” myths and misconceptions, and participants’ Q & As are answered. Because so many people have requested this gathering, it is now being offered once monthly. The remaining gatherings are held once in each term, so it is not too late to become involved this term! The program is not prescriptive, in that participants need to go through program systematically—rather, through self-assessment, they determine which gatherings are most suitable to them.
Perhaps most exciting about the program is that participants are not only describing changes to their professional lives, but even more importantly, to their personal lives. The process of transformation is underway—the impetuous behind the pillar of “Aboriginal Engagement” in IP3.
Participants who have invested 20 hours or more in the program are eligible for a certificate of participation, but we have means to document any gatherings attended by any one individual, for his/her records.
“Time” is cited as the largest obstacle between whether or not these gatherings are attended. The learnings and profound effects of the program make creating time most valuable and rewarding.
You may register for our gatherings on the Indigenous Voices site, or through the calendar of events on the Gwenna Moss site.