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Advancing Indigenous inclusion in public participation

09 Jun 2023 10:21 AM | Anonymous

In 2015 a group of public engagement professionals asked an important question - “what should IAP2 Canada be doing to help advance reconciliation and support Indigenous inclusion in public participation (P2) and engagement activities in the organization and in our profession?".

In late 2018, the IAP2 Canada Board of Directors approved an Indigenous Inclusion Action Plan. One of the identified activities was to develop a common foundation of understanding about the history and experiences of Indigenous Peoples in Canada within IAP2 Canada leadership so that IAP2 Canada can better participate in reconciliation by advancing Indigenous inclusion within the organization and throughout the practice of P2 in Canada.

Transformative change toward quality learning environments

Co-created with the late Sioux Elder Lloyd Ewinen and modelled on his interpretation of medicine wheel teachings, the Indigenous Awareness Learning Program was developed as a continuous and never-ending circle that goes beyond traditional learning practices to include four domains found in quality learning environments - spiritual (creativity), physical (health), intellectual (citizenship), and emotional (social-emotional).

The semi-structured, cohort-based learning program was initially developed for IAP2 Canada staff and members of the board; however, the program was made available to all P2 practitioners across Canada so they could better support Indigenous inclusion in their P2 and engagement activities.

How does the program work?

Participants are matched with a learning partner with experience working with Indigenous communities and placed into a cohort of no more than four people. Over the six-month duration of the program, participants engage in interactive and applied learning as they work through five assignments, each based on the quadrants of the traditional Medicine Wheel.

Measuring the impact of our 2022 cohort

The program's impact is measured using quantitative data, such as the number of participants and learning partners, and qualitative data, such as feedback surveys and observations including increasing the comfort level, knowledge, and awareness of participants.

In 2022 we had:

  • 7 learning partners and 25 learners
  • 30% increase of learners from 2021
  • 83% said they developed a strong awareness

Feedback received in 2022 includes the following:

I have committed to sharing knowledge and experiences of Indigenous Peoples in Canada as part of my own desire to advance Reconciliation efforts. This program was a fantastic way to deepen my practice and expand my personal learning journey with my learning cohort.”

“This program was both eye-opening and informative in a safe and supported forum. The design of the program allowed for access to excellent resources but more importantly, connected me with people across Canada looking to learn and improve our systems to better serve our communities and Indigenous, Metis and Inuit populations. It was humbling to realize how little I understood about the historical barriers and legacy that our society carries forward today with respect to Indigenous communities. This course was a wonderful first step on my journey for growth.”

“This program is unique in how it truly deepens your awareness and understanding of Indigenous nations. It is not just theoretical, as it allows to build real relationships with Indigenous stakeholders as part of the program.”

Interested in finding out more about the Indigenous Awareness Learning Program? Get started today!

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