In order to best serve the needs of adults learning at the foundational level, Calgary Learns has been intentionally engaged with the Indigenous community. Returning to learning for Indigenous adults has added complexity. We believe it is critical for facilitators and program designers to understand Indigenous history and worldviews, and to ground this knowledge into safe and culturally appropriate learning spaces. This is our vision for our path to reconciliACTION.
Calgary Learns’ Reconciliation Journey
Our journey started over a decade ago with our participation on the education funders table of the former Calgary Urban Aboriginal Initiative (CUAI). Over the years we have listened to and learned from the Indigenous community while engaging in a number of projects to enhance support to adult Indigenous adults working at building their foundational skills and confidence.
We were proud to establish our Indigenous Grant Stream in 2016 to support the unique learning needs of Indigenous adult learners. Our granting processes were established by our Indigenous Education Liaison with the direction of the Indigenous community leaders and an Elder Advisory Group. Our grants selection process is informed by an Indigenous review team which includes both Indigenous community members and an Elder.
Our path forward has been enhanced through the generous multi-year grant with the Calgary Foundation. This investment has enabled us to increase our Indigenous led work in two specific areas:
1. Indigenous focussed professional development for the adult foundational learning field
2. Enhanced programming for Indigenous adults.
We are committed to our continued journey to reconciliation. In fact, the Calgary Learns Board made it a strategic priority to “engage closely with Indigenous communities to explore further actions that Calgary Learns can take towards reconciliation”. Our recent reconciliaction steps forward include:
- A pipe ceremony to start our current funding cycle
- An Indigenous Learning Circle for our staff and Board to enhance our knowledge of Indigenous worldviews and ways of knowing
- An Indigenous Learning Nest, established to facilitate a reciprocal learning opportunity for agencies and facilitators working with Indigenous learners
- Professional Development aimed at supporting practitioners in the field who work with Indigenous adults in foundational programming
The following links guide our reconciliation journey. We invite you to explore them as well:
- Indigenous Literacy – Literacy & Foundational Learning for Indigenous Adults: Investment Strategy & Framework to Guide Calgary Learns
Submitted by Métis Calgary Family Services Society. Suzanne McLeod, M.A., Ph.D. (Candidate). July 2016
- Preparing the Lodge: Decolonizing Academic Assessment and Learning for Indigenous Learners
A report on the collaborative project 2015-16 Bridges Social Development (Canada Bridges) and St. Mary’s University.
- National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation : Report and Findings
- Government of Canada’s progress on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action:
- Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
- United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- Indigenous Ally Toolkit – Calgary Foundation
- First Peoples Principles of Learning
- White Goose Flying- The City of Calgary
- Engaging with Elders: A Co-created Story