Ray of Hope (Waterloo) takes participants to the annual Traditional Pow Wow at the Aboriginal Education Centre at St. Paul’s College, University of Waterloo and facilitates access to resources at the Aboriginal Education Centre.
Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba, IRCOM, (Winnipeg) organizes workshops and classroom activities for newcomers where Indigenous facilitators, Indigenous Cultural Advisors, elders and allies share their teachings. Indigenous ceremonies and traditions are often shared and explained (e.g., smudge, sharing circle, closing circle). Discussions about human rights (basic needs: housing, rent, money management; citizenship, justice, colonization and resistance) are explored and gaps in knowledge and understanding are addressed (e.g., residential schools, 60s scoop, child welfare/millennial scoop). Sharing indigenous history, experiences, and perspectives has been helpful to build trust, empathy and understanding. The goal is to build a sense of commonality versus difference. The approach is holistic (adequate space, childcare, snack are provided, language and literacy levels are taken into account).
IRCOM also hosts lunch and learn discussion groups viewing the four-part video series 8th Fire hosted by Wab Kinew, the former journalist and current leader of the Manitoba New Democratic Party. In the 8th Fire series Kinew travels across Canada exploring how to build relationships between settlers and Indigenous People. (8th Fire can be found on youtube)
Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, or ISANS (Halifax) has internal education sessions and workshops for staff and clients and also attends external events with clients. These initiatives further ISANS’ goals to increase the education and awareness of staff around First Nations and connect newcomers with Indigenous Peoples.
Surrey Local Immigration Partnership, or LIP (Surrey, BC) launched an Indigenous and Refugee Youth Intercultural Dialogue project. Through a series of dialogues – two dialogue circles and a traditional longhouse ceremony with Kwantlen First Nation – youth were able to safely share their individual journeys and find common ground with respect to experiences of displacement, trauma, and colonization. The Surrey LIP worked with a UBC graduate student who wrote a case study based on the project (link below).