Category Archives: Indigenous engagement

Pulling Together Leaders & Administrators, Part 3

This is the third and final post in the series I’m writing about the Pulling Together Guide for Leaders and Administrators, and the series of workshops held in the Fall of 2020 related to it, facilitated by Marlene Erickson and Jewell Gillies. See the first post and the second post in the series. This post focuses on the section of the guide called “Sammon” (Salmon), which is about bringing home what you have gathered on the Indigenization journey into your own institution, and also the last section, focused on the future.

In the workshop focused on the Sammon section of the Guide we were encouraged to reflect on what we can bring back to our own work from what we have learned and discussed in these sessions. Here the theme of courage came up again (as it did in the first session): having the courage to take risks, make mistakes, ask questions, build relationships, move forward with the work. One thing that stood out to me from this workshop was a suggestion that when we are working on various projects and initiatives, we continually ask ourselves and others involved: does this meet the needs of all learners, including Indigenous learners? Does it support the relationships we have or wish to have with Indigenous communities? If the answer is no, have the courage to dig deeper and work on it until the answer is yes.

A related theme was patience: having patience with ourselves, as we take risks and make mistakes. Recognize the mistakes and learn from them, and move on and keep going. Having patience with ourselves as we learn, and how long that may take. Also having patience with others as we are all on different points of the journey, and working to support each other in these various points as best we can.

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Pulling Together Leaders & Administrators, Part 1

In October and November 2020 I participated in a BCcampus-supported series of workshops called the Fall Indigenous Series, a six-week set of sessions focusing on Pulling Together: A Guide for Leaders and Administrators. The series was facilitated by Marlene Erickson and Jewell Gilles. Here are excerpts from their bios, from a BCcampus post previewing the series:

Marlene Erickson grew up in Nak’azdli (also known as Fort St. James). She is the Executive Director of Aboriginal Education at the College of New Caledonia, where she has worked for over 25 years in various roles. he has served as director for the Yinka Dene Language Institute, and as a director, advisor, and chairperson for the First Peoples’ Cultural Council. She is an executive board member of the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC), a policy and advocacy organization that represents and works on behalf of First Nations communities in British Columbia.

Jewell Gillies is Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation (northern Vancouver Island). After completing 2 years of study toward a Criminal Justice Diploma at the University of the Fraser Valley, Jewell spent time as a police officer in Vancouver. However, after six years in law enforcement, Jewell had to accept that the uniform was a barrier to the goals they wanted to achieve, as it represented a disturbing history for those Jewell was trying to connect to and help. … Now, in their work in the Aboriginal Services Department of Okanagan College, Jewell is recognizing that they are in a better position to effect real change.

For a short overview of the series, see a recap post about this series on the BCcampus website, which includes the amazing graphic recording works from each session by Michelle Buchholz, of Wet’suwet’en heritage.

I’m going to do a few (belated) posts reflecting on my experience reading Pulling Together: A Guide for Leaders and Administrators, and participating in this series, as a way to help ensure that I better remember and carry forward what I have learned from this incredibly impactful series. It was made so impactful both by the facilitators, but also by the participation of many people in post-secondary institutions in BC who shared their thoughts, their emotional reactions, their fears, their hopes, their successes and mistakes, and more. Thank you to you all!

This first post will be about the first two meetings of the series, and the front matter and section 1 of the Guide. Please see also the second post and the third post about this series.

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Pulling Together Leaders & Administrators, Part 2

This is the second in a series of posts in which I reflect on my experience in a series of workshops focused on the Pulling Together Leaders and Administrators Guide, and facilitated by Jewell Gillies and Marlene Erickson. See more about this workshop series in my first post about it, and see the third post in this series as well.

This post is about the second and third sessions in the workshop series, and the sections on Kahkah (Raven) and Leloo (Wolf). As noted in the previous post, in the Pulling Together Guide for Leaders and Administrators the path of Indigenization is discussed as a journey. The section on Raven is focused on the importance of storytelling and ceremony as we paddle together, and the one on Wolf is about gathering–what we’re gathering from our journey.

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