Indigenous Perspectives Society

Monthly Archives: November 2018

What does Indigenous look and sound like?

 

With the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and both the governments of Canada and British Columbia adopting the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, more people are wanting to ‘Indigenize’ their work with images and voices to reflect the new way of seeing presented through reconciliation efforts. Considering the diversity of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, this process has raised the question, “What does Indigenous look and sound like?”

In my position at Indigenous Perspectives Society (IPS), I have interviewed many individuals, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous. When interviewing Indigenous applicants, it has been my experience that they come from a range of cultural backgrounds and immersion. Some have been raised in traditional families with cultural teachings, values, and experiences. For others, many have been displaced from family and cultural rearing by the child welfare system, and some never taught their culture out of shame instilled by the dominant mainstream society and colonization.  The gift offered by these varied experiences is a diversity in the stories shared by applicants.

In one interview, an Indigenous applicant in her introduction of herself shared the words “I know I don’t look Indigenous.” While I did not say anything in the moment, at the end of the interview when I provided her feedback I shared with her that when she identifies as an Indigenous woman, to do so with pride and unapologetically. Having said this, it did get me to thinking that this was not my first experience with an Indigenous candidate who felt the need to explain why they did not look a certain way. I hold the Canadian government, our mainstream stereotypes, as well lateral violence in Indigenous communities responsible for this.

With the implementation of the Indian Act in Canada, the Canadian government exploited Indigenous identities by dictating that the government and the government alone was the only body that could confirm whether an individual was in fact an Indigenous person. With this colonial exercise came mainstream and societal expectations and the stereotypical practice that an Indigenous person ought to look a certain way so that they could be easily identifiable.

Worse yet, these societal stereotypes found their way into Indigenous communities whereby community members then resented their counterparts who didn’t quite look like them. Skin being dark enough, hair straight enough and linguistic patterns became a way to separate and divide Indigenous communities.

We know that Indigenous looks and sounds differently depending which nation, group, or community you are part of. We also know that heritage and blood lines contribute to what Indigenous looks like. In the spirit of reconciliation, I encourage non-Indigenous allies to honour self-identification and to remember that Indigenous can look and sound as diverse as anyone in the world.

Rachelle Dallaire, Executive Director, Indigenous Perspectives Society

 

 

Current Employment Opportunities

Instructor / Contract Instructor Aboriginal Social Worker Training

Are you eager to work in a dynamic environment where your passion for knowledge-sharing creates excellence through training and leadership? Are you willing to help nurture a deeper understanding of Indigenous perspectives and cultural differences? We are a not for profit organization dedicated to strengthening the lives and voices of Indigenous people, and we are looking for an energetic and confident Instructor to join our dedicated team. We are looking for an Instructor to deliver child welfare training to front-line social workers working in a Delegated Aboriginal Agency.

In this role you can display your love of bringing ideas and theories to life while fostering meaningful dialogue that boosts self-determination and social change for Indigenous communities. As an instructor, you will be sharing your natural aptitude for developing, reviewing, and delivering curriculum. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to travel frequently within BC.

Are you a confident and natural teacher, coach, and mentor? If you thrive in a dynamic environment, have a passion for adult education, and are enthusiastic about working in partnership with Indigenous families, elders, and communities, then we want to talk with you!

Who are we? Indigenous Perspectives Society is a provincial not for profit organization that strengthens the voice of Indigenous communities through culturally relevant education, professional development, research, and policy. Unique to our organization is our commitment to culturally relevant services. For 20 years, our programs have been fostering a deeper understanding of Indigenous perspectives and cultural differences and helping build successful relationships with Indigenous communities, stakeholders and government partners.

The ideal candidate will have:
• A Bachelor of Social Work or a related degree.
• 3-5 years of relevant experience in an Aboriginal Child and Family Services.
• Thorough knowledge of Aboriginal social work specifically in Child Welfare, and knowledge of legislation, regulations and practice standards pertaining to Indigenous Child & Family Services.
• Demonstrated experience in adult education instruction and delivery.
• Sound knowledge of Indigenous communities, cultures, traditions, and practices in BC.
• Proficiency with computer software including MS Office, databases, and PowerPoint.
• Preference will be given to applicants of Aboriginal ancestry.

If you are qualified and interested in this challenging position, please send your resume with an accompanying cover letter describing how your strengths and experience make you the ideal fit to rachelled@ipsociety.ca with “Instructor: ASW” as the subject line. Open until filled.

The Indigenous Perspectives Society thanks all applicants for their interest and advises that only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

Our small class sizes and personalized training offer participants the ability deepen their knowledge in a culturally supportive and healing environment. Our online training supports the schedules of adult learners and professionals.

The impact of Indigenous Perspectives Society extends well beyond the graduates of our Aboriginal Social Work training working in delegated agencies. We provide research and reporting on Indigenous, Aboriginal and related topics for communities, governments and organizations.  We offer contract training opportunities for organizations seeking to increase their understanding of Indigenous cultural perspectives.