Written by Intengine in partnership with ECO Canada
Webinar: Cultural Self-Reflection
Indigenous Cultural Sensitivity Training
Hosted by: ECO Canada
EP Member: Price: Free
Non-Member Price: Free
Webinar Length: 60 mins
Career Stage: All Career Stages
Presented by Brad Spence, member of the Saddle Lake First Nation and an Indigenous Relations Specialist at ECO Canada.
Brad Spence of ECO Canada presents on the topic of Indigenous relations, and the importance of cultural sensitivity in supporting diversity and inclusion.
Cultural sensitivity stems from the foundational awareness that differences between cultures exist, and the belief that these differences should be respected and valued. From this understanding follow behaviours and attitudes which reflect a willingness to actively recognize the importance of other cultures. This requires cultural intelligence, being motivated to know about other cultures and the willingness to apply this knowledge.
As the antagonist of cultural sensitivity, cultural insensitivity is common, and Brad describes its four primary causes. These underlying causes include ethnocentrism, stereotypes & prejudices, fear and ignorance. There are varying stages of cultural insensitivity ranging from denial to integration. In order to achieve cultural sensitivity, there are five steps, each of which Brad outlines.
These steps include the respect and value of diversity, education, building friendships, flexibility & patience, and communication.
Being respectful to Indigenous cultures involves knowledge of the culture. This webinar explores some of the cultural aspects of the First Nations' ways. It looks at their connection to the land with a strong importance placed on caring for Mother Earth, storytelling as are a valuable means of sharing information through voice, dance, and song, and smudging which is a common, traditional ceremony meant to cleanse the soul and/or a space, which involves the lighting of sacred plants, using the smoke to clear negative energy.
The four elements involved in smudging are:
1. The container (representing water),
2. The four sacred plants (cedar, sweetgrass, sage and tobacco), which represent gifts from Mother Earth,
3. The fire from lighting the plant,
4. Smoke (representing air): after the plant is lit, one’s hand or an eagle feather is used to wave the smoke around a person, or a room.
The traditional knowledge of the Indigenous peoples includes holistic perspectives which view all things as interconnected.
Traditional knowledge includes the idea that life is made up of stories; we all have them, and they are all important. True learning though, takes place when the teachings are directed at the heart. For moral guidance, there are ten commandments which guide the actions of the Indigenous. Much like their values, these commandments revolve around respect, spirit, and the unity of humanity.
In terms of righting the wrongs of our past, reconciliation must involve all people, Indigenous or not, in creating a future where everyone is welcome and can prosper.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada created call to action points which provide a framework from which to actualize these changes. All individuals are invited to make a personal or professional pledge of reconciliation and send them to ECO Canada.
Cultural sensitivity is more important than ever, and through education, respect, and inclusion, we can look forward to a future in which all people and their differences are celebrated.
This webinar is meant for non-indigenous people
ECO Canada is the steward for the Canadian environmental workforce across all industries.
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