Section 3: Understanding Indigenous Worldview Values to Better Support Indigenous Students


“Thinking the highest thought” in this section explored some key Indigenous worldview values. Relationships and interconnections to place (the land), our relationships with those knowledgeable and helpful (Elders), and the ways in which we communicate (language) all demonstrate Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and doing. Keeping Indigenous values centred in your self-assessment takes time and concerted effort but it leads to an Indigenized service that benefits all students who come to your institution. Using these values, the framework and self-assessment tool and framework look help us understand Indigenization of self, processes, and systems in an interconnected and relational way.


Activity 1: Thinking spatially

Type: Individual

Time: 30-60 minutes

Download and read the 2005 article from Yuchi scholar, Daniel Wildcat, “Indigenizing the Future: Why We Must Think Spatially in the Twenty-First Century.”[1](American Studies, Volume 46, no. 3/4.)

Reflect on:

  • Where is your campus located and on whose territory is your campus built?
  • Have you heard or witnessed oral history of the traditional territory? How did it make you feel? What drew your attention?
  • How did you or your family come to be on that territory? Remember your first experience on the land that made you feel connected.

Activity 2: Elders as strength builders

Type: Individual

Time: 1 hour

Read the chapter by Alannah Young Leon entitled “Elders’ Teachings on Leadership: Leadership as Gift” from the 2014 Living Indigenous Leadership: Native Narratives on Building Strong Communities.[2]

Reflect on the following:

  • Who are the Elders that work with your institution?
  • Who are the key contacts in your institution for working with Elders?
  • How have you previously interacted with Elders?
  • In what aspects of your work do you see Elders being helpful?
  • How would you respectfully engage with Elders?

Activity 3: Language revitalization as an act of reconciliation

Type: Individual

Time: 30 minutes

Read the June 2016 article “Revitalizing Indigenous Languages is Key to Reconciliation[3] from the Policy Options online journal.

Reflect on the following:

  • What languages are spoken by the community or communities on whose territory your institution is built?
  • How can you engage with and support language use in your role?
  • How can you support language retention and growth?

Activity 4: Exploring the Self-Assessment Tool

Type: Individual

Time: 1-2 hours

Complete the Indigenized Integral Professional Competency Self-Assessment Tool.

  • Name three key competencies you scored high and explore ways to meet competencies that received a low score.
  • What is your personal action plan for Indigenizing your practice and building competencies? Explore the opportunities for learning about Indigenous experiences and relationships at your institution and build this into your professional development.

  1. Indigenizing the Future: Why We Must Think Spatially in the Twenty-First Century:
  2. Living Indigenous Leadership: Native Narratives on Building Strong Communities:
  3. Revitalizing Indigenous Languages is Key to Reconciliation:


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Pulling Together: A Guide for Front-Line Staff, Student Services, and Advisors Copyright © 2018 by Ian Cull; Robert L. A. Hancock; Stephanie McKeown; Michelle Pidgeon; and Adrienne Vedan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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