Introduction

Indigenous languages help provide context and reflect the lived experience of Indigenous Peoples. Chinook jargon, which was developed by Indigenous Peoples to communicate across cultures, nations, and languages, is therefore used throughout this guide. In the spirit of reviving Chinook jargon as an inclusive means of communicating, it has been integrated in the text wherever possible.

The choice of Chinook jargon was inspired by Dawn Smith’s memories of her Grandpa Moses Smith of Ehattesaht. Moses was Nuu-chah-nulth and grew up speaking the Ehattesaht dialect and hearing both Chinook jargon and English. He sought to keep Chinook jargon alive throughout his life and would often say it was a sophisticated way to facilitate communication among diverse groups.

Indigenization in post-secondary institutions is not necessarily a new aspect of governance or academia; however, following the publication of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) final report and its corresponding 94 Calls to Action, Indigenization became a renewed priority for many post-secondary institutions in Canada. Indigenization is a growing discourse, as well as a welcomed process within most Canadian post-secondary institutions. Further, Indigenization is inclusive of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit perspectives.

The TRC recognized the role of education in the lives of Indigenous Peoples, and the responsibility education now has in reconciling and in addressing the historical and current injustices faced by Indigenous Peoples. TRC Commissioner Murray Sinclair (Ojibway) stated that “education is the key to reconciliation,” adding, “education got us into this mess, and education will get us out of this mess” (CBC, 2015).

Indigenization is a personal journey that begins with looking inward and seeking opportunities to learn. And, like most Indigenous journeys, it involves sacrifice and ceremony. Each stage of this journey will provide a different perspective, intended to give you the time and space to reflect and prepare yourself to act in accordance with your new learning. A number of post-secondary leaders who continue to inspire change and lead by example have influenced the development of this guide. The guide therefore includes qualitative research that draws on specific interviews with Indigenous people and post-secondary leaders.

The Indigenization journey includes seven distinct stages:

Mamook kloshe – prepare

Mahsh – boat launch

Isick – paddle

Elip nanitch – discover

Iskum – gather

Lolo illahee – bring home

Okoke nikas – share

This guide is therefore structured around the stages of a journey – preparation, launch, paddle, discover, gather, bring home, and share. Together, these stages speak to the journey of achieving something great: traditionally it would have been whaling or a canoe journey to a neighbouring territory; today the greatness that is sought is Indigenization.

Each stage of the journey includes aspects of nature that connect us to the land and animals:

bear icon

Chetwood, the black bear, represents intentionality and our values, which help prepare and launch the journey.

raven icon

Kahhah, the raven, represents our behaviour, which includes the determination to paddle to the place where we will discover what we need to be successful in the journey.

wolf icon

Leloo, the wolf, is the one who gathers the community that chooses to travel together.

salmon icon

Sammon, the salmon, represents the wealth to bring home from the journey and share with community.

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Pulling Together: A Guide for Leaders and Administrators by Sybil Harrison, Janice Simcoe, Dawn Smith, and Jennifer Stein is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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