There’s so much learning to do for non-indigenous people about power, privilege, race, etc. Last week I wrote about a simple theory of change as an introduction to this three-part series.
Again, if you carry any privilege, such as the colour of your skin, your level of education, access to financing, physical ability, etc. please accept the fact that while you aren’t responsible for the past traumas born by oppressed people, you have benefited from your privilege.
This isn’t to say that you don’t have sorrow to bear and injustices born, it just means that the colour of your skin, for example, wasn’t the cause of said issues.
It’s our responsibility to take action now.
It’s our responsibility to figure this stuff out.
Here’s how to step in and step up.
Both with your will and your skills.
In this second post, I share ten tips for taking individual action. The final post will be on ten tips for taking collective action. My examples are based mostly on the Canadian context but feel free to substitute similar tips for your own country.
Ten tips for individual change
- Educate yourself
- This one won’t surprise you coming from a Learning and Development expert.
- Again, I’m using mostly Canadian examples. Remember to insert topics and resources that are relevant to you and your country.
- 5 apps for learning about Indigenous life and history
- First Peoples’ Map of B.C.! “This interactive map is the only platform of its kind in Canada. Unique in content and scope, it recognizes and celebrates the expertise of Indigenous people directly working to revitalize Indigenous languages, arts and cultures in B.C. from First People’s Council. Interact with the map and hear your choice of stories for example.”
- Monday Aug 9th is International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. This year’s theme is “Leaving No One Behind: Indigenous peoples and the call for a new social contract.” Why not celebrate and learn at the same time by participating in an event such as this one: Celebrating Indigenous Entrepreneurship
- Donate time and/or money
- Put your money where your heart is. Support the organizations that make a difference. See an example list below.
- Consider different ways to celebrate your country’s national holidays that aren’t inclusive to indigenous people.
- Canada day has already passed, but here’s an article about this recent holiday- Indigenous identity, reconciliation, and why Canada Day festivities have fallen out of favour with some
- Support indigenous artists
- One of my favourites is Emma Stevens, who took the world by storm when she recorded Blackbird by The Beatles sung in Mi’kmaq. See also her stunning songs here Wela’lin (Thank you) and I Want to Rise.
- Read indigenous authors
- I’ve just started reading 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act: Helping Canadians Make Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples a Reality by Bob Joseph.
- Do an inventory of other learning resources besides the books you read and the artists you listen to and expand your network.
- I have my eye on Mother Earth Plants for Health & Beauty is a guide and recipe book to help you improve your life with ethically crafted health and beauty products that you can make at home as a Christmas gift this year
- Call out racism
- Listen to and respect the wide range of feelings of anger, sadness, retribution and trauma that are surfacing yet again.
- Learn about trauma-informed communications
- Check out resources like the Global Trauma Project
- Deal with your own issues of privilege and don’t make it someone else’s, especially an indigenous person’s responsibility
- I was recently unfriended by a BIPOC person on Facebook. I don’t know what I did and as much as I’m yearning to ask and solve the mystery, I know she has more important things on her mind, and it’s my responsibility. It’s hard but true.
Taking action counteracts feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. So get going. The world will benefit.
Now go on and learn, laugh and lead
- Pick one or more of the 10 tips for individual change and do them.
- If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that this section is usually called ‘Laugh’ but given the serious nature of the content let’s aim for a smile as you do yourself a favour and sink into the gorgeous singing of Emma Stevens, singing Blackbird in her native Mi’kmaq language.
- Share the list with your friends and colleagues and support each other in your change efforts.
P.S. Resources used in the writing of these posts include John Wort Hannam via Riding for MMIW and United Way Halifax.
P.P.S. Learning is always a good thing. Sign up for my next Learning and Development Roundtable on August 19th on Top tips for online facilitating and public speaking.
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