This year’s theme for the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is Leaving No One Behind: Indigenous peoples and the call for a new social contract.
There’s so much learning to do. Some of it isn’t so easy. Some of it is pure heartbreak and heartache.
Such as the recent discovery of unmarked children’s graves in multiple sites of former residential schools in Canada. As a Canadian, and as an expert learner, in honour of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, let’s take action.
If you’re a non-indigenous person, your privilege, such as the colour of your skin, your level of education, access to financing, physical ability, etc., accept the fact that while you aren’t responsible for the past traumas born by indigenous 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.
Step in and step up. Both with your will and your skills.
Gird your loins ‘cause “you’re not always going to get it right.” Brene Brown
This is the first part of a three-part series, where, after this introductory post, I’ll cover ten tips for taking individual action and 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.
As we’re talking about effecting social change, before we jump into the tips, let’s take a quick look at one simple way to analyze your theory of change. Think of it like a continuum – with individual change at one end and system or structural change at the other.
Look down and within. Get focused. Individual change is where your change effort is focused on yourself, your team, your partner, your family or a small number of colleagues. Individual change can come about quicker and we see change faster. It can give us some quick wins. Individual change can address injustices and inequities at a small, personal level.
Look up and out. Think big and broad. Systemic/structural change focuses on your organization, your community, your sector. The aim is to examine policies, procedures, laws, cultural practices, etc. Systemic/structural changes tend to take way longer, but they’re critical for long-term change that affects us all. Systemic/structural change can address injustices and inequities at a large level.
It’s really important to look at BOTH individual AND systemic/structural change efforts. They’re both critical.
Now that we have that simple theory of change under our belts, next week, we’ll dive into some tips for individual change. And the week after that, we’ll do the same for systemic/structural change.
Now go on and learn, laugh and lead
- Learn more about individual and systemic change here – Change isn’t a four-letter word, but it can be an easy to use quadrant
- 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 watch these epic First Nation dancers. FASTFOKUS – Lil’wat First Nation – Daniel & Alex Wells
- Try your hand at using the worksheet in the ‘learn’ link to focus on effecting some social change on the individual level.
P.S. Learning is always a good thing. Want to receive invitations to my monthly Learning and Development Roundtables? Easy peasy. Sign up here.
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