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A Call to Conversation and
Workbook for Exploring Indigenous Knowledge
Welcome! This 8-module, video based resource is designed for people of all cultures delivering or receiving social services in Alberta. These resources are meant to serve as a first step in client, staff, volunteer and organizational development on Indigenous history, culture and knowledge. It is intended to enhance the learning and growth of the shelters and service organizations as well as the communities they serve. We are inviting all members and friends of ACWS to embark on this learning journey together with colleagues, community partners and the women, children and seniors that we serve so we can continue to build meaningful relationships, not only with those around us, but more importantly with ourselves so that we can be better helpers. .
Designed for both individual learning and use with Sharing Circles of staff or women. Download a module, read the introductory material, watch the webinar and complete the self reflections or group discussion questions.
The ACWS In Conversation with Lewis Cardinal webinar series and the companion workbook, Stepping into the Circle, are two of the ways the Alberta Council or Women’s Shelters is working to fulfill our Statement of Principles, Values and Commitments to Actions for Indigenous Women, Girls and their Families. The Statement was created in response the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report and the 94 Calls to Action, and serves as the foundation of relationship between the ACWS, First Nations Women’s Shelters, and for the Indigenous women, girls, and their families, that are served by all women’s shelters in this province.
Stepping into the Circle: A call to conversation and workbook exploring Indigneous knowledge
Workbook Introduction and How-To
Foundations of Indigenous Worldview
“According to tradition, the government and law of Native culture were designed
to produce harmony and peace.”
Caroline Yellowhorn, Elder
Understanding differing worldviews can provide a basis for understanding actions,
reactions, and interactions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and
In the video Lewis talks about the importance and sacredness of relationships,
Ceremony and the importance of Creation stories. Lewis talks about how what we
do today effects those around us and the next 7 generations.
The module further explores key tenets of Indigenous worldviews, how they shape
cultural, political, and social practices of Indigenous and non-Indigenous societies,
and how understanding our own and other’s worldviews is essential to building trusting,
Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women: Inquiry and Action
This module explores personal perspectives and experiences as well as community
impacts of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Lewis and guests Elder
Tina Fox and survivor Stephanie Harpe explore the root causes leading to increased levels
of victimization experienced by Indigenous women and girls. The ways shelters and other
social support organizations can address these issues is also discussed.
Treaty Relations: First Nations Perspectives, We Are All Treaty People
A conversation about First Nations perspectives on treaty making, what it means to
'be in treaty', and how understanding treaty relationships affect our relations with
Indigenous individuals and communities.
Building Relations Part 1: Lessons From Lewis
Lewis Cardinal has been building bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous
communities in different capacities throughout his life.
Join Lewis as he shares some of the lessons he has learned (some the hard way),
explores the core communication principles, and answers your questions about practical
steps to take to build stronger bonds between communities, organizations and individuals.
Module Coming Soon
Indigenous Women in Indigenous Societies
Professor Tracy Bear joins Lewis for a conversation about how Indigenous societies
function, the integral role of women, how colonization intentionally disempowered women
and how Indigenous women and communities are reclaiming their traditions.
Module Coming Soon
Building Relations Part 2: Stories From Community
Karen MacKenzie from the Edmonton Police Commission and Elder Betty Letendre
will join Lewis for a conversation about how non-Indigenous organizations are working
to build more positive relationships with Indigenous organizations and the Indigenous
communities they serve.
Module Coming Soon
Contemporary Indigenous Women's Leadership
Elder Ruth ScalpLock, Dr. Cora Voyageur and Stephanie Harpe will join Lewis for
the final conversation in our series all about Indigenous women's leadership, contemporary
history, modern movements and how shelters can support future Indigenous women leaders.
Module Coming Soon
“We do not all have to agree, but it is important that we all listen.”
Circle process is an old practice that many tribal people used as a means of communication.
It is a way to hold space for those that feel voiceless and a way for those to be heard in a
good way, without judgments or blame.
In the video Dr Maggie Hodgson, Sharon Steinhauer and Mary McDermott share their experiences
participating, facilitating and teaching Circle Process and offer guidance for incorporating Circles
into shelter programming. The module serves as a support to help learners understand Circle
Process and become more comfortable using Circles in shelter with staff and women.
This training webinar series will incorporate an Indigenous lens, with a specific emphasis on Indigenous women (who make up more than half of the provincial women’s shelter population) who are disproportionately affected by sexual victimization, domestic violence, inequalities, discrimination and poverty. Additionally, training will provide education about the history and impact of intergenerational trauma (the collective spiritual, emotional, and psychological wounding over the lifespan and across generations) on Indigenous peoples in order to support family healing.
Support members to:
- Increase the awareness of Indigenous history, knowledge, and cultural traditions among shelter staff and volunteers at all levels; and
- Increase the level and quality of relationships with Indigenous women, their families, and communities.
 Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters. (2015). Supporting the Health of Victims of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse through Community Programs. Public Health Agency of Canada.
 Cunningham, A., Baker, L., & Gorman, K. (2014). Walk Proud, Dance Proud: Footprints on a Healing Journey. Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters.