Aboriginal Cultural Awareness for Natural Resource Managers course

  • Start Date: April 20, 2010
  • End Date: April 21, 2010
  • City: Revelstoke BC
  • Instructor: Global Indigenous Services

Course description

The course was designed for non-Aboriginals who will be working with Aboriginal people and who wish to work in a culturally appropriate manner to convey respect and build trust. This two day interactive course provided participants with the practical tools for engaging Aboriginal peoples, communities, organizations and institutions in natural resource discussions and decision-making.

The nature of culture and the role that cultural differences can play in interpersonal interactions were examined. Historical and contemporary Aboriginal issues are reviewed from an Aboriginal perspective. Aboriginal worldviews regarding nature, environment, stewardship, and the connectivity of all things, both living and non-living, are explored through the Medicine Wheel, the Universal Aboriginal Code of Ethics, core aboriginal values, ceremonies and spiritual beliefs. Participants will have opportunities to participate in Aboriginal cultural activities and learn appropriate behavioural protocols. Governance, demographics, and socio-economic issues are presented in a non-threatening manner. The legal basis of the Duty to Consult and protocols for effective consultation are important aspects of the workshop. A variety of cultural learning tools ranging from art to artifacts, basketry to beadwork, from music to musical instruments, ceremonial objects and ceremonies, as well as contemporary instructional materials such as videos, books, maps, PowerPoint presentations, newsletters, newspapers and magazines were used to enrich the learning environment. Interaction was emphasized.

Course instructors

Bob Moody is an Aboriginal person with over a decade of experience working with and for First Nations as both a natural resource director and Chief Executive Officer for two Tribal Councils. Bob has received many honours, including three eagle feathers, from tribal elders, leaders and communities. As a Metis he has lived with a foot in both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal worlds. Anne Moody is a plant ecologist with a lifelong interest in Aboriginal traditional knowledge, ethnobotany, culture and art. Both Bob and Anne have graduate degrees in ecology and have been Registered Professional Biologists for over 20 years.



Bob Moody instructing the course.

 Course content and learning objectives

  Unit One: What is culture and why is cultural awareness important?

  • Understand the concept of culture and its components.
  • Know why culture is like an iceberg, mostly unseen.
  • Appreciate that cultural awareness develops cultural intelligence that can avoid many of the difficulties often experienced in working with people from Aboriginal cultures.
  • Learn communications skills that will enhance working relationships.
  • Learn 15 ways to improve your cultural awareness of Aboriginal Peoples.

  Unit Two: Historical and contemporary Aboriginal issues

  • Clearly understand the diversity and sophistication of Aboriginal cultures in the Americas at the time of European contact.
  • Appreciate the magnitude of the impacts of colonization by Europeans on Aboriginal peoples and societies.
  • Know about the Aboriginal basis of modern participatory democracy.
  • Explain the historical significance of the Royal Proclamation of 1763.
  • Understand the historical and legal bases for Aboriginal Title and Rights.
  • Recognize the consequences of the Indian Act, the creation of reserves, and Residential Schools.
  • Understand historic treaties and the current BC Treaty Process.
  • Learn about current government approaches to Aboriginal issues.

  Unit Three: Aboriginal peoples and cultures

  • Identify the three distinct Aboriginal Peoples of Canada.
  • Learn about Indian Nations, with particular attention to central BC.
  • Understand Aboriginal worldviews and values through the teachings of the Medicine Wheel and ceremonies.
  • Understand the basic principals of Aboriginal spirituality, healing and justice.
  • Appreciate the important role of Elders in Aboriginal societies.
  • Know the appropriate terminology to address Aboriginal people.
  • Know the difference between status and non-status Indians and treaty Indians.
  • Know the differences between First Nations, Indian Bands, Tribal Councils, and provincial and national Aboriginal organizations.
  • Appreciate the different types of Band Council elections and election terms.
  • Describe the powers of a Band Council under the Indian Act.
  • Appreciate the significance of Aboriginal demographics on Canadian society.
  • Understand that the fastest growing segment of Canadian society lives in Third World conditions.
  • Appreciate the magnitude of the serious socio-economic conditions faced by Aboriginal peoples even today.

Unit Four: Consultation with Aboriginal Peoples

  • Understand the legal obligation to consult with Aboriginal Peoples.
  • Describe who must, and who should, consult with Aboriginal Peoples.
  • Learn how to consult meaningfully and respectfully.
  • Understand why it can be difficult to reach people or to have them respond.
  • Learn terms and behaviours to use (and avoid) during meetings.
  • Understand why the term “stakeholder” is offensive to First Nations.



  • Phone 250-837-9311
  • Fax 250-837-9311
  • Email

Mailing Address

  • P.O. Box 2568
  • Revelstoke, British Columbia V0E 2S0
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