What is Indigenous Cultural Competency Training?
Culture is expressed in the worldviews of peoples from different backgrounds, lived experiences and histories. It is fostered through one's unique identification with one's values, beliefs, languages and traditions. For Indigenous peoples, this also includes a spiritual, social, physical and emotional connection with the land.
Indigenous cultural competency refers to an effort to recognize, comprehend and appreciate the values, traditions and belief systems of Indigenous peoples that may be markedly different from one's own. Cultural competency requires the shifting of focus from the differences of Indigenous peoples, to how one's own beliefs, practices and histories have impacted the health and wellness, self-esteem and the socio-economic wellbeing of Indigenous peoples.
The importance of cultural competency is stated as a necessary measure in the Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, response to this the University of Toronto commissioned a report entitled; Answering the Call: Wecheehetowin Final Report of the Steering Committee for the University of Toronto Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released by the Office of the Vice-President and Provost. The core message from the TRC is that reconciliation will not come about without acknowledging Canada’s past relationships with Indigenous peoples.
To this end, the Office of Indigenous Initiatives has developed an Indigenous cultural module that explores the relationships that have developed between Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous peoples over the past 500 years.
The value of cultural competency cannot be understated as inclusion, diversity and equity are core values recognized by the University of Toronto. Cultural competency is not a destination that one workshop can achieve but is a lifelong journey of self-reflection and introspection that will have lasting benefits, personally and institutionally.
If you have any questions about the University of Toronto's Office of Indigenous Initiatives' Indigenous Cultural Competency Training, or would like a session for your department, please email firstname.lastname@example.org