Community events

WISE: Wellness and Indigenous sustainable economies

How do Indigenous leaders balance community well‑being and economic development?

NCIED was honoured to host a thought-provoking session for UVic’s 2020 Ideafest that explored the values and principles that guide decision making. On March 3, in the First Peoples House at UVic, leaders from six Indigenous Nations in BC shared personal experiences of the interconnectedness of wellbeing, traditions, laws and values, and resources. Members of the public as well as the UVic community attended.

Panelists, Christina Clarke, CEO Songhees Development Corporation, Songhees Nation; Peter Lantin, Kil tlaats’gaa, former President, Haida Nation; Tricia Thomas, Laxəlewetstnaat, Entrepreneur and Strategic Advisor for Economic Development, Halalt Nation; Arthur Mercer, Simoogit Galga, former CEO Nisga’a Commercial Group of companies; Anna (Sam) Hudson, Anada Aki, Executive Director, Aquisqnuk Nation, Tom Child, N̓a̱msg̱amk̓ala, former Lands Manager, Kwakiutl Nation, engaged the audience with their informative and impactful presentations.

Dr. John Borrows (Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law, UVic Faculty of Law) and Dr. Brent Mainprize (Teaching Professor, UVic Gustavson School of Business) moderated the panel presentations and audience participation in the Q&A session.

In Dr. Borrows’ closing comments, he thanked the panel individually and collectively for their presentations:

They have given us something that our country needs and could be replicated from corner to corner to corner, from coast to coast to coast, if we took the time to have venues and gather the people with the kind of knowledge that you see here this evening. My appreciation is deep. - Dr. John Borrows, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law, UVic Faculty of Law

The NCIED expresses gratitude and appreciation for the speakers' commitment and valuable contributions to an extraordinary evening.


Gustavson events

Orange Shirt Day 2020

Orange Shirt day is an annual opportunity to come together in the spirit of hope and reconciliation for generations of children to come, and to honour the survivors whose families and communities have been impacted by the residential school system.

In past years, NCIED organized in-class presentations for Gustavson students. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent online classes, NCIED commissioned a video for Orange Shirt Day that focused on the resilience of Indigenous people who fought to maintain their languages and traditions. Three generations of one family shared their personal experiences of the impact of the residential school system on their lives and their community.

The inter-generational stories evolved from the family’s children being forced to attend residential school, the outlawing of ceremonies, to a new generation who have learned Indigenous histories, values, traditions, languages, stories and ceremonial dances. Regalia once hidden to prevent destruction by the government was worn in pride for traditional dances. Two of the dancers who are twins enrolled in their first year at UVic., said, “they could not imagine being told that it is unlawful to wear their family’s regalia or dance in the big house”.

Tricia Thomas, owner and creative director, Salish Eye Productions, created the video. Currently, Tricia is enrolled in the Gustavson MBA weekend program.

In a large Zoom meeting on September 29, Gustavson BCom and MBA students viewed the video, and actively engaged in a follow-up Q&A with the presenters, Gloria Roze and Thomas Child, and moderated by Tricia Thomas. On September 30, Gustavson faculty and staff participated in a viewing of the compelling video via Zoom that closed with a ‘call to action’ by Tricia Thomas and Dean Saul Klein.

Salish dancers perfom as part of a video for Orange Shirt Day.
A scene from the Orange Shirt Day video by Tricia Thomas. L-R Natalya Child, Kiara Child, Tommy Child, Elder Gloria Roze, Talia Child

Peter Lantin

NCIED & Gustavson welcome Peter Lantin

Peter LantinIn the summer of 2019, Peter Lantin, past president of the Haida Nation, moved to Victoria to complete his degree at UVic. Fortunately, for NCIED, Lantin and Dr. Brent Mainprize, had worked together for many years. While Lantin was president, they co-developed Haida Owned and Operated, an entrepreneurial program tailored for Haida residents to become self-reliant through business ownership.

It was an honour that Lantin was willing to share his expertise on Indigenous governance and business, not only with NCIED, but also with the students, faculty and staff of the Gustavson School of Business.

Celebration of ACE-Artists

On December 10, 2019, NCIED celebrated graduates of the ACE-Artists program and the valued partners who collaborated in the design and delivery of the entrepreneurial training designed specifically for Indigenous artists.

At a reception in the lobby of UVic’s Business and Economics building, the artist entrepreneurs shared their experiences after the program with faculty, staff and guests. The pop-up art market showcasing their beautiful and diverse art works was popular with everyone!

Partners, including, Tribal Resources Investment Corporation (TRICORP), UVic’s Fine Arts Faculty, Emily Carr University of Art & Design, Coast Mountain College and Freda Diesing School of NW Coast Art, were acknowledged for co-creating and delivering the unique entrepreneurship program. The ACE-Artist Advisory Board was also recognized for its valuable contribution. Successful Indigenous artists, Ben Davidson, Lianna Spence, Stan Bevan, April White, Alano Edzerza, Michelle Stoney and Tanya Gadsby not only shared their time and experience generously in the development of the program, they were also exceptional mentors to the participants.

In just over 1½ years, two cohorts have completed ACE-Artists. The first one graduated in 2018, at UVic, while the second commenced the following year in Terrace, in partnership with Coast Mountain College and Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art. In January 2020, Indigenous artists will participate in the next ACE‑Artists program at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver.

UVic ACE-Artists graduating class, November 2018.

UVic ACE-Artists graduating class, November 2018.

Terrace ACE-Artists graduating class, June 2019.

Terrace ACE-Artists graduating class, June 2019.

Conferences, forums & webinars

Reconciling Ways of Knowing Forum

Reconciling ways of knowing logo

Reconciling Ways of Knowing: Indigenous Knowledge and Science Forum, scheduled for May 25-27, 2020 at the Turtle Lodge in Sagkeeng First Nation and Winnipeg, Manitoba, moved online due to COVID-19. The Forum, convened by Miles Richardson, O.C.; Dr. David Suzuki; Dr. Nancy Turner; and Elder Dr. Dave Courchene, Jr. (the convenors), in partnership with the Indigenous Leadership Initiative and David Suzuki Foundation, was created to build understanding and relationships across Indigenous and scientific ways of knowing.

The online forum series launched on July 27, 2020, with its dialogue, “Why Reconciling Ways of Knowing?”, in which moderator Valérie Courtois, facilitated a discussion amongst the project convenors on why they initiated this project and what outcomes they hope to achieve through convening this conversation. In short, they felt that a national-scale dialogue was needed to build understanding across these ways of knowing in order to achieve a genuine reconciliation and nation-to-nation relationship between Indigenous Peoples and Canada and to best be able to address the pressing challenges of our times, such as climate change, vast socio-economic disparities, and threats to our public health, including the current pandemic we are facing. By pulling together practitioners, decision makers, and researchers involved in land and water stewardship, they aim to empower participants to apply the insights they learn to their work, changing applied practice, decision-making and research processes in the immediate term and into the future.

The team is working to deliver an online dialogue approximately every month, with the second dialogue, “Enacting Ethical Space in Knowledge Sharing,” being held on August 26, 2020. This dialogue focused on Indigenous Ethics in relationship to Indigenous knowledges, bringing together Indigenous knowledge holders, scholars, practitioners and scientists, Danika Littlechild, Elder Dr. Dave Courchene Jr., Elder Ira Provost, Elder Elmer Ghostkeeper, Indigenous scholar Dr. Vicki Kelly, Dr. Kelly Bannister, Dr. Gleb Raygorodetsky and Karin Smith-Fargey. The conversation explored understandings of ethical space, ethical relationality, Indigenous ethics and Indigenous knowledges in sharing across knowledge systems. Attention was given to the enactment of ethical space and the role of Indigenous ethics and Indigenous knowledges in facilitating knowledge sharing.

The third dialogue, “Braiding Ways of Knowing,” was held on September 24, 2020. In this dialogue, University of Victoria School of Environmental Studies Distinguished Emeritus Professor Dr. Nancy Turner interviewed Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer, enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry on the notion of braiding ways of knowing as drawn from her award winning book Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants.

On October 28, the 4th dialogue focused on the idea of Etuaptmumk or Two-Eyed Seeing, a guiding principle developed by Mi’kmaq Elder Albert Marshall that recognizes that better outcomes are more likely if we bring one or two more perspectives into collaboration. The moderator, Jacquie Miller, MA, and speakers Elder Albert Marshall, Drs. Jesse Popp, Andrea Reid and Deborah McGregor, discussed how Two-Eyed Seeing requires learning together and from each other, to reach understanding across ways of knowing.

Joining the Virtual Victoria Forum on November 12, 2020, the 5th dialogue, Millenia of Experience, Drawing on Indigenous Knowledge in Responding to COVID-19, explored how collaboration between Indigenous knowledge and science can improve public health outcomes.

The following speakers, with moderator, Darrin Mah, JD, discussed the history of what Indigenous Peoples have learned in responding to pandemics, how this informed their responses to COVID-19, and what can be learned more broadly within Canadian society and the global community from these lessons.

  • Miles Richardson, OC, NCIED Chair, prominent Haida leader
  • Grandmother Katherine Whitecloud, Dakota knowledge keeper & Indigenous health & wellness advocate
  • Dr. Dave Courchene, Jr, Anishinaabe Elder and spiritual leader
  • Tom Swanky, JD, a historical researcher focused on the role of smallpox in the foundational relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the Crown in BC
  • Dr. Sabina Ijaz, medical doctor who has built deep relationships in Indigenous communities

Victoria Forum

Victoria Forum logo

The Virtual Victoria Forum, to be held on November 12, 13 & 19, 2020 focuses on bridging divides in the wake of a global pandemic. Evidence-based conversations will stimulate creative thinking to develop innovative ideas and actionable solutions to contemporary and urgent environmental, economic, and social challenges.

The Victoria Forum creates inclusive spaces to bring together regional, national and international change-makers with different perspectives and expertise who are committed to making the world a better place for all.

The inaugural Victoria Forum took place on November 2017, and brought together approximately 500 participants, representing different levels of governments, business, academia and civil society, to take stock of the state of diversity and inclusiveness in Canada on its 150th anniversary, and to look to the future.

The Forum reflected a Canadian narrative that pluralistic societies require inclusive institutions, where power and benefits are widely held, in order to create the conditions for inclusive and sustainable socio-economic progress.

The final report included thirty-eight constructive recommendations and was widely distributed to leaders at different levels of government, business, and civil society.

The next Victoria Forum signature event is scheduled for November 2021, under the theme of “Bridging Divides: Turf, Truth and Trust.” In response to the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, a series of biweekly webinars have been organized to assess the impact on our economies, our societies and our environment. Topics include, Our shared future in the wake of a global pandemic: Impact on economic, social and environmental divides; Systemic Racism & Inequality in the Middle of a Global Pandemic; and The future of business and banking, post pandemic. The webinars’ groundwork will culminate with a Virtual Victoria Forum 2020 in November 2020, under the theme of ”Bridging divides in the wake of a global pandemic.”

Virtual Victoria Forum 2020 and Victoria Forum 2021 is a partnership between the University of Victoria and the Senate of Canada.

AFOA First Nations Economic Development Corporation Conference

The Aboriginal Financial Officers Association (AFOA) hosted the First Nations Economic Development Corporation Conference on Community Engagement, from March 11-13, 2020, in Richmond, BC.

Dr. Brent Mainprize, NCIED Business faculty champion, and Mr. Arthur Mercer, NCIED Director, Community Initiatives, presented, Building & Supporting an Entrepreneurial Economy & Culture. They addressed the question: How can a First Nation Economic Development Corporation strategically integrate individual entrepreneurs from the community to build stronger corporations and a more balanced economy?

Discussion included wise practices and linking Nation’s economic development strategies to entrepreneurial initiatives.