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Banff Centre celebrates changes to Indigenous programming

“The programs are helping build competencies in these leaders to be able to live into their dream of self-government ... It helps build healthy communities.”
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The Banff Centre has been working to enhance its Certificate of Indigenous Leadership, Governance and Management Excellence after a donation of $10 million from Suncor to the organization's Indigenous Leadership and Leadership for Social Impact/Innovation programs. BANFF CENTRE PHOTO

BANFF – Honouring a commitment to helping foster Indigenous leadership and community success, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity has updated its Indigenous programming.

The Banff Centre has been working to enhance its Certificate of Indigenous Leadership, Governance and Management Excellence after a donation of $10 million from Suncor to the organization's Indigenous Leadership and Leadership for Social Impact/Innovation programs.

Director of Indigenous leadership programs Brian Calliou said the Banff Centre is incorporating elements of the seven wise practices that are inspired by the sacred circle of life and the seven sacred teachings to create a holistic approach to the Indigenous programs that are offered.

“The programs are helping build competencies in these leaders to be able to live into their dream of self-government,” Calliou said.

“It helps build healthy communities.”

The programs at the centre are designed to build the capacity of Indigenous leaders in Indigenous communities, he said, and this is done by creating content, programs and experiences that build knowledge and skills to lead communities or organizations.

“These are indicators to successful Indigenous communities or Indigenous organizations and businesses – they’re factors to success,” Calliou said.

“If an Indigenous leader can learn … knowledge and skills in each of these areas, their communities will be as high as four to five times more successful.”

The first element is identity and culture, he said, allowing Indigenous leaders to understand the culture and history of the community and serve as ambassadors.

“The culture piece is a substantial part of our programming. Culture matters,” Calliou said.

“Our programs are about helping our Indigenous leaders be aware and proud of the knowledge and skills they have in the community, their traditional values and principals. That can be the foundation for all they do."

The second element is leadership and the third is vision and planning, which aids in having long-term plans with priorities, goals and objectives, Calliou said.

The fourth element is governance and management explores the practices needed to govern well and set up processes and systems to govern and manage governments and organizations.

The fifth element, accountability and stewardship, allows leaders to understand that they are stewards of resources and make decisions for the good of community or organization. Calliou said that includes working to make the best decisions for best interests of the community and being accountable for actions.

The sixth element is performance evaluation where participants are taught to create feedback loops to understand how projects are working and goals achieved.

The seventh and final element is collaboration, partnerships and external relationships. These attributes are essential to achieve goals needed for external partnerships, especially in the social sector.

“All of that wrapped together provides these leaders and managers that come to our programs with quite a strong experience,” Calliou said.

“Many of them are transformed when they go back.”

The wise practices encourage leaders to tap into the strengths, assets and wisdom in their communities, Calliou explained, so they can build up based on that foundation.

“We actually take them out on the land here. We’re out in the outdoors in this beautiful environment,” Calliou said.

“They get Indigenous knowledge and culture experiences from the elders that are in this program as well we often take them to a local community.”

The programs have open enrolment and are all one-week intensives with five full days.

The next workshop Wise Practices in Indigenous Leadership takes place from March 15-20. The program features elder Dila Houle of the Piikani Nation, Indigenous Awareness Trainer Erin Dixon, Chair of Truth and Reconciliation at Lake University and Honourary Witness of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, traditional creator and youth leader Daryl Kootenay and facilitator Mike Shaw.



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Chelsea Kemp

About the Author: Chelsea Kemp

Chelsea Kemp joined the Rocky Mountain Outlook in 2019 as a reporter and photojournalist. She writes provincial politics, health care, arts and entertainment and Indigenous stories. She also contributes photo stand-ups, multi-pics and essays.
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