Voices from the San’yas Training: Participants Share Their Experience During National Indigenous History Month 2023

National Indigenous History Month is a time to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, cultures, and contributions of Indigenous peoples in Canada. As we reflect on the past and look towards the future, it’s important to remember that Indigenous communities have played a crucial role in, not just our history, but in the advancement of research and medicine. In the donation and transplantation research ecosystem, it is essential that Indigenous communities are included and engaged in the development of policies and practices. By acknowledging the unique perspectives and knowledge of Indigenous peoples, we can work together towards a more equitable and inclusive future for all.

Feedback from the San’yas Anti-Racism Indigenous Cultural Safety Training

The CDTRP would like to take a moment to share reflections on our experience with the San’yas Anti-Racism Indigenous Cultural Safety Training Program.

Earlier this year, ten CDTRP staff, trainees, and patient, family & donor partners enrolled in the program. The program introduces participants to key aspects of cultural safety and methods for addressing anti-Indigenous racism.

Given our various roles in research and healthcare, our collective goal was to strengthen our knowledge, awareness, and skills for working with and providing service to Indigenous people and communities and gain a deeper understanding of our role in recognizing and challenging Indigenous racism.

As CDTRP continues our journey toward (1) supporting Indigenous reconciliation and (2) supporting meaningful inclusion of First Nations, Métis and Inuit patient partners, communities, and leaders in research, we encourage all our members to take the San’yas program (or similar program) to continue your own learnings.

Erika Kathe Croft: CDTRP Research Theme Coordinator

Why did you take the San’yas training, and how will it support your professional development?

I took the San’yas training to gain a deeper understanding of Indigenous cultures, histories, and current issues and develop skills and strategies for working effectively with Indigenous peoples.

What did you value most from the training?

While I have always cultivated respect for Indigenous people, I realized that there was a lot I needed to learn about their history, realities, and way of life. Throughout this training, I discovered a lot of information that made me want to learn more about these communities and how to connect with them.

What are your next steps in building Indigenous Cultural Safety?

As a member of CDTRP management, I would like to work with my team and Indigenous communities to develop further and put forward the initiatives that we already have for Indigenous safety and inclusion.

Kristi Coldwell: CDTRP Patient Partner

Why did you take the San’yas training, and how will it support your professional development?

I was keen to take this training to continue learning more about Canada’s history of colonization. Training such as this is vital to continue my own personal and professional journey towards greater cultural competency and to give me the skills that are necessary in helping create safe spaces for Indigenous communities and individuals.  It really enabled me to better understand how responsibility for reconciliation lies with each of us.

What did you value most from the training?

This training was dynamic in the sense it offered a broad but focused approach to learn about colonization and how the past very much continues to shape present policies, practice and attitudes.

What are your next steps in building Indigenous Cultural Safety?

The course offered additional resources to continue my growth towards greater cultural awareness.. I intend to explore these tools so my learning around Indigenous Cultural Safety continues and deepens.

Chloe Wong-Mersereau: CDTRP Trainee

Why did you take the San’yas training, and how will it support your professional development?

I signed up for the San’yas training to learn and understand the barriers and colonial impacts that Indigenous, Métis and Inuit people face to develop culturally safe and trusting relationships between Indigenous peoples and researchers. Having a good understanding of the history and context of anti-Indigenous racism and discrimination, I can develop and facilitate research studies that addresses these issues and reciprocally collaborates with Indigenous, Métis and Inuit communities by providing safe research spaces for shared learning and cultural exchange.

What did you value most from the training?

The emphasis on Indigenous, Métis and Inuit empowerment as an approach to Indigenous Cultural Safety stood out to me. Prioritizing Indigenous voices and perspectives goes beyond tokenization and mitigates the extractive relationships.

What are your next steps in building Indigenous Cultural Safety?

The next steps for building Indigenous Cultural Safety in qualitative research involves fostering trusting and reciprocal partnerships between Indigenous, Métis, and Inuit communities and researchers that recognize and give proper credit to Indigenous philosophies and knowledge in non-extractive ways. This means, empowering and prioritizing Indigenous voices and Indigenous-led research.

Discover below other learning tools to enhance relationships between researchers and Indigenous peoples
  • Wabishki Bizhiko Skaanj Learning Pathway: This learning pathway comprises existing resources in addition to original components developed by the Can-SOLVE CKD Network (Learn more).

  • Supporting Each Other’s JourneyLand Acknowledgment Learning Series. A four-part webinar series and guidebook to help researchers and other members of the public understand the importance of acknowledging traditional territories. (Learn more)

  • Kairos Blanket Exercise: An interactive simulation of colonization’s impact on Canada’s Indigenous peoples. (Learn more)

  • Indigenous Research Ethics and Protocols: A three-part webinar series examining ethical principles of engagement with Indigenous peoples in health research. (Listen to the webinar with Dr. Malcolm King)

  • Knowledge Keepers in Research: A virtual guidebook that aims to create a culturally safe space for researchers, patient partners and Knowledge Keepers to come together. It will encourage researchers to honour various forms of knowledge alongside Indigenous Knowledge Keepers and help them translate those teachings into practice. (Learn more)

  • Training and Certification: Opportunities to pursue additional training and certification, such as the First Nations principles of ownership, control, access, and possession – more commonly known as OCAP and Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans known as TCPS-2.

  • Cultural Capacity Knowledge Bundle: A collection of multimedia resources used to support the user on their cultural competency journey. (Learn more)