Indigenous Cultural Competence Course

The ICC course is an in-person 1-day or 2-day learning experience about cultural competence and opportunities to contribute to reconciliation.  Topics include an overview of Indigenous Canada, cultural competence or capacity, history of Canada including residential schools and the potential of intergenerational trauma, resilience of Indigenous communities, role of ally, challenging racism, and the opportunities to contribute to reconciliation. Based in mainstream and Indigenous knowledges of adult education theory and practice, and led by Certified ICC Facilitators, participants will learn from the expert facilitators as well as learn from and teach other through discussion and interaction.  The evidenced-based curriculum uses experiential and reflective learning approaches to cultural competence and safety, while upholding a strength-based perspective.


“The personal experiences & perspectives really gave me a new outlook on the type of self-reflection I need to continue to be doing about my privilege & place in contributing to reconciliation” – Participant in Actua training in Ottawa, June 2019

“The flow between instructors was effective and fluid. Solid knowledge of the history and information to aid in combating racism” - Participant from an open session in Ottawa, September 2019 

“Really opened my eyes about reconciliation and racism. I thought I was familiar with our colonial history with Indigenous peoples. But my knowledge just barely scratches the surface. Thank you for deepening my understanding” - Participant from Legal Services Society session in Vancouver, April 2019

“It was a valuable and powerful experience. It has given me a lot to think about and provided me with the motivation I needed to take tangible next steps to contribute to reconciliation” - Participant in the Workers Safety and Compensation Commission session in Yellowknife, April 2019

“I really appreciated the chance to work and talk through the challenging racism scenarios because it left me feeling much better prepared and equipped. This was so fabulous” – Participant from Cannabis Regulation and Legalization Branch, Health Canada session in Ottawa, March 2019

·“They were humorous as well as concise and knowledgeable and this made for an exceptional learning experience” - Participant from open session in Ottawa, September 2019

Why is it needed?

Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner Murray Sinclair has noted that “Reconciliation is about forging and maintaining respectful relationships. There are no shortcuts.”  The ICC course is designed to support effective relationships, with the image of gathering around the fire to get to know each other, by first knowing our shared history on this land - a story of hundreds and hundreds of years.

The history of Canada has at times been hidden, from the original intent and long-term outcomes of the Indian Residential Schools, to the broken agreements and treaties between governments and Indigenous communities, to the ongoing struggles over competing definitions of Indigenous identity.  This is the history of Canada, and when it remains hidden, it's too easy for some to blame Indigenous for their struggles.  When the facts of history are uncovered, and in safety people ask questions to learn more, then we start to build real relationship based in truth.

Once we share truth, we can start to consider reconciliation.  The Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, along with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples both set out some markers on the journey.  But with any journey, it starts with one step.  Many Canadians are considering what is their first step?  What can I do to contribute? How can I make a difference?

This is the Indigenous Cultural Competence experience - a safe place to remember the past so we know where we are today, so that we can honestly and thoughtfully think about where we want to go in the future.  An adult learning experience about your influence and potential to contribute, in supportive and strength-based discussions with others who share your passion to learn more, to do better.

How to schedule an ICC course

A note about the content - this curriculum and topics discussed include subject matter that may be disturbing to some.