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Relationship Building & Protocols

This section provides information on the importance of respect and protocols when developing relationships with Indigenous people and communities, especially when it comes to sharing Indigenous Knowledge.

“How Can I Help?”

It’s Not Reconciliation if it Feels Good


  • Be kind and look kindly on everyone.
  • Leave your assumptions at the door.
  • Approach new communities and people with a willingness to learn, an open mind and heart.
  • Get to know a community or person uniquely and individually. It takes more time, but it’s how you develop meaningful and reciprocal relationships.
  • Be flexible in your agenda and discussion. Subjects may be approached in a holistic way and may reveal findings you did not originally consider.
  • Acknowledge that you see difference and confront your biases.
  • Support Indigenous people in their efforts to reclaim their rights, power and place.
  • Bring substance to your land acknowledgements.
  • Focus on finding your commonalities instead of pointing out your differences.

Information and Resources

Addressing Bias & Understanding the Indigenous Education

Decolonial Conversations

Elder and Community Protocols

So you are thinking about asking an Elder to come into your classroom to help facilitate a discussion, share knowledge or conduct ceremony. Here are some resources to help you work with Elders.

Pow Wows

Pow wows are not just performances. Pow wow is a joyous celebration of culture, a ceremony and a symbol of Indigenous resilience and inclusive events. Before you attend a Pow wow it is important that you research etiquette and protocol so that you can be a respectful attendant.

Land/Territorial Acknowledgements

Who are the communities that I should work with?

In Ontario, there are 13 distinct groups of First Nation peoples, each with their own languages, customs, and territories. These Nations are the Algonquin, Mississauga, Ojibway, Cree, Odawa, Pottowatomi, Delaware, and the Haudenosaunee (Mohawk, Onondaga, Onoyota'a:ka, Cayuga, Tuscarora, and Seneca).

Provincial Territorial Organizations (P.T.O.s)