Working with Indigenous Communities: Best Practices


The purpose of this two-module course is to provide participants with an overview of Indigenous, non-Indigenous relations in Canada up to the present.

The first module will review the key historical and contemporary events that have contributed to this complex relationship.

Building on this knowledge base, the second module will present options and ideas that may help your organization develop its own best practices when working with Indigenous communities.

Module 1 (3 hours)

  • Explore the historical background of Indigenous Peoples in Canada as it reflects the geopolitical, economic, and social impact of colonization
  • Settling of Canada and the Royal Proclamation of 1763
    • Treaty-making processes in Canada
    • Indian Act of 1867
    • Métis Script and Settlements
    • Residential Schools
    • Constitution Act of 1982 Section 35
    • Modern Treaties and agreements
    • Truth and Reconciliation Commission
    • The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
  • Reflect upon the perspective and experience of Indigenous peoples in relationship with non-Indigenous peoples over time and the impacts on current efforts to create partnerships given structural and institutional racism, exclusion and oppression
  • Federal and Provincial land rights of Aboriginal people and laws of general application
  • Legal status of Indigenous communities in northern B.C.
  • Recognize distinctive cultural values and traditional beliefs amongst First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples in Canada
  • Identify the cultural nuances between Indigenous peoples in terms of communication, relationship-building, status and hierarchy, and social expectations

Module 2 (3 hours)

  • Awareness of governance and decision-making structures of Indigenous communities in B.C.
    • Prepare to establish contact with a Nation, understanding the several possible portals for engagement and consultation within a Nation
    • Identify the electoral system and cycle within a Nation
    • Understand how to engage with distinct Nations and assess the unique composition of each Nation
  • Describe protocols for working with Indigenous communities and Elders
    • Understanding gifting protocols and the importance of engaging with Elders
    • Understanding relationships between Nations
  • Awareness of the importance of ceremony inclusion in project management and certain protocols around ceremony
  • Discussion on how and when to describe different Indigenous people and groups.

About the Instructor

Robert Diaz is a senior executive with over 25 years of experience working with Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments throughout western Canada.

In his role as senior advisor and negotiator, Rob serves as lead representative with Indigenous leadership and the political community working to identify new opportunities for building and deepening partnerships with a range of stakeholders, as well as overseeing initiatives with the private sector and managing engagement with other organizations. As a Board Member and Director on numerous Indigenous-owned companies and leadership teams, he also provides overall guidance and participates in the development of long-term economic development strategies for Indigenous governments.

Rob holds degrees in History, and First Nation Studies from the University of Western Ontario and the University of Northern British Columbia. He has developed and taught senior level university courses for the University of Victoria and the Royal Military College. Rob has worked as an ethno historian for over 45 Indigenous Nations in Canada on land rights, claims and issues surrounding reconciliation and wellness.

Course Details
Virtual Classroom
Course Date
Day Details
Two morning sessions via Zoom - Thursdays, 9:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m.
Registration Deadline

Course Requirements

Students must have a computer with a webcam in order to attend class and participate in exercises and knowledge checks.

Course Content


Course Cancellations

Please note that courses may be canceled at any time due to low enrolment. Upon cancellation, registrants will receive a full refund.