Cultural Safety Training
Wi’kuom Cross Cultural Services offers a two day workshop for workplaces that provide services to Mi’kmaw communities. Participants learn about Mi’kmaq history and culture, they investigate ways that First Nation people in Canada experience systemic racism and confront discrimination, and they will explore ways that their organization can improve workplace recruitment and retention of Mi’kmaq people. Perhaps the most important outcome of the training is the emphasis on self-reflection and offering participants the opportunity to challenge their own perception of Mi’kmaq communities by reflecting on ways that their organization and their personal beliefs may contribute to creating barriers within their workplace or for their Mi’kmaq clients in obtaining the service. At the heart of Cultural Safety Training is the belief that it is in the best interest of all service providers to ensure that clients receive the services they want in a way their clients feel is safe and welcoming. When this is achieved it builds important bonds between the service provider and their clients and can extend the relationship to positive outcomes in the community as well.
Prior to the workshop date the facilitators will work with your organization to identify specific areas of concern internally and also in relation to the employment sector your organization belongs to. Every workshop also has a follow up component where the facilitators check back in with the group to offer additional support and answer any questions that may have arose post workshop.
.5 day preparation by both instructors – $750
Facilitation of 2 day workshop by two instructors- $3000
.5 day follow up consultation with both instructors- $750
$.50/km for return travel from Millbrook
Hotel accommodations for both instructors if the workshop is held further than 150km from Millbrook FN, NS
The host organization is responsible for arranging catering and meeting space for the workshop.
Total price – $4500 plus travel, accommodations, meeting space and catering.
Gordon Pictou lives in Millbrook FN with his wife and three sons and is the owner of Wi’kuom Cross Cultural Services. In addition to the work he does with his company he also teaches at the Adult Learning Program in Sipekne’katik FN and Millbrook FN, is a volunteer for the Truro Junior High School Native Leadership Program, a baseball and a soccer coach, and an avid camper.
Mr. Pictou graduated from St. Mary’s University with an Arts Degree, Mount Saint Vincent with a Bachelor of Education Degree and the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources with a Certificate in Environmental Protection and Assessment. He taught for the Halifax Regional School Board from 2002 until 2009, was the Curator and Program Manger for the Glooscap Heritage Centre and Mi’kmaw Museum (now the Milbrook Cultural and Heritage Centre) from 2009 – 2014, started Wi’kuom Cross Cultural Services in 2014 and has taught the Adult Learning Program for Indian Brook since 2014 and the Millbrook ALP in 2016.
As a new educator, Gordon was concerned about the lack of inclusion of Mi’kmaw history and culture within the Nova Scotia curriculum and the perpetuation of many damaging stereotypes, cultural myths, and systemic barriers that were present in the schools in which he taught. Pictou made a concerted effort as a teacher to address these issues but continually was frustrated by the limited success he had in creating any meaningful change. He looked for a solution and found it at the Glooscap Heritage Centre and Mi’kmaw Museum.
In his new role he created an affordable outreach program to provide interested schools and teachers with an opportunity to experience Mi’kmaw culture and learn about Mi’kmaw history. He helped to connect teachers with speakers, resources and Mi’kmaw communities near their school. He started major annual events that would bring schools and teachers from around the province to Millbrook regularly.
He created the Mi’kmaq History Month Educators Conference in 2009 in partnership with Patsy Paul-Martin and the Central Chignecto Regional School Board. It is an annual conference open to all educators to come and learn how to better incorporate Mi’kmaw history and culture into all areas of the curriculum. The conference brings a new selection of expert speakers from across Mi’kma’ki to share their insight, knowledge and resources with Nova Scotia’s educators.
Gordon started Wi’kuom Cross Cultural Services in 2014 to continue to offer the services he had created and partnered with Janet Pothier to offer a Cultural Safety Training Course that was developed by the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq and the Nova Scotia Health Authority to address systemic barriers to accessing its services by First Nation people. Gordon and Janet used their experience to adapt the training module to any workplace.
Janet Pothier is a social worker and educator whose background is in cross cultural social work with Indigenous populations. She has been involved in the development and delivery of cultural safety workshops since 2010. She worked at the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq in Millbrook First Nation joining the organization in October 2006 as the Maternal Child Health Coordinator after working for a number of years as a Family Services Coordinator for the Military Family Resource Centre in Dartmouth Nova Scotia. She assumed the role of Health Advisor at CMM in November 2007 and is currently on a one year leave of absence. Janet teaches at the Dalhousie School of Social Work as a sessional instructor and embraces the idea of lifelong learning and education as a form of social transformation. She lives in central Nova Scotia with her partner Roger, Brittany Spaniel Sadie, many riotous chickens and two very noisy geese. In her spare time Janet is an avid gardener and beginner herbalist and loves spending time in the woods and reading.