IN Perspective Spring 2017 View Online


Well, the Society has been busy with the BLOOM project and I am happy to report that this cohort appears to have made a smoother transition.  Overall, the Society has been busy with meeting deliverables of our contracts including the:
  • Aboriginal Social Work Training,
  • INAC Ending Violence Training targeting youth,
  • Caregiver Training,
  • Travel Contract for ASW participants,
  • Finalizing the deliverables for the Aboriginal Non Profit initiative, and
  • Delivering our Social Enterprise Training –Cultural Perspectives Training.
Cultural Perspective Training (CPT) is the Society’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. In delivering the CPT, the Society’s goal is to build local relations that are grounded in culturally appropriate practices, and create and more understanding of impacts of colonization leading to improved relationships with Aboriginal people. Participants in this training have been impacted and experienced a shift in their thinking about Aboriginal people.
If you would like more details about any of our training, or how our training could be customized to meet your need please phone the Society at 250 391 0007. 
Linda Lucas
Executive Director
Indigenous Perspectives Society


Message from the Representative for Children and Youth

Hello everyone, and thank you for this opportunity to update you on what’s been happening in my first few months on the job. On Feb. 16, the B.C. Legislature confirmed my appointment as B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth for a five year term – meaning I am no longer in an “acting” position. I feel the full weight of the responsibilities that come with the job, but at the same time, I look forward to bringing about positive change for B.C.’s children, youth and their families. One of my top priorities is to bring down the number of Indigenous children and youth in care which, as you know more than many, is unacceptably high.
On Feb. 6, I released Broken Promises: Alex’s Story, a troubling report about the suicide of a Métis youth who was soon to age out of care. In this report, detailing the life and death of Alex Gervais, I make four recommendations, including that the Ministry of Children and Family Development provide the level of support necessary to support successful foster placements for youth with extended family or another adult with a positive connection to a child or youth; that MCFD significantly increase oversight and financial accountability for contracted residential services; and that it ensure Indigenous children in care are connected with their cultural background.
The report has received extensive media coverage and government has accepted all of its recommendations. I will, of course, be monitoring compliance with those recommendations.  While my Office will continue to release reports, I will also be focusing on youth outreach activities and working co-operatively with government ministries to create positive results, including taking an active role in monitoring Care Plans.
In the meantime, advocacy will continue to be a core function of my Office. Remember, our advocates are here for children, youth and their families.  Call us at 1-800-476-3933 or email us at  And don’t forget, if you are receiving or eligible to receive CLBC services, we can advocate for you until your 24th birthday.
‘Til next time,

Bernard Richard
Representative for Children and Youth, British Columbia

Participant Profile - Beryl Park, Aboriginal Social Work

I am the Executive Director for the Heiltsuk Kaxla Society and we are a level C3 Delegated Child Welfare Agency. My mother is Haida and my father is Irish-English, and I grew up for my first ten years in Haida Gwaii and then my family moved to live in the city. My Haida name translated to English means always doing something, it was my great-aunts name. I went back home as an adult and spent 6 years there helping set up our own child protection agency.

I was asked to come for a training refresher as I had been out of the country for three years, and needed update my knowledge and skills. I was unsure about the experience at first, but I am really enjoying the training and I think it is excellent. Indigenous Perspectives Society’s training is like a condensed university course, and I think it should be accredited. It is a great experience to be in the room with young workers and with others in the profession. Going through the coursework and through discussion, you can see things you already know from a new perspective and gain valuable insights.

I just love the work – When they asked me when I became a social worker it started for me as a young child in a rural community. I have always wanted to be a helper, some people know they are drummers or artists and I knew I wanted to help people. Directly helping families is where the best work is done.  When I was younger I wanted to be an administrator, but then I realized the most rewarding part of this work is being able to work directly and respectfully with people. The most important thing for working with a family is everyone understanding the family’s circumstances and respecting them. Creating a network of support is how to really help people, and brings everyone together.

This is my last job before retirement and I am hoping all my knowledge can be transferred over to young workers. Heltsiuk wants their own people to manage the organization, so I am training young people to take on management roles. When I go, the organization will have its own people leading.

It is important to have people in the community managing child welfare who know their own culture and the families. When you are from a community’s culture, you understand that a messy house does not mean that children are being neglected and need to be taken away, just that it is the way people in that community live. I have seen more success helping families by going in with deep respect and listening to what people have to say about what is going on in their own home. They know what is going on and can identify what is happening. I have only had three children not be able to go back to their homes and that is because their special needs made it impossible to manage without the supports of care, and even then we made sure structures are in place to ensure connection is maintained.


Participant Profile - Graeme Bethel, Cultural Perspectives Training

I was encouraged to take Cultural Perspectives Training by a friend of mine but was a little reluctant at first. I caved and enjoyed a very fruitful day of learning and reconnecting to my core principles. I did not foresee that it would reconnect me to my own Maori Indigenous heritage to the degree that it has.

We all need to do our part in the healing process by recognizing the impact of the atrocities the Indigenous people of Canada have endured, first by the British and followed by the government of Canada, through legislation and confiscation of land and culture. The genocidal practices designed to destroy communities by forcing people onto reserves, separating children from their families and the subsequent emotional, physical and sexual abuse they experienced.

I believe our government needs to do the right thing and steps should be taken immediately to correct past transgressions both provincially and federally. The steps should address healing, caregiving, education, training, and economic development with supportive oversight and capacity development where it is needed.

Reconciliation means developing and delivering rightful restitution for all of the wrongs that have occurred to Indigenous people in Canada. It means restoring the natural resources, traditional lands and financial compensation for what was historically confiscated and taken away from them. This can only occur after recognizing and acknowledging the full effects of what transpired. Self-determination is central to recovery.

My taking action to support Reconciliation gave me a feeling of satisfaction and relief.  I have always had a community focus in my life but I had drifted off course somewhat and this training has refocused my efforts and given me voice. Since taking Cultural Perspectives Training I have been reaching out to work with First Nations communities and organizations to help where I can.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about participating in CPT? 
Do it.  It can only benefit you.  It may even make you emotionally stronger.

What do you wish other people knew about Indigenous Perspectives Society? 
I wish they knew this training is available to everyone.  It was a great day of learning.

I Don't Know My Name

I don’t know my name,
I don’t know myself.
I can’t change my language.
You’re messing with my health.
Take me away
Because I’m a savage.
Put me through all this torture
And say it’s my passage.
Cut off my hair
And force me to do as you wish,
I’d rather die
Than all of this.
Watch my cousin get beaten
And my sister get raped,
You call yourself a pastor
But you have no faith.
I’m confused.
I can’t be sure what you want me to be…
You claim you will
“Tame and take the indian out of me.”
Then one day,
Out in the yard,
the supervisor grabbed a little girl’s hand,
And pulled her along hard.
When he took her inside
The adults were few to none,
So dazed and outraged
I started to run…
As I ran
I felt the ground pulsing my wrath,
As I bolted down
The secret path
600 kilometers
was where home lay.
What I didn’t know is I would never make it,
Try as I may.
Cold, hungry and nearly dead
On the ground I lay,
And there my dying thought strikes me like a match head:
“I don’t know my name…”

Charlie Batchelor, age 14
Ojibway Mohawk
(Poem writen after watching Gord Downie's The Secret Path

The Button Blanket opening was a great success with more than 50 people attending. Terry Azak led the group with a history of the Button Blankets and stories of the significance of the Wolf, Eagle, Raven and Whale. He danced, sang, drummed and by the end of the evening had everyone up and dancing.

Darrell Thorne, the artist who provided the art work for the blankets, told his story of becoming an artist. A big thank you to Terry and Darrell, as well as to Peter Dawson for the delicious food. With a core group of 15 people, we continue to meet from 5 pm to 7 pm every second Tuesday and everyone is welcome to drop in. Our next Button Blanket evening is Tuesday, March 15, 2017 and additional dates are listed on our website, Hope to see you there!

BLOOM Update

We are now into our third online delivery for the ASW training. Each delivery continues to improve as we learn more from the participant’s experience and as we build our capacity to provide relevant interactive activities and visuals.

Connie Martin and Laurie MacDonald continue to deliver excellent quality training while they incorporate participant’s voices into changes for the next round. Our next training for Voluntary Services is April 24, 2017.

Indigenous Caregivers of BC - Gaye Smith, Caregiver Support and Education

These past two months have been a busy start to 2017! As caregiver support and trainer, I am involved the Residential Redesign Committee. I also sit on sub-committees involved in improving educational opportunities for foster caregivers, kinship care and resource workers. I was involved in the pilot study of the new education program of PRIDE (Parent Resources Information Development Education) and IPS will be part of the rollout of this education program both with MCFD and participating Delegated Agencies. While we wait for this program to be in place for foster caregivers, I continue to offer Pre Service and In Service training opportunities to DAA’s as required.

Upcoming trainings:
  • Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society – Pre Service (18 – 21 hours)
  • Scw’exmx Child & Family Services Society - Merritt – Caregiver Education In-Service (53 hours)
  • USMA Family and Child Services -  Ahousat – Caregiver Education In-Service (53 hours)

IPS is also involved with the BC Youth in Care Week Committee and we are looking forward to working with the community and committee in planning to celebrate our youth in and from government care!

We are a great need for Indigenous foster caregivers in communities throughout all of BC. If you have room in your heart and room in your room, please give us a call and we can work with you to support you on this journey into foster caregiving! Call Gaye toll-free at 1.844.391.0007 extension 229 or email her at More information can be found on our Indigenous Caregivers of BC website at


Do you or your staff work with Indigenous People? 
Cultural Perspectives Training is ideal for individuals who want the knowledge to pursue relationship building opportunities using culturally appropriate practices with Indigenous customers, clients, and colleagues.

Do you want to increase your Indigenous cultural competency? 
With our training you will be able to employ culturally safe communication and apply knowledge of the continued impact of colonization when working with Indigenous peoples.

How will this training impact you and benefit your workplace? 
You are able to ask questions in a safe place, and you will walk away with an understanding of the role you can play as an Indigenous ally. You will be providing your employees with an enhanced understanding of the unique history of Indigenous people and the skills required to build meaningful relationship in a culturally appropriate way.
When: March 22, 2017
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Cost: $250/person
Where: Indigenous Perspective Society at 664 Granderson Road, Victoria, BC
Register at:

This course is a blended learning model: 1 day in person and 8 hours online to be completed over 4 weeks.

Follow us on Facebook for announcements of all of our upcoming training.

For more information on Cultural Perspectives Training and our cultural competency workshops and online training contact Alesha Doran at and 250 857 4962.

At IPS, learners gain the knowledge, skills and perspectives needed to be aware of their role in transforming how we relate to children, families, individuals and issues. Our graduates include leaders, entrepreneurs, educators, social workers, parents, caregivers, and youth, who are using their training both professionally and personally in communities throughout British Columbia and across Canada.

IPS is hosting the following training dates in the first quarter of 2017. For more information or to register visit
Online Introduction to Child Protection March 1 - 3
IPS Office Child Protection Week 7 March 6 - 10
IPS Office Child Protection Week 8 March 13 - 17
IPS Office Cultural Perspectives Training March 22
TBA Supervisory I April 4 - 6
IPS Office Cultural Perspectives Training April 19
IPS Office Voluntary Services Week 1 April 24 - 28
TBA Board of Directors April 25 - 27
IPS Office Voluntary Services Week 2 May 1 - 5
Online Voluntary Services Week 3 May 8 - 12
Online Voluntary Services Week 4 May 15 - 19
Online Introduction to Guardianship May 29 - 31

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