Staff Resources » Protocols


Land Acknowledgement
"Acknowledging territory shows recognition of and respect for Aboriginal Peoples. It is recognition of their presence, both in the past and the present. Recognition and respect are essential elements of establishing healthy, reciprocal relations. These relationships are key to reconciliation..."    Guide to Acknowledging First Peoples and Traditional Territory.
I live and learn on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Syilx/Okanagan people as a settler-guest. The Syilx Nation is, to this day and every day forward, the rightful caretaker of this territory. It is, therefore, my obligation to acknowledge, respect and learn from the Syilx knowledge, language, and history, as well as from their ongoing relationship to the land and natural world. The Syilx have taken care of their homelands for thousands of years and now that I call this place home, it is also my obligation to aspire towards better understanding how to engage in respectful acts of decolonization both personally and professionally.
Dr. Leyton Schnellert, UBC, Dept. of Curriculum & Pedagogy
Indigenous Guest Speaker Considerations
Sharing Circles
Sharing circles or talking circles are a very important element in Indigenous cultures and world views. In a circle everyone is equal and interconnected to one another. The circle is a required procedure for English First Peoples classes. I personally have found that they are a powerful tool for building trust and community in a class. It is rare in a high school class that every single individual shares their thoughts in an open setting. There are no physical barriers between the participants in the circle and everyone can see everyone else. Many students are uncomfortable with it initially but then become more relaxed as it becomes common practice. Sharing circles are most effective if used consistently throughout the semester or school year, and I use the circles once a week in my classes. They don't take long, and they can be used to build community, discuss issues or respond to texts studied in class.

Note: If you would like some help implementing sharing circles into your classroom, it is recommended that you invite a member of your district's Aboriginal Education team to facilitate the first circle.

Protocols for Sharing Circles
  1. Once the circle has begun, no-one should leave or enter the circle.  (Appropriate signage should be posted so that late students wait to re-join the class as soon as the sharing circle is complete).

  2. The person holding the designated sharing circle "object" (for our class it is the mini-drum) is the only person speaking. All other members listen respectfully and there is no "cross-talk" in response.

  3. What is shared in the circle is safe within that circle.  No-one has to worry about anything being repeated outside of the circle.

  4. Any member of the circle has the right to "pass" if they are not able to contribute on that particular day.

  5. Appropriate language and expression are used.

  6. Members should begin by introducing themselves and providing some information about their family or background.

  7. The leader of the circle will acknowledge the traditional territory that the circle is being held on (The Syilx (Okanagan) Nation's territory, in our case).