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Panel 504 - From the Perspective of a New Generation of Indigenous Professionals, What Would an Inclusive Innovation Agenda Look Like?

Conference Day: 
Day 2 - November 14th 2019
Takeaways and recommendations: 

From the Perspective of a New Generation of Indigenous Professionals, What Would an Inclusive Innovation Agenda Look Like?

Organized by: DIGITAL MI'KMAQ, Marni Fullerton and Chris Googoo

Speakers: Aaron Prosper, President, Dalhousie Student Union; Chris Googoo, Chief Operating Officer of Ulnooweg, and Director of Digital Mi’kmaq; Tyler Sack, Group Product Manager, Orenda Software Solutions; Evan Syliboy, Member of the Millbrook First Nation; Stephenie Bernard, Member, Treaty Education Committee, Nova Scotia

Moderator: Marni Fullerton, Director, Digital Mi'kmaq
 

Takeaways:

  1. Ideology is engrained in everything we do. Inclusion is accepting a different ideology. For example, how can artificial intelligence be used to bring together the two views of two-eyed seeing, which integrates indigenous and western ways of knowing? 

  2. Ideology is built on mythology, and AI comes down to the training of data. Those datasets may include cultural genocide, and lack epistemology and observations rooted in indigenous cultures. 

  3. Digital Mi’kmaq is helping to create a more inclusive innovation agenda by combining science, culture, education, and digital skills into programs for indigenous youth. 

  4. There are pre-conceived ideas about indigenous peoples in science. (e.g., Evan Syliboy is an engineer who creates programs for Digital Mi’kmaq.) Being inclusive means leveling the playing field for indigenous students. 

  5. Aboriginal law as taught in law school is really Canadian law as it applies to indigenous people. It is not indigenous law, and not inclusive of indigenous pedagogies.

Actions:

  1. To properly understand and implement inclusion, Canadians must understand indigenous history. Start by reading the documents produced by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 

  2. In schools, be conscious of people’s identity. What does a Mi’kmaq look like in lesson plans? Create a curriculum to meet the students’ needs. Celebrate mistakes and have a growth mindset. Honour the past.

  3. Take into account what the students come with: some are from homes without computers or Wi-Fi, and may have parents without high school-level education. 

  4. Reach out to indigenous people. Go to their communities and get to know them. Find out how in many ways we are the same. 

  5. Go beyond the inclusion of indigenous voices/faces. Indigenous ways and knowledge need to be included in pedagogies and policies.