Indigenous Elder and Community Protocols


Collaborating with Indigenous Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and community members helps to build and support lasting relationships with local Indigenous peoples and communities. It also brings Indigenous ways of knowing and cultural teachings into the university through oral tradition and personal interaction. After centuries of colonial practices of dispossession, assimilation, and oppression of Indigenous peoples and their ways of life, it is essential to help create a space for Indigenous knowledge and presence at Concordia. Indigenous engagement facilitates memorable learning experiences for Concordia students, faculty, and staff that go beyond typical Western educational models based on written forms of knowledge transmission.


The purpose of this document is to assist Concordia University faculty, staff, and students through the process of respectfully and ethically inviting, interacting, and/or collaborating with Indigenous peoples and communities. These guidelines and protocols may also aid in the development of policies and procedures concerning teaching, research, employment, and strategies for Indigenous community outreach and engagement.


The goal of this document is to foster meaningful long-term relationships and collaborations between Concordia University and First Peoples based on mutual respect. These guidelines are designed to create awareness and promote accountability for ideas, words, and actions that may directly or indirectly do harm to Indigenous peoples whom we wish to invite, honour, and collaborate with.


These protocols and guidelines are to be followed by Concordia University faculty, staff, and students who wish to engage with Indigenous peoples and communities on campus or in the Tiohtià:ke (Montréal) area and beyond. It is not possible to cover all Indigenous knowledges, cultures, or perspectives in a single document or set of protocols. This document is not comprehensive in its representation of Indigenous cultures and communities nor the roles of Indigenous Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and community members. Members of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities have collaborated to co-compose these protocols. Collectively, Indigenous peoples are considered the primary cultural resources and experts on these matters and as such their needs, opinions, and views take precedence over the content of this document.

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