Indigenous Resources


We are happy to share with you all the final research report on Indigenous Literacy!

Our partner Métis Calgary Family Services and lead researcher, Suzanne McLeod, worked for nearly a year with Indigenous community members, literacy practitioners and an Elders Council to create a strategy and framework for Calgary Learns to better serve our granting process. In the end, this body of work will make a tremendous impact on the quality, integrity and authenticity of Indigenous programs that we support, and it will directly reach our Indigenous learners.

We are grateful to the Elders Council – Reg Crowshoe, Rose Crowshoe, Doreen Spence and Florence Kelly – for their time, knowledge and support of this ongoing work. We are also grateful for those of you who shared your thoughts and best practices in the many focus groups that helped shape the work.

This work is not owned by Calgary Learns. It belongs to the community and is intended to support all programs and agencies that wish to work successfully with Indigenous learners. While a big part of this research does focus on the strategy for Calgary Learns, it is shared so that others can reflect on the process and determine if it can be adopted for their growth. We have also shared it in an effort to be transparent in the process, and as a way to model traditional Indigenous practices.

We have made some immediate changes to our process as a result of this research in the following areas:

  1. Addition of an Expression of Interest for funding that can be submitted orally or in written form.
  2. Formation of an Elders Council that will, among other tasks, assist in the review of proposals before they go to the Board of Directors for approval.
  3. New Application and Ranking Tool to reflect the Indigenous specific criterion.
  4. Inclusion of an Oral presentation between proponents and our Indigenous Review team to complement the written application form.

The Elders have offered us a challenge.  They have provided us with the necessary components to co-create with them strong, culturally safe and appropriate Indigenous literacy programs. It is up to you and your agency to decide if you are up to the challenge. Please take your time with this work. Take time to pause, reflect on the calls to action, and have patience in your process. Please do your best to take a step back, think outside the box, and inside the circle.

We are very excited to continue our learning journey. We look forward to seeing where we all interconnect. Please know that we are here to help. We strongly encourage that you take every opportunity to meet with us, network with us, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Here is the full report for your use. Please note that all proponents should become familiar with the report and at a minimum be able to cite the work in their proposals: Indigenous Literacy – Literacy & Foundational Learning for Indigenous Adults: Investment Strategy & Framework to Guide Calgary Learns. Submitted by Métis Calgary Family Services Society. Suzanne McLeod, M.A., Ph.D. (Candidate). July 2016

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All my Relations,
Monique Fry
Indigenous Liaison





Learning ultimately supports the well-being of the self, the family, the community, the land, the spirits, and the ancestors.

The First Peoples Principles of Learning reflect First Peoples (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) ways of teaching and learning. Calgary Learns has affirmed these principles as being a holistic way to approach the work of Indigenous literacy within our organization and is offering this up to the community as a model to support working with Indigenous learners.

We welcome organizations to address foundational learning and literacy skills in a creative way for Indigenous learners with models such as the First Peoples Principles, but recognize that there are other Indigenous models which may also work. We favour an approach that builds on existing Indigenous practices, strengthens Indigenous knowledge capacity and collaborative networks.

There are many resources available and we suggest that you look at multiple frameworks, talk to community leaders and Elders before deciding what will work best for your organization. Here are few links to get you started:

indigenous funding