Quick tip: It is best to invite Elders and Indigenous community members after our training.
Thank you for asking us about inviting elders or community members to your training session.
It is a great idea to include elders as speakers for your team. However, in our experience, inviting elders or community members to speak at the training, particularly the Indigenous Awareness or Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples® training, dampens the free flow of questions and discussions among the participants.
Participants often worry about inadvertently offending the elders/community members in the room. Our trainers, too, would feel compelled to listen and not interrupt to continue the training as it is elder protocol. This can take time away from the content that we have to share.
With these considerations in mind, we suggest that once the team has received our training, you invite elders to provide your team with an additional community-focused learning session. A level two training session, as it were.
In this way, you can enhance the community's relationship and avoid any interactions that could harm your relationship-building efforts by providing a full circle of knowledge for your team in their relationship building with Indigenous communities.