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Indigenous Leadership, Innovation, & Transformation Consulting

.Health, .Wealth, .Wisdom, 2022, Cover Story, Interview, Q3 | 0 comments

Written by Jacques Lalonde

September 13, 2022

Len Pierre is Coast Salish from Katzie (kate-zee) First Nation. Len is an educator, consultant, TedX speaker, social activist, traditional knowledge keeper, and cultural practitioner. As an agent for change, Len leads and advises for systemic transformation in universities across North America. He specializes in developing educational programs and services with decolonization and reconciliation as their core values. He comes to us with an open heart and open mind and hopes to be received in the same way.

“I train and advise professional companies across North America on how they can transform their organizations to be culturally safer for Indigenous folks and to reconcile with Indigenous communities,” says Len. “Sometimes it is long-term contract work with organizations for policy reform, program development, and anti-racism work, or reviewing programs to make sure they are culturally safe for Indigenous folks accessing their services.”

The work we do is transformative. We’re in the business of people development. We want to inspire hearts and minds. To take up action, ultimately for social justice work.

“People sometimes have no idea about genocide in Canada,” says Len. “State structured violence against Indigenous folk in this country that we know to be a beautiful, free, rich and progressive place seems strange. Canada’s dirty secrets are often swept under the rug. So when we come in, we hold the space in such a kind, gentle, safe way for everybody that no matter what you think you know, everyone is welcome here. Everyone is treated with safety and kindness while engaging in these important discussions.” “Why we try to create meaningful experiences so people can uncover some of those missing truths.”

“When I listened to our elders speak about their residential school experiences, it always left all the participants traumatized. Tears would come out. Guilt. Shame. I felt the piece that was “When I listened to our elders speak about their residential school experiences, it always left all the participants traumatized. Tears would come out. Guilt. Shame. I felt the piece that was to the Canadian Government. So who’s getting the free ride?”

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When asked about his tattoos. Len points to one of an owl. He got that one in honour of his Grandmother, Agnes Pierre. “Our Elders, like my Grandma, recognize our gifts. As a child, I always want to be a teacher. I would always boss my little cousins around. I’d say: Come on, we’re playing school. You all sit down, and I’m going to teach you, and they would listen.” “My Grandmother saw me, and she was like: ‘Wow, my grandson is really bossy, but he’s got a gift for speaking!’ My Grandma was amazing.” “She was a well-known speaker so she would take me with her when I was 7 or 8 years old to stand beside her when she would speak in front of 1000 people.” “By the time I was 14, she had got me to say things after her. She passed away, but her spirit animal was the owl. She had owls all over her house. And an owl in our culture represents wisdom and knowledge, and she modeled that beautifully.” “I always think of her before I speak.” Owls. Inspiring hearts and minds. A safe space for everyone. We have your back. I’m glad I met Len Pierre today. My heart is filled with hope for the first time in a long while.

5 TIPS TOWARD RECONCILIATION

Learn about the land-based Nations on which you live, work, and play.

Buy from local Indigenous businesses. Look up Indigenous business BC.

By Indigenous books. Help spread awareness. Promote a culture of learning.

Take a course. Indigenous Canada is offered at the University of Alberta. It’s online, and it’s free. Len will have some courses you can take very soon.

Look for Indigenous social media influencers. You might not know any Indigenous people, but you can still learn about them and our values online.

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