Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Being

ECALA funded and took part in two Indigenous Living with Literacy research projects (2015 and 2018) which resulted in several changes to funding literacy learning opportunities for Indigenous learners. 

Goals and objectives of the projects include: 

  • Building upon senior leader support for advancing Belonging, Inclusion, Reconciliation and Diversity  
  • Model diversity and inclusiveness at the board, senior leadership, and staff levels
  • Create an inclusive and welcoming environment (such as the Land Acknowledgement) 
  • Analyze ECALA granting processes 
  • Build capacity to engage the community around conversations of Belonging, Inclusion, Reconciliation and Diversity. 

ECALA employs an Indigenous Education Liaison to help Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations to increase engagement with Indigenous learners and to provide coaching and mentoring and Indigenous professional development. ECALA’s staff and board receive guidance from the newly formed Indigenous Working Group. 

land acknowledgement

Acknowledging the land is an Indigenous protocol used to express gratitude to those who reside here and to honour the Indigenous people who have lived and worked on this land historically and presently. It allows us the opportunity to appreciate the unique role and relationship that each of us has with the land. Sharing a land acknowledgement also provides a gentle reminder of the broader perspectives that expand our understanding to encompass the long-standing, rich history of the land and our privileged role in residing here.

Indigenous Working Group

The Indigenous Working Group (IWG) meets several times throughout the year. The IWG members are:  

  • Brittany Whitford (Indigenous Liaison)
  • Leona Carter
  • Ed Lavallee
  • Phyllis Steeves

The ECALA Board ratified the recommendations from the IWG to fund courses with four Indigenous organizations: Ben Calf Robe Society, Creating Hope Society, Edmonton Native Healing Centre, and The Red Road Healing Society. We would like to thank the IWG for their guidance and support through the sharing of teachings and traditional and cultural knowledge throughout the year.  

Indigenous Curriculum and Resources Project

ECALA hopes to learn from the Indigenous Community about resources and curriculum content that will build cultural and literacy knowledge and skills with Indigenous Adult Foundational learners in Edmonton.

ECALA will host in-person community gatherings for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous educators and Indigenous adult learners to ensure the community can influence the content and use of the resources in the Community Adult Learning Programs funded by Advanced Education. The two ceremonial gatherings will be held on May 2, 2022, and June 6, 2022, to share information to guide us in the early stages of gathering research and resources. Two ceremonial gatherings will be held at the end of the Project for the community to review a draft curriculum, literature review and resources collected during the Project.

Interested individuals can contribute to the Project by hosting focus groups with Indigenous Adult Foundational learners, sharing activities, materials, and research relevant to the Project, interviewing our contractor, Lee Grace, or meeting with Lee.

If you have information to share or would like to participate in further conversations around creating safe and respectful spaces for Indigenous learners, please contact Lee Grace at