What to Consider When Planning for Indigenous Attendees

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Indigenous communities

Indigenous attendees often have a wide range of customs that date back thousands of years.

And for a successful event, you’ll need to give them some consideration. Here are four tips on what to consider to ensure you’re being respectful during the planning process and that your meeting or event goes off without a hitch.

Learn Personal Names

Because indigenous people often have an ancestral name, traditional name and sometimes a title, it’s important to do your research to find out how the person you’re working with prefers to be addressed. Some prefer their ancestral name, their traditional name or a combination of both. If you’re working with an indigenous leader, they commonly like to be addressed by their title, first name and last name, according to Indigenous Corporate Training Inc.

Practice Listening

Listening is key in indigenous communities, and it shows a great deal of respect. During a conversation, let the indigenous person you’re working with finish their complete thought before interrupting with follow-up questions. You can even jot down questions to save for the end of the conversation if need be. And definitely avoid looking at your watch or phone because the act of not giving your full attention is seen as disrespectful.

Build Trust

Building trust in these communities takes time, especially trust in a professional relationship. That means the first time you meet may simply be an introduction without getting much planning done. The more you actively work on building trust, the more productive the professional relationship, and ultimately the meeting, will become.

Wait for Confirmation

Just because the person you’re working with agrees with what you’re saying in conversation, don’t assume that means you should move ahead with next steps. A more formal verbal or written agreement needs to take place before an action is greenlit. Remember, indigenous communities see things in generations, often turning to the Seventh Generation Principle that believes the decisions made today should have a positive affect on those seven generations into the future. Needless to say, decisions are not taken lightly, so don’t be offended if important ones are delayed.

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