Portage College Public Legal Education Program
Circles of Learning: Indigenous Awareness Workshops


To reflect on historical and contemporary contexts of Indigenous peoples and enable participants to deepen their awareness and knowledge of First Nations, Métis and Inuit histories and realities. 

Indigenous Identity & Canadian Law

Perceptions of Indigenous identity can be complex as definitions may have legal implications that often operate in perplexing ways. In this workshop, participants will develop an understanding of the historical, legal and contextual terminology pertaining to Indigenous peoples through examination of the various ways in which Indigenous peoples in Canada self-identify and are defined by the state—and the ways in which these two systems of definition, one based in law and legislation, the other in family tradition and community practice, are frequently in conflict.

Workshop Length: 2 hours

Canadian Reconciliation & Indigenous Peoples: Dispelling Myths, Misconceptions & Stereotypes

Misconceptions and stereotypes about Indigenous issues are often perpetuated by the Media. In this workshop participants will explore the biases, stereotypes and attitudes that news stories address and are prevalent in the greater community and examine how these narratives have their origins in the colonialist history and legal structures of Canada. Further, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada’s Calls to Action will be examined and used as frameworks for understanding the significance of revitalization of First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures. This session includes group exercises and a Talking Circle; a safe and inclusive space for discussing sensitive issues.

Workshop Length: 3 hours

Settler Colonialism & Indigenous Resistance

The foundational history and structures of settler colonialism are largely unknown to most Canadians. At its core, the logic of the settler colonialist state is the dispossessing and erasure of Indigenous Peoples. This workshop will examine of the legal history of Canada and its relations with Indigenous peoples. Participants will gain understanding of how the Canadian legal system has subjugated Indigenous Peoples and how Indigenous Peoples have struggled to resist settler state agendas of dispossession and assimilation, by protecting their inherent rights as Peoples; and revitalizing their ties to land, culture and languages.

Workshop Length: 3 hours

Please note: each workshop comes with a Certificate of Completion.

Our Facilitator

Shelley Thompson-Jackson is a Cree Iskwew from Kikino, ALberta. She is the Coordinator for Portage College Public Legal Education Program. She possesses a Bachelor of Arts degree in Native Studies from the University of Alberta (1994) along with 15 plus years of management experience in both the non-profit and private sector.

In her position with Portage College, Shelley coordinates workshops on the law and justice topics. She also researches and designs workshops on Indigenous legal issues. 

Interested in booking a Circles of Learning: Indigenous Awareness Workshop?

These workshops are offered to Indigenous communities, school groups and community service organizations (non-profits) free of charge. If your organization is not one of these groups and is interested in a workshop for Professional Development (PD) purposes, please fill out the Group Request Form and we will be in touch to accommodate your request through our Continuing Education department.

Please submit your request 3 -8 weeks in advance. Typically, the minimum requirements for a group booking is 10 – 30 people. However we try to accommodate all requests. If you expect more than 30 people at your workshop, please proceed with completing this form and we will work with you to try to accommodate your request.

After you fill out this workshop order request, we will contact you to go over details and availability before the order is completed. If you would like direct information on availability and further workshop details please contact us at (780) 623-5680 or shelley.jackson@portagecollege.ca