Understanding one another - What's the deal with Indigenous Awareness?
11 questions answered by Jacquelyn Cardinal, an expert in Canadian Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples’ relations.
Jacquelyn and Hunter Cardinal are the founders of Indigenous owned and operated business — Naheyawin. Jacquelyn is the company’s Managing Director, she’s a recipient of the Esquao Award for achievement in business and a SHEInnovates Award from the UN Women’s Global Innovation Coalition for Change.
A self-proclaimed technologist at heart, with over a decade of program facilitation experience, Jacquelyn strives to equip communities with the means to support themselves and each other while walking together on a shared path.
Together, Jacquelyn and Hunter have developed the Indigenous Awareness online course available on Shop TIQ. At TIQ Software, we understand how important it is to know where the course information comes from, so here’s what the expert who designed it has to say about it.
Q: As experts, how do you and Hunter help those you work with?
Jacquelyn: We provide education, strategy, and community-building opportunities for all people to grow their knowledge about how they can be an active part in mending our relations as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
Q: Why is your online course on Indigenous Awareness important?
Jacquelyn: Indigenous Awareness provides the foundation for all Canadians to understand where we've been and where we are now so we can dream about where we wish to go and strategize about how to take tangible steps to get there.
Q: What major factors or life events inspired you to begin your company Naheyawin?
Jacquelyn: Hunter and I both reached similar places in our original career paths; Hunter in acting and me in entrepreneurship. We felt we had achieved a measure of success, but didn't have much impact. Because we grew up with parents who modeled the importance of doing well and doing good, it led us both to reevaluate what our life paths should be.
This came up in discussion, and we decided to ask the question: What can we do with what we have? With Hunter's acting and my entrepreneurship background, as well as our shared passion for our culture, we started Naheyawin hoping we could help our communities get excited to build a better future together.
Q: How do your entrepreneurial experience and Hunter’s acting work together?
Jacquelyn: [Laughs] Well, Naheyawin is also a production company, and its first play produced last year won the Edmonton Sterling Award for Outstanding New Play for Lake of the Strangers.
Q: What is one goal Hunter and you have with Naheyawin?
Jacquelyn: Our goal is to not be needed one day! Hunter and I dream of a day when we tell our respective grandchildren about what we did at Naheyawin, with them shocked and laughing at the prospect of people not already having what we are providing.
Q: Where does the company’s name come from?
Jacquelyn: Naheyawin is an anglicized version of the word nêhiyawêwin which means "the Cree language" because our language guides all of our work.
Q: How will people benefit from your course being online?
Jacquelyn: We have always struggled with the natural capacity we have as a team of specialists in that we can only spend our time once, and can only be in one place at a time. Our online course will allow us to provide our content at a lower price than in-person training allowed. I think this will also allow an inclusive avenue for different learning abilities and for those who would like to learn on their own instead of just as a part of corporate training.
Q: What is your opinion on the future of online learning?
Jacquelyn: I'm extremely excited about the future of online learning. I think it will help us expand how we think about what education is and what true knowledge-building is. It’s learning that can be done from anywhere, about anything, at a pace that works for the learner.
Q: What are some challenges you’ve faced with Naheyawin?
Jacquelyn: The economic impact of COVID-19 has been hard on us as we have relied on live workshops for a portion of our revenues, but we are lucky that we have partners like TIQ Software to help us gain a footing in online course delivery!
Q: What else can you tell us about the content and services that Naheyawin provides?
Jacquelyn: We are a social enterprise, giving back as much as we can to communities in the form of pro-bono organizing, public speaking, and advisement wherever possible. All of our content is living. We are constantly updating and expanding what we teach because we ourselves are constantly learning and wish to pass that on to those we teach as quickly as we can.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Jacquelyn: Hunter and I are lucky in that we have many stories of ancestors who endured hardships and came out the other end strong and whole because they remembered who they were and what they owed to future generations. We hope that this course, as it is honest but ultimately intended to uplift the learner, can be that story for others.
Indigenous Awareness is available at
Proven. Bite-sized. Engagement enhancing. Upskilling anywhere and on any device. That's what TIQ Software adds to the mix. Combined, you have today’s best source of diversity training.