CBU researcher supports actions toward Truth and Reconciliation

Mary Beth Doucette, CBU’s Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies and Assistant Professor of Organizational Management, is working with the Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia (CSCNS) to build on the success of a Decolonizing Learning Journey, an educational series the CSCNS introduced to the community in June 2020. With funding from the Change Lab Action Research Initiative (CLARI), Doucette will analyze the input from participants, examine information gaps and recommend next steps to enhance this important programming moving forward.

“The Journey was designed to respond calls to action presented in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report. Specifically, the CSCNS developed this learning experience to support systemic change in the non-profit sector in Nova Scotia,” explains Mary Beth.

The Decolonizing Learning Journey is made up of four multi-part series, themed around topics of pre-contact and early history, indigenous rights, residential schools, murdered and missing indigenous women and girls, as well as two-eyed seeing. CBU’s Unama’ki College played a key role in design and delivery of the program.

“The level of engagement in the first series was five times greater than expected, and we would like to review the responses from participants to better understand how the CSCNS could build on this participation,” says Mary Beth. “One of the intended outcomes of this project is a resource kit for community organizations interested in taking actions that respond to the TRC.”

The mission of CSCNS is to bring non-profit and volunteer organizations together to meet the needs of all Nova Scotia communities and citizens. They encourage collaborations between non-profits, the government and private sectors to inspire change and build an inclusive, sustainable, healthy and prosperous province.

Ray MacNeil, CLARI Network Manager, says this project is a perfect example of community-engaged research that will have significant impact. “Cape Breton University faculty and students are supporting an important focus of the Community Sector Council with this research, as well as a national priority. CLARI funding is awarded to foster such collaborations, for the benefit of communities across Nova Scotia and beyond.”