The Path - Indigenous Cultural Awareness Course



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The Path: Your Journey through Indigenous Canada has been updated and improved with more interactive modules and additional content.

This 6-module program sets out to demystify some of the legal issues surrounding the Canadian Constitution, the Indian Act, historical and modern treaties, recent rulings by the Supreme Court of Canada and what they mean in practical terms. The final module includes information on Canada’s incarceration statistics, understanding and applying Gladue principles, an overview of Canada’s existing Indigenous Courts, and an exploration of alternative justice systems.


List of Modules:


Topic 1: Indians, Inuit and Métis  

Your journey begins with an exploration of what the Canadian Constitution calls the ‘Aboriginal people of Canada', and a review of why and how First Nations, Inuit, and Métis are distinct. Upon completion of this lesson, you will be able to: 

  • Identify the three Indigenous groups named in Canada’s Constitution Act, 1982
  • Define terms such as ‘First Nations’, ‘Aboriginal’, and ‘Indigenous’, and know when to use specific terms.
  • Understand why it is important to recognize and affirm the diversity of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis in Canada


We will debunk some of the most egregious of these stereotypes and misconceptions and encourage you to counter them. Upon completion of this lesson, you will be able to: 

  • Explain common and enduring stereotypes about First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada.  
  • Summarize the history and use of the various terms used to describe Indigenous peoples.
  • Understand what those words mean today and knowing which terms to use in various situations. 

Lesson 1: Land Acknowledgements

What is a land acknowledgement, why are they done and how should they be used? In this lesson you will learn about the meaning and importance of land acknowledgements. Upon completion of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Understand the origin of land acknowledgements in Canada and explain their importance.
  • Understand that land acknowledgements are a First Nations convention.
  • Describe whose land you live and work on.
  • Make your statement meaningful, and not performative.

Lesson 2: Origin Stories

Stories are integral to Indigenous culture; they shape our societies. You will learn about the importance of storytelling, with examples from across the land now called Canada.  Upon completion of this lesson, you will be able to: 

  • Understand the importance of storytelling to Indigenous peoples.
  • Provide examples of First Nations stories, laws, societies, and cultures that have existed here ‘since time immemorial’.
  • Locate on a map, some of the nations that existed here prior to European contact.

Lesson 3: Inuit across the North

For many Canadians ‘Indigenous’ cultural awareness refers to ‘First Nations’ and sometimes ‘Métis’, with little or no awareness of Inuit. This Lesson will introduce you to pre-contact Inuit culture, review the major milestones that have impacted Inuit since the arrival of Europeans, and describe how each unique Inuit region came to be shaped and defined through the land claim process.  Upon completion of this Lesson, you will be able to: 

  • Describe major milestones in Inuit history.
  • Understand the nature and basis for Inuit land claims across the North.
  • Summarize the history and defining moments in the creation of the modern Nunavut, Nunavik, Nunatsiavut, and the Inuvialuit regions.

Lesson 1: From the Arrival of Strangers 

The first Europeans to arrive on these shores were looking for a shortcut to Asia. They did not find one; but once they saw the vast natural wealth, they were keen to exploit this “new” world, having an enduring and disastrous impact on Indigenous peoples. Upon completion of this Lesson, you will be able to: 

  • Describe the perspectives of First Nations and Europeans upon first contact.
  • Link the establishment of the fur trade with the emergence of the Métis Nation in Canada.
  • Describe Peace and Friendship Treaties.
  • Summarize the importance of the Royal Proclamation of 1763.

Lesson 2: Denial of Rights from 1763 to the Dominion of Canada

While the Royal Proclamation acknowledged that there was such a thing as ‘Indian land;’ the relationship between the British Crown, European settlers and First Nations and Métis peoples began to unravel in the 19th century. Upon completion of this Lesson, you will be able to: 

  • Explain why and how the British Crown paid restitution to British loyalists after the American Revolution and the War of 1812.
  • Describe the historical and legal nature of a treaty.
  • Summarize the Upper Canada Land Surrenders, the Douglas Treaties, and the Robinson treaties. 

Lesson 3: Colonization since Confederation - Numbered Treaties

The new Dominion of Canada was keen to build a railroad across the country and ‘open the West’ for agriculture, resource development and settlement.  They first needed to purchase Rupert’s Land from the Hudson’s Bay Company, then enter treaties with First Nations. Upon completion of this Lesson, you will be able to: 

  • Describe the sale of Rupert’s Land.
  • Summarize the numbered treaty process after 1870.
  • Recognize the differences between how Canada saw these treaties, and how the First Nations saw these treaties.

Lesson 4: Colonization since Confederation - Other Defining Moments

When the Dominion of Canada was created by the British North America Act in 1867, the new government introduced laws, policies and processes that devastated Indigenous peoples. Upon completion of this Lesson, you will be able to: 

  • Describe the history, background, and scope of the Indian Act.
  • Summarize the legacy and long-term impacts of Residential Schools.
  • Describe the failed Northwest Half-breed Commission and Métis scrip.
  • Describe the events and impact of forced Inuit relocations.
  • Recognize the individual and social impact of the “Sixties Scoop”.
  • Summarize the circumstances and historical events that led to the Oka Crisis.

Leason 1: We Reap What We Sow 

In this lesson, you will explore how the past informs the present; the consequences of colonial laws and policies on Indigenous peoples; why Indigenous peoples continue to lag behind on all indicators of health and community wellbeing; and the ever-present reality of racism in Canada today. Upon completion of this Lesson, you will be able to:

  • Describe the connection between colonial policies and health inequities for Indigenous peoples today.
  • Explain the lack of progress in reducing the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in community wellbeing.
  • List examples of racism in Canada’s health system.

Leasson 2: The City is Home

This Lesson discusses the realities faced by First Nations, Inuit and Métis who live in urban settings; how they remain connected to culture, language, and land; and the importance of the Friendship Centre movement for connection, support and program and service delivery. Upon completion of this Lesson, you will be able to:

  • Describe some key reasons why Indigenous peoples move into urban centres.
  • Explain the challenges faced by Indigenous peoples in urban centres.
  • Summarize the establishment of the Friendship Centre movement and the role that Friendship Centres play in supporting Indigenous peoples in cities and towns across Canada.

Lesson 1: Worldviews and Cultural Values

This topic discusses some of the cultural values and traditions of Canada’s Indigenous peoples and describes how these shape Indigenous perspectives and views of contemporary Canadian society. Upon completion of this Lesson, you will be able to: 

  • Recognize some distinctive cultural values and traditional beliefs of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Canada.
  • Describe the ways in which cultural and traditional beliefs about the land, kinship systems, culture, language, and ways of knowing continue to shape Indigenous perspectives.

Lesson 2: Increasing Your Engagement IQ

This Lesson provides some suggestions on how to work and communicate with Indigenous colleagues and partners and strengthen your relationships with Indigenous peoples. Upon completion of this Lesson, you will be able to: 

  • Describe protocols for working with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and Elders.
  • Describe some common verbal and non-verbal styles of communication among First Nations, Inuit and Métis.
  • Explain ways in which embracing cultural differences can lead to successful partnerships and business practices.
  • Describe some First Nations, Inuit and Métis cultural symbols and elements.

Lesson 3: Indigenous Peoples and the Criminal Legal System

This lesson is exclusive to the CBA, created with a grant from the Department of Justice Canada. It examines the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in the criminal legal system and Gladue principles as they relate to addressing this issue. Upon completion of this Lesson, you will be able to: 

  • Recognize why there is an overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in the criminal legal system in Canada.
  • Understand how Canada’s legal system has addressed this issue to date.
  • Identify the Gladue-related cases and how Gladue came to be.
  • Recognize the existing Indigenous Courts and identify alternative justice systems.

Lesson 1: Rights and Resurgence

This Lesson discusses the growing assertion of Aboriginal and Indigenous rights, including the Federal government’s White Paper of 1969, the creation of modern treaties, the emergence of movements like Idle No More, recent Supreme Court of Canada cases, the growth of self-government, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  Upon completion of this Lesson, you will be able to: 

Describe the importance of the “White Paper” of 1969 in the resurgence of the modern Indigenous rights movement.

  • Understand how modern treaties differ from historic treaties.
  • Identify the major Supreme Court rulings regarding Aboriginal Title, the Duty to Consult and Accommodate, and Métis rights.
  • Discuss the significance of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • List and summarize the roles of the major Indigenous political organizations in Canada.

Lesson 2: The Path Forward

In this final Lesson, you will learn what true reconciliation can look like, and about First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, communities, and governments leading efforts in different sectors. Upon completion of this Lesson, you will be able to: 

  • Describe some movement and advancements regarding Truth and Reconciliation.
  • Summarize these key reports, and speak to their relevance to Canadians on the path of Truth and Reconciliation.
  • Royal Commission on Aboriginal People reports.
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission reports.
  • Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls reports.
  • Describe and provide an example of ‘two-eyed seeing’ as a way to consider reconciliation.
  • Understand the personal and societal need for Indigenous cultural awareness.

Accreditation Information

Find a list of CPD hours by province. The programs includes 6 modules and will take up to seven hours to complete.

Registration Information

CBA Member Fee: $95 plus tax

Non-Member Fee: $195 plus tax

Please contact us to request group rates.

This program is on-demand and can be done at the registrant's own pace. Upon completion of the program, a certificate can be downloaded.

The Path was created by a majority Indigenous-owned company and has been developed with First Nations, Inuit and Métis advisors and reviewers. It has also been vetted by an Indigenous lawyer for accuracy related to legal references.