The InterNātional Initiative for Transformative Collaboration / Stories and Songs of the People - Since its inception in 1999 through the present the ‘Stories and Songs of the People’ mission, in simplicity, is to help create a space that engenders and allows for InterNational participation in the sharing and exchange of knowledge, experiences, cultural practice and cultural expression. Each succeeding event, whether a conference, festival, seminar, presentation or research project has been a unique opportunity to embed this process within a larger global framework, defining space for conversations and collaborative efforts with First Nations, educational institutions, NGO’s, community organizations and wider community members.
Along the way these events have encompassed an ever-widening cultural and educational exchange of complex cultural ‘methodologies.’ These methods share a collective intent; recognizing diversity as central to how we define what it means ‘to be a human being’ and widening our perspectives to understand the myriad of ways we define our relationship to environment, both traditionally and contemporary. Some key components for ‘Stories and Songs of the People’ have also included:
- InterNātional First Nations collaborations;
- International collaborations;
- Wider community collaborations;
- Cultural Presentations and Cultural Ways of Expression;
- Identified appropriate methodologies for facilitating presentations and forums;
- The Sharing and strengthening of Cultural Knowledge and Cultural Practice
- Creation of platforms that invite wider community involvement, participation and discussion;
- Intercultural and Interfaith activities and exchange
- The recognition of Trauma (Inter-generational, generational and inter-cultural); and,
- A shared understanding for ideas for exploring and achieving Cultural Safety
The “Stories and Songs of the People” project is unique in that the primary purpose is not solely of a commercial nature, but rather developed as a framework for Inter-national sharing for our collective capacity building. The primary goal is to help Identify, recognize and employ cultural strengths in practice for the myriad of issues common to both First Nations and non-First-Nations Peoples - locally, regionally, nationally and inter-Nationally. From a shared First Nations cultural platform, Stories and Songs of the People have engendered this participation while exploring commonalities in practice through an array of platforms. These have included areas of Law, Governance and environment; Society and Resource Management; Education; Research Projects; and other Events
INITC also recognizes that there is a growing recognition amongst institutions, organizations and wider community members that language adapts to encompass wider perspective and greater understanding. Euro-centric ideas of classification such as ‘Aboriginal’ or ‘American Indian’ / ‘Red Indians’ are disingenuous, an historical perspective that amalgamates First Nations Peoples to an inequitable position perpetuating ideas and perspectives that have historically marginalized First Nations Knowledge, Cultural and Spiritual practices.
INITC proposes transformation through the recognition of emotional, mental, physical and spiritual change, critical to genuine collaboration. As a co-defined First Nations format and process for sharing cultural perspectives and practice, an underlying notion is the recognition that we all come from many Nations, sovereign in their own right. Thus, the product of our collective and collaborative efforts may be described as InterNātional. (Pronounced InterNātional)