March 18, 2020

Honoring Unique Cultural Perspectives, with Melissa Blimkie

Episode 37:

Melissa currently works in organizational development in the private industry, focusing on building and sustaining diverse and inclusive workplace environments. Prior to her organizational development work, Melissa was a contract lecturer and researcher at York University, Queens University, and the Ontario Technical University in Canada. At York University, she was involved in developing and implementing the First Nation, Métis, and Inuit Infusion in the Mainstream Teacher Education Program from 2008 to 2016. Research on the successes and challenges of this work has been published in several Canadian Education Journals. In December 2018, she defended her Ph.D. in Language, Culture, and Teaching in the Faculty of Education at York University in Toronto, Canada. Melissa is a member of the Algonquins of Greater Golden Lake First Nation from the Kichi Sibi (Ottawa) Valley in Ontario, Canada. She is an auntie to eight four-legged creatures, including 3 Newfoundland dogs, 1 rescue hound, and 4 cats.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How three key familial experiences in Melissa’s life drove her to work as a diversity and inclusion practitioner
  • How Melissa’s experiences as a member of Canada’s Indigenous population have given her a unique perspective into the work she does
  • How Melissa explored her heritage through a diverse group of Indigenous teachers from across Canada
  • Why accepting the differences between groups of First People rather than putting all Indigenous populations into the same category is key
  • Melissa explains the concept of and communication power of a Talking Circle and its origins with Indigenous people
  • Melissa describes a widespread protest across Canada sparked by the construction of oil pipelines crossing the land of Indigenous people
  • Why learning the history and culture of a group is the ideal starting place for opening a dialogue and creating better understanding and inclusion
  • Why a passion for learning new things has been a key skill that Melissa has relied on throughout her career

Additional resources: