Our partnerships with First Nation communities are built on authentic engagement to advance financial inclusion and participation. We listen, learn, then tailor solutions that address needs.
We received requests from community partners and members for Indigenous-focused financial literacy resources that honour a different definition of wealth, recognize the systemic challenges, and celebrate Indigenous resilience.
Vancity’s Wealth Mindset: Indigenous Financial Resilience workshop was developed with Indigenous peoples to ensure that the content is culturally relevant and that the curriculum is taught from an Indigenous perspective. The free workshop increases financial confidence by teaching basic banking and budgeting skills.
Wealth Mindset is an action in Vancity’s commitment to Reconciliation. The financial resilience workshop was developed with Elders, our Indigenous colleagues, and in consultation with Called to Action Collaborative.
“Wealth Mindset is unique because it connects participants to their history and their cultural values – nobody else is doing anything similar,” adds Michelle Laviolette, Director of Indigenous Banking Strategy. “When we innovate and deliver authentically through an Indigenous lens, our impact goes beyond the workshop participants.”
Unique to the curriculum is the Circle Module. The module is foundational and delves into important topics, such as the First Peoples’ concepts of wealth and economy, multi-generational impacts of colonialism, as well as Indigenous economic resurgence.
Having Indigenous facilitators and an Elder at each workshop is crucial in creating a safe space to connect with the participants, to meet them where they are at, and to start their journey.
“As facilitators, it is our stories, our truths and our storytelling that is key in delivering these workshops,” explains Jen Turner, Community Investment Associate. “During the Circle Module, we decolonize and define our own meaning of ‘wealth’. Indigenous people are rich with our culture and traditions, with our families and values, and with our connection to Mother Earth,” Jen adds.
With an Indigenous lens, participants uncover that wealth is being rich with an abundance of the things that they value most.
Vancity has partnered with Stó:lo Nation and Metis Nation BC to deliver the Wealth Mindset financial workshops by trained facilitators. In the same way Vancity developed Each One, Teach One, Wealth Mindset is designed so facilitator training can be extended to community partner organizations.
“I’ve seen the impact that Wealth Mindset has had on our facilitators, Elders and participants. It is poignant and empowering. The feedback we have received is very moving,” says Michelle.
Values are passed down intergenerationally. It’s why the workshop guides each participant to discover their personal values, to use them as a guide for their financial decisions, and to create a positive relationship with their money and finances.
Christie Sparklingeyes, Indigenous Recruiter, experienced firsthand that Wealth Mindset isn’t just a financial literacy course, “It was very emotional,” she says. While uncovering her values and what wealth means to her, she reflected on her first memories of money and shifted away from the negative feelings that they carry.
Now a trained facilitator, Christie hopes she can help others get just as much out of the program. “If we can share these teachings with 10, 100 or 1,000 more people, imagine the ripple effect we can create,” she says. “It could be felt for generations.”
For Michelle Laviolette, “The dream would be to have the Wealth Mindset teachings pass to future generations through today’s participants.”
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