ayisiyiniwak: A Communications Guide
ayisiyiniwak [a/yi/see/ni/wak, Cree for ‘the people’]: A Communications Guide” (ayisiyiniwak) is part of the City’s commitment to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada’s Call to Action #57, which specifically calls upon governments to: “provide education to public servants on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal-Crown relations.”
Originally developed in 2017 as an educational resource for City employees to enhance their understanding of Indigenous culture and practices, copies of the guide have since been requested by organizations across Canada including government agencies, other municipalities, educational institutions and community groups.
ayisiyiniwak was developed in partnership with the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre and the Office of the Treaty Commissioner who provided valuable information on First Nation meeting etiquette, protocols and ceremonial traditions.
The second edition of ayisiyiniwak was released in August 2019 and includes the following updates:
- a chapter devoted to Métis culture and local history
- a new Inuit chapter
- updated Cree translations (including the title) as reviewed by nêhiyawak or Cree speaking linguists
- new sections within the First Nations chapter including 60’s Scoop, Elder’s Helper, Syllabics, Flag Etiquette, Anthems/Honour Songs, The Grand Entry, Blanketing and Two-Spirit People
- several new terms and suggested resources
While information presented in ayisiyiniwak is unique to Treaty 6 Territory and Homeland of the Métis, it does provide some basic understandings of Indigenous culture and history that is applicable to other jurisdictions. In all cases, it is advised to consult local Elders to determine what is appropriate in other parts of Canada.
ayisiyiniwak is presented as an adaptive and living document that will continue to develop as our relationships and understanding grows.
Hard copies of ayisiyiniwak can be purchased from SICC’s Online Store.
NOTE: This publication is the work of the City of Saskatoon, SICC and OTC and any part or all of this work may be used free of charge by any non-profit or educational group for use as a communication guide or for an educational purpose so long as the work is not being sold and the appropriate crediting is given.