Social assistance and related programs are an important part of life in the 13 Mi’kmaq communities of Nova Scotia. Given the substantive importance of social assistance and related programs in Mi’kmaq communities, it is surprising how little research has been conducted on the subject. This research aims to understand the origins of economic dependence and the related emergence of social assistance among the Mi’kmaq in Nova Scotia. We identify key historical periods and processes that have shaped the current policy landscape. A defining characteristic of social policy on reserve has been the fact that First Nations themselves have had very little say in how programs such as social assistance are designed and delivered. There is hope that a more self-determined and holistic approach may emerge.
The San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training Program is an Indigenous-led, policy-driven, and systems-level educational intervention to foster health equity and mitigate the effects of systemic racism experienced by Indigenous people in health and other sectors. Currently, San’yas is being scaled-up across Canada. This article focuses on the following: (a) the pedagogical underpinnings of San’yas grounded in transformational learning principles and Indigenous knowledges; (b) the scope, reach, and scale-up of San’yas as an explicit anti-racism educational intervention; (c) its unique program delivery approaches; and (d) program evaluation trends. We discuss the insights gained from implementing San’yas over the past decade, which will be relevant for leaders and policy-makers concerned with implementing anti-racism educational interventions as part of broader system transformation.
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