We Are All That Is Possible: Indigenous Principles and Perspectives of Disability & Belonging with Joanne Mills

Join us virtually on Wednesday, December 7th, 2022 from 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm (PST), for “We Are All That Is Possible: Indigenous Principles and Perspectives of Disability & Belonging” with Joanne Mills, Vice President of Quality Services & Indigenous Relations at Community Living British Columbia. Joanne Mills is a proud Cree woman from Ochekwi-Sipi Fisher River Cree Nation, a signatory to Treaty 5 in Manitoba. She’s been a force of change and purpose for Indigenous peoples who have for too long been marginalized and labeled as living with developmental disabilities. In this fourth session of the Indigenous Speaker Series, we will have an opportunity to better inform our sensibilities and perceptions about Indigenous peoples who are both challenged with, and gifted with, developmental disabilities.

We Are All That Is Possible: Indigenous Principles and Perspectives of Disability & Belonging with Joanne Mills

Join us virtually on Wednesday, December 7th, 2022 from 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm (PST), for “We Are All That Is Possible: Indigenous Principles and Perspectives of Disability & Belonging” with Joanne Mills. This virtual event is presented by the Indigenous Speakers Series

Joanne Mills, Vice President of Quality Services & Indigenous Relations at Community Living British Columbia (Bio)

Joanne Mills is a proud Cree woman from Ochekwi-Sipi Fisher River Cree Nation, a signatory to Treaty 5 in Manitoba. Through marriage, she is deeply connected to the Haida Gwaii, and is a member of the Ḵ’uuna Llnagaay – Skedans Raven Clan. She is a mother of three beautiful children including an adult daughter living with a disability, and is a grandmother of two.


Joanne is the Vice President of Quality Services & Indigenous Relations at Community Living British Columbia, and has singlehandedly made transformative changes in how CLBC better responds to First Nations and Indigenous communities. She has created a new Indigenous Relations Team that will help advance the goals in the CLBC Strategic Plan, and in the 2022/23 CLBC Service Plan to build trusting relationships with First Nations and Indigenous communities, and to improve the awareness of available supports and services by increasing CLBC staff understanding about First Nations and Indigenous history and culture.


Joanne believes that she is “very privileged to be chosen for this important work and I feel that my life’s journey has prepared me to support our most precious people, and I look forward to working in partnership with First Nations and Indigenous communities to build a meaningful, culturally relevant model of care, and to collaborate with the CLBC Leadership Team to bring to life our collective vision of – Lives filled with possibilities in welcoming communities.”

Moderator

  • Derek K Thompson – Thlaapkiituup, Indigenous Advisor

Description 

Who we are and where we come from is a common thread of Indigenous – First Nations, Inuit, Métis – pride and belonging in our communities. In our communities we believe that each human being has a life force, a spirit, a soul, and a singular purpose, and that we must respect the spirit in all others. When a family is blessed with the birth of a new member, we gather, we share a feast, and pass the baby around. We sing ceremonial songs to make the baby precious, and usually the newborn is given an ancestral baby name. We greet babies as though we have always known them and speak good words of encouragement to them. We make every effort to uphold and cherish all children because as we grow into adults that sense of belonging and purpose is signaling that he or she is important and precious to the family and community.


We must reflect on, and challenge, the kinds of images that come to mind when we think about people living with developmental disabilities from a western perspective and construct, which is typically deficit-based. It’s important that such reflection address how the oppression, assimilation and racism against Indigenous peoples in Canada correlates to the experiences we see today in supporting Indigenous people and families with developmental disabilities. Taking an ahistorical approach to supporting our families and communities in this context is no longer tolerable.


There is an urgent need to create a meaningful dialogue about our understanding of Indigenous people living with developmental disabilities. There is an equal urgency to figure out how to better support First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, families and communities with the necessary resources to ensure a confidence of independence, care and belonging for those challenged with disabilities.


Joanne Mills is the right person for the right time to reflect on the principles and perspectives of disability and belonging. She’s been a force of change and purpose for Indigenous peoples who have for too long been marginalized and labeled as living with developmental disabilities. This important and timely conversation will provide an opportunity for us to better inform our sensibilities and perceptions about Indigenous peoples who are both challenged with, and gifted with, developmental disabilities.


Topic: We Are All That Is Possible: Indigenous Principles and Perspectives of Disability & Belonging with Joanne Mills

Date: Wednesday, December 7th, 2022

Time: 12:00 – 1:30 pm PST


What Will I Learn?

You will learn about Indigenous principles and perspectives of disability and belonging.


Continue Learning

“The time to make things happen is now. The time to seek out our individual and shared power is now.”

Learn more about REDI’s Indigenous Initiatives here

Discover more about REDI’s Indigenous Speakers Series here

Find REDI’s Indigenous-Specific Resources here