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Conflict is the opportunity for positive change. It is in fact the only opportunity. The alternative is status quo. Change is inevitable and since change always impacts status quo, thus creating conflict, we always have the opportunity for a positive change.–M. Kalani Souza
In the wake of the 2020 deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, many companies, organizations, and individuals began messaging more support for diversity, equity, and inclusion. The socio-emotional climate was raw and the need to make meaningful advancements towards social equity became ever more pressing. But questions arose.
How do we translate a desire for social equity into real and lasting positive change?
How do we start this process?
Where do we begin?
The Practice of Positive Change: An Indigenous Approach (PPCIA) to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) is a virtual lecture series that aims to answer these questions. It is based on a framework developed by Kapi`olani A. Laronal, MA, Indigenous Life Coach & Consultant, and includes conversations with guest speakers with Indigenous heritage.
Who is the PPCIA audience?
The PPCIA program is for individuals, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit companies (that means everyone!) who want to support and encourage Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) of Indigenous, Black and Communities of Color within their own organizational/communal practices and structures, and don’t know how to get started or want to learn how to be more effective.
What can you expect to learn from PPCIA?
PPCIA is an introduction to a long process of relationship building in our communities. It offers an approach, a toolkit, for allies and advocates to better understand others in their communities, and also themselves in relation to others and society. It does not offer a quick fix to systemic inequities but will guide you to greater awareness and a path, if you choose to take it, of how to approach the making of positive change in your communities.
What is the PPCIA format?
The PPCIA summer series was offered in a virtual setting using Zoom technology. We met for two hours each week in two groups, one on Tuesdays and one on Thursdays. In each meeting, Kapi`olani shared ideas and materials. Participants were organized into small working groups and on most occasions had the opportunity for break out sessions during which they discussed how to develop and implement ideas for DEI initiatives. Each session included a guest speaker who presented their work and their particular Indigenous perspectives to DEI and positive social change.
With the approval of our guest speakers, we share videos of their interviews here and the materials we shared with participants. Our group of speakers represent First Nations, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Native American and Alaskan Native communities.
Practice of Positive Change: An Indigenous Approach Toolkit
Summer Session 2020, videos and materials
Video recordings and class materials for most of the series are offered here for those who could not attend all or some of the sessions, and for your easy reference. Click on each image to watch the recording.
Session #1, June 25, 2020
Introduction to the Practice of Positive Change: An Indigenous Approach
to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Toolkit
With Kapi`olani A. Laronal, MA
Kanaka Maoli/Filipino/Haida & Tsimsian
Independent Consultant – Indigenous Life
Leadership & Higher Education (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
Kapi`olani introduces her PPCIA framework in the video below.
Session #2, July 2, 2020
Supporting First Peoples and Positioning Ourselves as Strong Advocates
with guest speaker Angela Fernandez, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Session #3, July 7, 2020
Oha: Nourishing the Future, Protecting the Sacred
with guest speaker Puanani Apoliona-Brown
Goal-Setting Supplemental Handout #3:
Bringing it Together: Core Values & Mission and Guiding Group
Goals & Objectives
Session #4, July 14, 2020
Through the Lens of an Indigenous Activist
with Polimana Joshevama
Hopi, Sun Clan
BA, Environmental Studies
Dartmouth Sustainability Office
Assessment Handout #4
Listening & Observation
Session #4, July 16, 2020
Federal Indian Law: Using the Master’s Tools to Rebuild Our Communities
with Emily Harwell
Mvskoke Creek/From Sac & Fox Nation
J.D. Candidate, Cornell Law
Law Clerk at Native American Rights Fund
(See handout #4 above.)
Session #5, July 21, 2020
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Checks and Challenges
with Dr. Thomas Easley
Yale University, Dean of Diversity & Inclusion,
School of Forestry & Environmental Sciences
Session #5, July 23, 2020
Untangling Roots, Working for Seed Sovereignty & Rematriation of the Native Seed / SEARCH Collection
with Noah Schlager, MESc
(See handouts #5 above.)
Session #6, July 30, 2020
Putting Diversity into Action: How Leaders Can Practice Inclusivity
with Rosita Leilani Castellano
Kanaka Maoli/Filipino/Haida & Tsimsian
Assistant Principal, Perry G. Keithley Middle School
We gratefully acknowledge and thank our guest speakers for contributing their stories, wisdom, and knowledge to this series:
Angela Fernandez, PhD (Menominee/Mexican)
Shanondora Billiot, PhD (Houma)
Rosita Leilani Laronal, MAEd (Native Hawaiian, Haida (Eagle)/Tsimshian)
Sui-Lan Ho’okano, BA (Native Hawaiian/Taino)
Emily Harwell, BA & Current Student Cornell Law (Mvskoke Creek)
Polimana Joshevama (Hopi Sun Clan)
Noah Schlager, MESc (Poarch Creek)
Thomas Easley, PhD (Seminole/Black/Poarch Creek)
Puanani Apoliona-Brown, BA (Kanaka Maoli)
We gratefully acknowledge and thank our participants, listed below, who generously shared their time with us on Tuesdays or Thursdays for six weeks. Among these listed are others, individuals who are seeking to become more effective allies and advocates of Peoples of Color.
- Native Seeds/SEARCH, AZ
- The Land Connection, IL
- Wild Earth, NY
- UW-Madison Mutual Aid Garden
- Cornell University, NY
- University of New Hampshire, NH
- Pine View Angus Farm, IA
- Leap, Inc., NYC
- Open Door Community Health Centers, CA
- The Ecology Center, CA
- Earthly Edibles Family Farm, CA
- Cooper Center for Environmental Learning, AZ
- The Acera School, MA
The Practice of Positive Change: An Indigenous Approach is a virtual lecture series developed by Kapi`olani A. Laronal, M.A., Indigenous Life Coach & Consultant and board member of the Olohana Foundation, in partnership with Claire Pavlik Purgus, Olohana’s associate director, and Sophie Mendelson, MS Agricultural Education & Agroforestry. The summer series ran from June 25, 2020 – July 30, 2020.
If you are interested in learning how the PPCIA framework can help your organization with their DEI objectives, please contact Kapi`olani through her Indigenous Life Coach Facebook page.