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Indigenous Community Engagement Methods

Updated: 4 days ago

When working with Indigenous Communities, it is vital to identify the most appropriate engagement methods that will yield the best results.

Every Indigenous Community is different and depending on the current social, economic and political landscape, your engagement methods will align with those factors.

For example, trying to coordinate a community meeting during hunting season may be difficult because turnout will be low (everyone is hunting). This will have a huge impact on community meetings, turnout and ultimately, responses.

It will be important to pre plan your Indigenous Community Engagement with all potential partners including Band Staff, Administration, Band Managers and Chief and Council.

At the end of the day you will have to find out the best time to engage in addition to choosing the best engagement method for that community.

However, all things being equal there are common Indigenous Community Engagement methods that can be very effective.

At CIPS, we have over 50 years combined experience in the Indigenous Community Engagement Field and will share some of our most common community engagement methods in this article.

Community Meetings

The face to face nature at these events provides a great opportunity to demonstrate openness and transparency to community members and stakeholders.

Focus Groups

Focus Groups encourages discussion and work well when reaching out to smaller groups.


Surveys or questionnaires often ask yes/no or scaled questions in order to identify community opinion. They are useful for mass outreach.

Web-Based Management

Online public participation is a useful way to reach and engage with many stakeholders. Reaching out using online communications can include using social media, web or cloud-based survey systems, and online discussion platforms.

It is very important to remember to ask the right questions! Remember:

Great Questions + Genuine Curiousity + High Expectations + Diverse Community = Healthier Conversations & Smarter, Enduring Solutions

Here are 3 tips for successful Community Indigenous Engagement.

Tip #1: Start the conversation early. Call the Band Office or Administration and start a dialogue. Find out important dates such as community holidays, feasts, pow-wows, hunting season and other important upcoming events. This way you know which dates are potentially available for community engagement sessions.

Each First Nation has their own protocols. Find out what you need to be doing to get off on the right foot.

Tip #2: Listen to what community members have to say. Less talk and more listening is the golden rule in First Nations communities. Allow all community members have their say without interrupting or attempting to correct.

Once all members, staff and administration have had a chance to voice their opinions, questions or concerns you may feel free to speak and help guide the conversation.

Tip #3: Use appropriate communication tactics. Remember, you are there to help guide the conversation. Keep on target without getting off track. Keep your tone calm and steady. Never talk down to or try and correct Chief and Council, community members or staff. When explaining technical terminology, follow the guidelines in this article:

Stay away from acronyms. Use full descriptions so that everyone understands.

How we can help

Does your organization or business need help with Indigenous Engagement and Awareness?

CIPS has over 50 years combined experience in the Indigenous Awareness and Engagement field with proven techniques and methods.

To find out more, please call us at: (705) 657-1126 or email at To chat directly with our CEO, Mike Jacobs via Zoom, please book an appointment for a consultation at:

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