Community Classroom

Bringing Indigenous knowledge into the classroom

Shq'apthut's three totems

Introducing the Totem podcast

Elodie Button supports faculty at Vancouver Island University who are interested in bringing more Indigenous knowledge into their classrooms.

Elodie is a Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Specialist with Vancouver Island University’s Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning. She spoke with Totem podcast host Hayden Taylor about her work.

She shares her perspective as a non-Indigenous person who is trying to lean into Truth and Reconciliation. She is exploring the creation of communities of care where it’s okay to make mistakes and heal from those mistakes together.

Listen to the full episode:



Introducing the Totem podcast

 VIU, EleV and Mastercard Foundation logos side by side

About the host Hayden Taylor

Hayden Kenneth Taylor is a dedicated educator, proud member of the Haisla Nation from Kitamaat Village and a father of two beautiful children. With a deep-rooted passion for Indigenous culture and education, Hayden is actively involved in promoting understanding, healing and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

As a lifelong learner, Hayden holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science degree from Quest University Canada, a Bachelor of Education degree from Vancouver Island University, and is currently pursuing a Master of Education in Educational Leadership at VIU. Through his academic journey, Hayden has received numerous accolades, including the prestigious BC Graduate Scholarship Award and The Indigenous Scholars Award (through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council), for his research in Indigenous education, culture and curriculum.

Hayden’s commitment to his community and culture is evident in his involvement in the 'su'luqw'a' Community Cousins, an Indigenous mentorship program at VIU. He has spoken at conferences focused on Indigenous education and culture. Hayden recently accepted an instructor role in the Faculty of Education at Vancouver Island University.

As the host of Totem, Hayden provides a platform for meaningful dialogue and exploration of the connections between Indigenous culture and contemporary society. Through captivating interviews with Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals, the podcast aims to shed light on projects, research and initiatives that incorporate Indigenous culture and address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action.

Join Hayden Kenneth Taylor in his journey of discovery as he delves into the rich world of Indigenous culture, sharing stories, knowledge and experiences to foster understanding and bridge the gap between communities. This is the Totem podcast, where culture meets contemporary initiatives.

Totem podcast

Totem is a space for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to share their experiences, perspectives and knowledge about incorporating Indigenous culture and addressing the TRC's Calls to Action. The podcast will help promote understanding and dialogue between communities, contribute to the reconciliation process and provide a platform for building stronger relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

In addition to exploring the topics outlined in each episode, Totem aims to provide actionable insights for listeners. Through the interviews and discussions, we will highlight examples of projects, initiatives and actions that listeners can take in their personal and professional lives to incorporate Indigenous culture and address the TRC's Calls to Action. By showcasing a range of examples, we hope to demonstrate that action can take many forms, and it can be simple and easy to start. Ultimately, our goal is to inspire and empower listeners to take action towards reconciliation and to deepen their understanding of Indigenous culture and history.

Why Totem?

The the word “totem” has significant cultural and symbolic meaning for Indigenous communities across North America. Totems are symbols of a clan, family or community and often represent a connection to a particular animal or natural element. In Indigenous culture, totems can be used to tell stories, share history and heritage, and transmit cultural knowledge from one generation to the next.

I chose the name “Totem” to represent the connection and relationship between Indigenous culture and contemporary society. Through the podcast, we aim to explore the ways in which Indigenous culture can be incorporated into contemporary initiatives, projects and research to promote understanding, healing and reconciliation. By using the word “totem” in the title, we hope to pay tribute to the importance of Indigenous culture and highlight the potential for meaningful connections between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.


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