Indigenous Leadership for Community Development

Indigenous Leadership for Community Development

Coady Institute is based in the traditional unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq people. It is one of the few educational organizations in Canada that has specific and focused niche programming for leadership and community development for Indigenous communities locally and globally. For 60 years, we have been engaging with emerging and established Indigenous leaders from across Canada and developing countries around the world.

Coady Institute promotes sustainable, practical and culturally respectful approaches to development practice. We engage Indigenous facilitators and program staff to lead this vital work and involve advisors, Mentors and Elders in program design and delivery. We invite key Indigenous leaders and experts to engage in dialogues with our participants, as well as the STFX and surrounding communities. Informed by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada and the establishment of the Sustainable Development Goals, our work supports and equips Indigenous leaders as they bring about the changes they want for themselves and their communities.


Indigenous Approach to Asset-based, Community-driven Development (IABCD): Principles, Methods & Tools for Practice

These workshops, open to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit participants residing in Canada, will provide an Indigenous approach to community-driven development and include the introduction of practical and straightforward community-building tools.

You will be able to bring these tools back to your community/organization and immediately implement them. The workshops will introduce you to IABCD principles, methods and tools for community-driven actions.

 For further information, click here.


Building Abundance in Indigenous Communities

(March 30 – April 27, 2021)
This program, open to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit participants residing in Canada, will introduce you to Indigenous principles and practices for community work that build on strengths and assets for action. Our goal is to provide you with community-building tools and methods to meet the needs of present-day Indigenous families, communities, and Nations. Read more about the Building Abundance in Indigenous Communities program.

Indigenous Women in Leadership

May 19 – June 30, 2021
Indigenous women traditionally held places of honour, respect, and leadership within their families and communities as our advisors and caretakers of life, lands, and resources. Indigenous women are natural leaders and decision-makers; keepers of knowledge, culture and language; protectors of land and water; activists and cycle-breakers. Indigenous women are reclaiming their rightful place as leaders. This course supports Indigenous women in revitalizing roles and responsibilities and reclaiming places of honour and respect as leaders within their communities and organizations. This course is grounded in relational practices and will guide you to identify and connect with cultural values, build upon your already trusted leadership capacities for community-led, community-driven development, and create spaces for social change. Read more about the Indigenous Women in Leadership program.

Indigenous Women in Community Leadership (IWCL)

An award-winning initiative offered since 2011, the Indigenous Women in Community Leadership (IWCL) Enhanced Mentorship program is for First Nations, Métis and Inuit women who are committed to supporting development and social change in their organizations, communities, and nations. The program is delivered using Coady’s innovative and blended approach to asset-based leadership development and prioritizes Indigenous knowledge and ways of learning and includes mentorship and community project development.

Click here for full course description.

Indigenous Women Leadership for Community Development Short Course

This short course is an introduction to leadership for Indigenous women and typically runs over five days. The course is offered in communities in partnership with previous graduates and/or Indigenous organizations rather than on-campus. The course is designed to build on Indigenous women’s strengths and experiences and contribute to building a network of leaders seeking to contribute to positive change in their communities. Content includes concepts such as self-empowerment, personal development, leadership skills, women’s experience of power, cultural history, and strategies for Indigenous community development.

A schedule of courses being offered for 2021 is currently in development. For further information, please contact

Projects and Partnerships

Further Education Society of Alberta – Going the Distance Project

Led by FESA, Coady provides support to this unique and innovative project that addresses the under-representation of Indigenous populations in the labor force by supporting businesses in the Tourism and Hospitality industry. The GD project helps develop a better understanding of workplace Literacy and Essential Skills (LES) needs and then design solutions to address these needs. Coady graduates are involved in the design and delivery of Asset-based Community Development workshops for Indigenous communities involved and other adult education supports as needed.

For more information, see:

Nobel Women’s Initiative – Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program

Coady Institute is pleased to partner with Nobel Women’s Initiative on their Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program. Each year the program brings five grassroots young women activists from around the world to Ottawa, Canada for six weeks of hands-on communications and advocacy training. The Sister-to-Sister Mentorship program has supported young women activists from Sudan, South Sudan, Liberia, Burma, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. These young women are at the forefront of movements to promote peace, justice and equality in their communities. Since 2016, Coady has provided support for a young Indigenous woman activist from a First Nations, Métis or Inuit community to participate in the program. Cohorts come to Coady for a one-week leadership workshop during the Program.

For more information, see:

Pembina Institute – Applying an energy-focused Asset Based Community Development framework in remote Indigenous communities

The Pembina Institute in partnership with the Coady Institute is engaging with selected remote Indigenous communities in Canada to develop and evaluate a new approach to community engagement that combines the internationally recognized Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) framework with community energy planning processes. The goal is a new hybrid framework for energy planning and economic development that identifies and mobilizes the often unrecognized strengths and assets in a remote Indigenous community. We will explore if this more advanced framework, with its roots in international development, can facilitate deeper connections and community engagement resulting in successful clean energy and diesel reduction projects. Coady graduates and their communities are involved in this project.

For more information, see:


Indigenous Women in Community Leadership Alumnae Gathering (November 2019)

Nearly a decade after the program first began, IWCL graduates continue to make a significant impact in communities across Canada as leaders of social change. For the first time ever, 100+ Indigenous women – graduates of Coady’s IWCL program, their mentors, Elders, and invited guests – came together for a transformative 4-day Alumni Gathering on the campus of St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, in Mi’kma’ki, the unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq people.

For further information, see:

Celebrating National Indigenous People’s Day

Celebrating National Indigenous People’s Day

Today, June 21, is the summer solstice and the 25th National Indigenous Peoples Day, a day for all Canadians on Turtle Island to recognize and celebrate the culture, heritage, and contributions of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples just as Indigenous peoples have for generations. Read more…

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