Ethics and protocol need to be learned because this has not been done in the past, which has hindered, and sometimes harmed, relationships and trust.
It is essential to understand that there is no universal definition of ethics or protocol for Indigenous peoples. There is uniqueness within First Nation, Métis, and Inuit cultures, and also within individual communities. Process and protocols for relationship vary from region to region.
It is important to approach ethics and protocol from the stance of a learner and not make assumptions: to ask, to watch, to listen, and to take a responsibility for your role in the learning process. It is an opportunity to learn from diverse responses – even within communities.
Above all, intention is paramount.
To learn about ethics and protocol it is necessary to identify the realities of place and space to define strengths and challenges, and to identify the resources to support the process. Resources may include helpers and buffers, leads and councils.