Prince Rupert, BC – Coast Mountain College business administration instructor and coordinator Dave McKeever incorporated a “Whole Person” Indigenous perspective into his recent Recruitment and Selection course curriculum, in partnership with Duane Jackson, Indigenous Relations Associate for the Prince Rupert Port Authority.
Jackson’s teaching, titled Tauhx Gadx, which is Gitsanimx for “Bringing Tradition Home”, gives a thorough understanding of pre-contact northwest Indigenous ways of knowing and being.
“The idea around it is to present an approach that you can engage regardless of where you are,” says Jackson. “It’s about inclusion. It’s about connectedness.”
Tauhx Gadx is based on nine core virtues, contrasting how these are lived differently by settler and Indigenous communities. These virtues are: Respect, Belonging, Love, Honouring, Humility, Courage, Wisdom, Generosity and Celebration.
For example, in Gitxsan culture, the virtue of respect is given as a gift to others, rather than something to be earned.
Jackson is from the Gitanmaax of the Gitxsan Nation, and has been working with children and young adults in various capacities for the larger part of his life.
“I haven’t yet found an arena where [Tauhx Gadx] can’t be relevant and effective,” says Jackson, “because it’s about people.”
For course instructor Dave McKeever, Tauhx Gadx is a departure from the traditional approach to teaching and learning in post-secondary institutions.
“[I]nstead of asking the students for concrete evidence of learning recruitment and selection techniques, we were looking at the bigger picture of how you hire people,” says McKeever, “we had to go outside the box.”
Within every career, leadership and other soft skills such as communication, mentoring and teamwork, are extremely important qualities that employers look for. But as McKeever explains, these skills are hard to quantify and measure, so they are often left out of curriculums – something that he is seeking to change with the introduction of Tauhx Gadx into his courses.
“[Tauhx Gadx] is about eliminating this traditional approach to hiring people and giving the students the tools and then knowledge to recruit and select employees using the best practice,” says McKeever. “With a whole person approach to it.”
Jackson echoes this sentiment, saying that if qualitative methods and understandings are adhered to, then the quantitative product will present itself.
“If you are completely bought into your own personal growth, then the game will come to you,” says Jackson.
“It might be the kind of life that I’ve lived that made each of [Jackson’s] words go straight to my heart,” says Kathleen Wittwer, one of the students in the course.
“All of our courses talk about how we interact with processes,” says Wittwer. “But each of those virtues [in Tauhx Gadx] are about how we interact with people.”
Executive Director, External Relations