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Latest NewsJul 15, 2019

Say Magazine Features The International Indigenous Speakers Bureau

International Indigenous Speakers Bureau

Inspiring. Empowering. Uplifting.

Founded in 2016, the International Indigenous Speakers Bureau (IISB) is the first of its kind where Indigenous speakers and Knowledge-Keepers are provided a platform to share their gifts on a global stage, and where audiences have the opportunity to access the wealth of Indigenous knowledge and perspectives.

The Demand for Indigenous Speakers

With the present demand for Indigenous speakers, unless you know a friend who has a friend, finding an appropriate one can often be difficult and very time-consuming. With access to a huge range of Indigenous talents through IISB you can be sure they will help you find the Indigenous speaker you are looking for. IISB takes the mystery out of the process by providing access to a large, diverse roster of Indigenous speakers.

Another one of the biggest challenges is not just ‘who’ to connect with, but ‘how’. IISB takes special care to provide a welcoming environment for its clients to ask questions and learn. From beginning to end IISB helps clients choose the right speaker, develop a positive speaker-client relationship and do what they can to ensure everyone involved has a successful experience.

Investing in our People

The commitment and support IISB provides to its speakers is unparalleled. Indigenous people come from a world of storytellers and understand the power of the spoken word. Stories can heal, inspire and transform lives. For this reason, much time and care is taken to develop each speaker’s individual story, empowering them to value their gifts and talents, and find their voice.  IISB is dedicated to improving the financial sustainability of Indigenous speakers, ensuring Indigenous speakers are seen, heard and valued around the globe, which includes negotiating fair value agreements.  

Circle of Honouring

One of the most important mandates of IISB is ensuring Indigenous speakers are honoured appropriately.

Back in the day, when people came to our Indigenous communities sharing their gifts of knowledge, expertise and story, they were honoured to the highest degree. It was an Indigenous way of knowing that when something was given, something of equal or greater value was given back. This ensures sustainability and growth of a community.  Back then that meant that the Knowledge-Keeper was well taken care of; they were fed, clothed, housed and their families were taken care of as well. This was also usually for a season, not a day.

Today we cannot go out and shoot a buffalo for someone or invite a family in to live with us, but we can make sure they are able to feed, clothe and shelter their families, and prosper in the process.  This means making sure that the gifts the Indigenous speakers are offering are remunerated at par with industry standards and at the same level as non-indigenous speakers.

“When we come from this approach of honouring appropriately, we encourage a process of developing sustainability and growth. We also encourage the development of relationships from a respectful place and avoid coming from the old practice of tokenism,” said Shannon Loutitt, CEO of the IISB.

Speakers and Knowledge-Keepers

IISB speakers cover a plethora of topics including education, health and healing, science (such as genetics and engineering), sport, film, economics, and fashion, just to name a few.

Upon visiting their website you may note a few familiar Canadian Icons like Michelle Thrush (actor) and Andrea Menard (actress/singer), among other global champions.  

The Indigenous Lens

Often when people think about what an Indigenous speaker can do for them, they associate that with learning about Indigenous history, culture, dance or legends.  Although this can be true if this is what is requested, IISB’s CEO, Shannon Loutitt says Indigenous speakers bring something else that is equally valuable: “They bring their Indigenous lens.”  

Indigenous speakers provide a unique perspective on the world we live in, and with it offer a wealth of solutions and insights to many modern-day issues. Science has proven that the Western World tends to see things through a narrow sharp focused lens, which is great for getting a detailed perspective. That lens is very effective at drilling down or focusing like a telescopic view, whereas Indigenous people see the world through a wider holistic lens, allowing them to connect the dots on many seemingly unrelated issues.  Both lenses are extremely valuable to our world, and we can use both of them to problem solve. Until recently, it’s predominantly been the Western lens that has been used to find solutions to our world’s problems. But times are changing, and the world is recognizing that we need more ideas and perspectives to address our planetary challenges.

IISB provides the ideal platform for organizations who want to access that Indigenous lens, through leaders, experts and advisors from around the world.

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