San’yas means ‘way of knowling’ in Kwak’wala the language of the Kwakwaka’wakw Peoples. Kwak’wala is the language of the San’yas founder and creator, Dr. Cheryl Ward.
In 2008 a growing awareness of the mistreatment of Indigenous people in health care resulted in provincial mandates calling for cultural competency training for the Regional Health Authorities in BC. Indigenous educator Dr. Cheryl Ward (Kwakwaka’wakw) designed the facilitation model and pedagogy and engaged Indigenous educators and health leaders to create the BC Core ICS Health course curriculum. This groundbreaking initiative has grown into the San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Program. The first online version focused on cultural competency training for health professionals in British Columbia. It was a unique model of online facilitated learning, based on the principle of decolonizing, anti-racist, transformative and adult education theories.
San’yas has evolved over time. We have learned through our ongoing research into the lived experiences of Indigenous people that there remains deeply rooted resistance to the transformative changes so essential for decolonizing and uprooting anti-Indigenous racism. We now focus on Indigenous cultural safety instead of competency, and offer both anti-racist online training courses and consultation services to support organizational and systems change. Our long-term goal is to correct and transform the societal systems that continue to harm Indigenous people. We can only achieve this goal with your active support and participation.
British Columbia | Regional Program History
The first San’yas training was designed by Indigenous educators in British Columbia in 2008. Today, San’yas offers online training and consultation services to people and groups across Canada. We have trained over 150,000 people, and we support several organizations in their work to uproot anti-Indigenous racism and enhance Indigenous cultural safety. In BC, more than 60,000 people have completed our training.
Manitoba | Regional Program History
In 2015, San’yas partnered with Shared Health Manitoba-Indigenous Health and an advisory of Indigenous leaders and educators to build Manitoba Indigenous Cultural Safety Training (MICST). MICST offers Core Training that has been specifically designed for people working in any sector in Manitoba. More than 4,500 people have completed our training.
Ontario | Regional Program History
In 2013, Indigenous leaders and educators in Ontario partnered with San’yas to develop Ontario-specific online training courses. Today, we offer a range of courses in Ontario. More than 80,000 people have completed our training.