Session 6: Native Americans:
Undoing the Last Acceptable Racism
November 14, 2018

Undoing the last acceptable racism. This statement exemplifies the complexities faced by Native people who are striving to retain their lifeways in the face of competing interests, constant challenges, and outright racism and violence. Native people exist in a paradoxical world, but meet their difficulties head on through their traditions and values. They pass on their teachings to their children through stories and ceremonies. This session will engage participants in some of the ways of Native people — rediscovering personal stories and ceremonies as a means to create change, undo what appears to be “acceptable” racism, and promote inclusion within the workplace.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of the session, participants will:

  • Identify their own source of oral tradition (such as storytelling) to transmit information, communicate, and lead.

  • Practice ceremony as a vehicle for undoing racism, promoting inclusion, and fostering healing.

  • Identify the behaviors and actions that make them a warrior for change in their workplace and community.


Mr. Jay LaPlante has dedicated his career to improving the lives and health of diverse individuals and communities, with an emphasis and expertise in Indian Country. For over 30 years, he has provided training and technical assistance and directed programs promoting health and wellness, emergency preparedness, environmental health investigations, disease prevention and other positive social, health, education and policy changes.


Mr. LaPlante is an expert in community engagement and has worked with many urban and rural communities and American Indian and Alaska Native tribes, states, and the federal government, non-profit organizations, and individuals throughout the United States and Canada. He is a co-founder of the Native Wellness Institute and served as a lead facilitator in the Gathering of Native Americans (GONA) movement, a holistic Native culture-based community approach to healing. He is a member of the Blackfoot and Cree Nations.

Ms. Barbara Aragon draws from over 40 years of experience in working with diverse audiences providing training and technical assistance in the fields of education, health and behavioral health.  Her expertise is in community wellness and healing; cultural fluency, emergency preparedness, trauma informed approaches and empowerment.  She has taught social work practice and case management with UC Davis and California State University, Sacramento.  She has also worked with corporations, counties, tribes, states, federal agencies throughout the continental United States, Canada and the Pacific Basin.

Ms. Aragon’s passion is in facilitating dialogue among diverse audiences regarding community resilience and healing and how indigenous traditions i.e. story, culture, and ceremony are imbedded with trauma-informed principles and how they can be key to the wellness and balance of individuals and communities.

Ms. Aragon is a mother, grandmother and storyteller of Laguna Pueblo, Crow and French-Canadian heritage

NWDLS is Managed by:  The Institute for Sustainable Diversity and Inclusion (ISDI)

ISDI is a non-profit organization established for the purpose of educating, supporting and collaborating with key stakeholders on ways to leverage differences and practice inclusion to enhance individual and organizational success. 

JOIN US in 2019 as ISDI celebrates the 21st year of the NW Diversity Learning Series!

(Please note: Order of session dates may shift for topics as we work with presenters)

2019 THEME: When Systems Collide—Be a Pillar for Inclusion and Care

SESSION 1: Striving to Achieve Equity in Organizations: The Next Level of Change

SESSION 2: Leading with Equity: Rooting Out Bias Deep and Wide

SESSION 3: Mending the Broken Trust Between Black Women and White Women

SESSION 4: Building Allyship Between Black Men and White Men

SESSION 5: Supporting & Encouraging People Living with Invisible Disabilities

SESSION 6: Communicating in Polarizing Times: Words Matter!