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Financial literacy course for Indigenous taught by Indigenous


Money problems are widespread in 2023, but a group of innovative Indigenous community members are tackling financial literacy through an initiative driven by their own community.

Called Money Moccasins, it's the name given to the first year of the unique program more than 200 Treaty 7 members of all ages recently participated in. It was named by Theodora Warrior Healy who is the Indigenous financial empowerment facilitator at Momentum, a Calgary non-profit agency that works with people living on low incomes.

Warrior Healy says the name has special significance for Indigenous community members.

"We're going on a journey and these are tools that will help us along the way," she said. "The road is rocky and so what better way to be prepared with some durable good footwear? And being indigenous, moccasins are what we use and they last and so to put that into a metaphor that resonates with us, knowing that we're going for a lifelong journey."

The goal of the program is to give participants more confidence when they walk into a bank or talk to a financial advisor. Opening accounts, RRSPs for kids and tax-free savings accounts are just some of the topics discussed.

"Just sharing that, 'yeah, I did it and this is what I'm doing with my money and this is how I did it'," said Warrior Healy. "You know it's a game changer for a lot of families."


The program uses a combination of storytelling and knowledge sharing that is a common way for indigenous people to learn from each other. In this case they sit together and talk about finances.

Warrior Healy says it's giving them that financial empowerment peace of mind that a lot of people have not had access to before.

Participants who attend all five workshops (Assets, Budget, Banking, Credit, and Consumerism) receive a certificate of completion that can be applied to their credit report.

"My vision is for every nation to have their own financial empowerment team," she said. "So going from financial literacy into having their own trained tax volunteer filers on nation."

Jeff Loomis is the executive director at Momentum and says it's the first time the organization has offered a course for Indigenous participants taught by an Indigenous person.

"We recognized as an organization focused on poverty reduction that we needed to have a more active role in reconciliation locally" he said. "So we felt like we were entrusted by elders and Indigenous people in our community to offer programs to the Indigenous community members and programs like Money Moccasins so yeah, it was really like Theodora's energy for taking our content and sharing it with her people."


Heather Scout enrolled in the five part course and benefitted from the one-on-one personalized coaching sessions with Warrior Healy. The 46-year-old owns her own business called Matapi Helpers. Matapi means 'people' in Blackfoot and she focuses on helping elders in her community along with a cleaning service.

"I just wish somebody in my days back then taught us about money," she said. "So now that's why I'm learning Theodora's ways and start teaching it to my kids so they could also learn about money and be careful about it more."

Stephanie Gouda is 35 years old and a University of Calgary Bachelor of Arts graduate in International Indigenous Studies.

"Like two sessions and I'm like literally just blown away," said Gouda. "Just based on having more control over managing (my finances) because I just financed another vehicle, a new one I'm trading for and so now I know what principal is, what interest is and how to better manage that debt."

Gouda says she has more confidence now when she walks into her bank to talk about finances.

"I wish I had known this in my twenties," she said. "I would have made significantly different choices specifically like my student loan."

Learn more about Money Moccasins here: Top Stories

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