Laying the Groundwork for Coproduction: Sharing Vision & Values

To set the tone during our first all teams convening in Anchorage, Alaska, in June 2022, co-Principal Investigators Jackie Qataliña Schaeffer and Vera Kingeekuk Metcalf began day one by walking all SEARCH teams through the importance of a shared vision and values. After reading aloud and talking about each of the First Alaskans Institute’s shared agreements, Vera and Jackie opened the floor to everyone, making space for all to share their thoughts, additions, or amendments. We started with the agreement that every person present is a leader and that each of us has two responsibilities above all others: “to speak to be understood, and to listen to understand.” These guiding principles resonated across SEARCH because Vera has always encouraged each of us to “know when we are saying the same thing.” Additional shared agreements inspired by the First Alaskans Institute include valuing humor as a means of understanding, welcoming challenges as opportunities to seek solutions, and accepting that each of us is responsible for our own experience. Jackie exemplified our shared value of humor when, in welcoming everyone to our first all teams convening, she made light of the 15-foot tall portrait of legendary English explorer and naval officer (and infamous colonizer) Captain James Cook beside the podium! Jackie reminded us that this is a new era, and together we have a duty to bring forth new outcomes.