Businesses struggle to incorporate reconciliation into their processes because many consider it optional. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Reconciliation is an integral part of any business in different ways according to the type of business.
Increase Indigenous talent recruitment. This can be as simple as adding “Self-identification as Indigenous. Or direct experience or knowledge working with an Indigenous community will be regarded an advantage” to new job advertisements. Participate in an Indigenous recruitment drive. You can also submit your vacancies on an Indigenous-focused job board such as Amik or First Nations Knowledge Network.
Firms that employ Indigenous employees may need to provide time off for employees to attend ceremonies (i.e., an annual fast). Another point to consider is how Indigenous Peoples define an immediate family member differently. This may necessitate a change in your policy about bereavement leave. We at Animikii have a comprehensive definition to account for these distinctions. This is not a regular practice in most procedures. As corporate leaders, we can galvanize the country into altering these policies and enacting legislation to safeguard Indigenous rights.
This point is more about fostering Indigenous potential than recruiting Indigenous experts. One approach to accomplish this is to establish relationships with local educational institutions. Begin by contacting Indigenous Student Services departments – and provide paid internships and summer programs. If you are already doing this, ensure that you design a curriculum targeted exclusively at Indigenous pupils.
Diversifying your supply chain can begin anywhere and may include hiring an Indigenous caterer for company events. Have an Anishinabe-owned business print your business cards, hiring a Cree accountant to file your taxes. You can hire a Métis architect to design your new office building or an Inuit filmmaker to produce your marketing content. The idea is that Indigenous brilliance exists throughout Turtle Island, in every business and community.
The critical point is to raise awareness of Indigenous businesses’ services and goods and to make a point of #BuyIndigenous. We can promise you that Indigenous companies are there and growing wherever you shop. The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Enterprises (CCAB) and its “Supply Change” Initiative are excellent resources for interacting with Indigenous businesses.
After you’ve hired your Talent, it’s up to you to train them. Cultural safety training is an excellent tool for fostering an inclusive and safe work environment for people of all cultures. TRC recommends that both Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff get training on the history and legacy of Residential Schools and UNDRIP. They also recommend instruction on Indigenous rights, legislation, and crown relations.
Because this is not something they learned in school, it is critical to ensure that your employees understand the relevance. They to understand the history and rationale behind these regulations. Indigenous Canada, a free online course given by the University of Alberta, is one such course. At Animikii, we utilize the Provincial Health Services Authority’s San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety training. Another excellent resource is the #Next150 Challenge. It sets challenges designed to inspire participants to reflect on and interact with their responsibilities in the reconciliation movement.
One lesson from the Trans-Mountain Pipeline is the genuine consultation with the Nation on whose land we are working.
This entails becoming acquainted with and respecting local communities and establishing genuine connections. This may entail inviting local community people to activities, listening to their problems, and forming mutually beneficial and natural alliances. This could also include investing in Indigenous non-profits as part of your company’s philanthropic efforts. We must acknowledge that we collaborate across cultures. We are collaborating with a Nation on the other side of the country or across the street.
With Animikii, we give our staff the day off even though Indigenous Peoples Day is not yet a federal holiday. We do this for various employee engagements with their cultures and communities, learning about local cultures and communities. We demonstrate our appreciation for Indigenous Peoples’ contributions across Canada. Also, we commemorate the Survivors – and their legacy – of Residential Schools the Sixties Scoop. As Canadian businesses, we need to demonstrate that diversity and inclusion are more than just stated principles for us. They are values we are pleased to live with every day.
Additionally, you can apply Reconciliation ideas by altering the language used in your daily office encounters. For instance, incorporating Territory Acknowledgements into your correspondence, at the commencement of events, and at the start of some meetings. This demonstrates your respect for the people in whose territory you reside and conduct business.
If you’re unsure how to conduct a Territory Acknowledgement, we’ve included a list of resources to assist you.
Reconciliation should be taken seriously. Governments cannot legislate reconciliation into existence, and Indigenous people cannot impose it on the rest of Canada. Each individual in Canada – every citizen, immigrant, refugee, and tourist – is accountable for reconciliation.
Therefore, observe National Indigenous Peoples Day with your staff. Put a Territory Acknowledgement on your website. Begin meetings by introducing yourself in connection to your location. Integrate indigenous customs and procedures into your business culture.