PPCR is an extremely diverse company. This includes 5% of our staff who have an indigenous background, including myself. When it comes to Canada’s legacy of residential schools and treatment of Indigenous people, simply caring and verbal affirmations are not enough. There needs to be TRUTH before there can be Reconciliation. In this case, the truth is ugly. But we must know the truth in order to understand the damage done. The mass, unmarked graves of 215 Indigenous children who were ripped from their families and who never returned home is not an anomaly.
This dark chapter in history has not been closed.
Racism is an ongoing reality for Indigenous families and communities. We have the ability to do better by following the steps laid out for us in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report. We need to change the way we think, talk, and act in our own circles as a starting place.
Here is what our company is doing to spread the truth:
01. All managers will be requested to read and become familiar with the historical truths of Canada’s shameful history through one or more of the following accredited documents/courses
📕 Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Summary of Final Report (2007) | https://nctr.ca/records/reports/
🇺🇳 United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People | https://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf
🌐 Free 12-lesson Open Online Course offered by the University of Alberta | Indigenous Canada | https://www.coursera.org/learn/indigenous-canada
02. At the corporate level, our Executive members will meet this week to strategize on how to ensure we are actively addressing the TRC’s Call to Action #92 – Business and Reconciliation, p10 |
Please see below from an excerpt from the report
92. We call upon the corporate sector in Canada to
adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources. This would include, but not be limited to, the following:
i. Commit to meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development projects.
ii. Ensure that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector, and that Aboriginal communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects.
iii. Provide education for management and staff on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.
03. Providing employees with template letters to submit to their local MP, demanding action on the First Nations Caring Society ‘Spirit Bear’ Plan
04. PPCR will be making a $5,000 donation to the Indian Residential School Survivor Society and encourage our partners in the insurance industry to do the same
05. All employees will be paid to complete the University of Alberta’s Indigenous Canada course
06. Updating all training materials to include this education for all new hires
07. We will build off of our existing value of diversity by expanding to offer decolonizing workshops
08. Contracting an Indigenous professional and/or organization within our field to assess our current systems of practice and guide us in centering an Indigenous perspective on the restoration and ecologically sustainable work that we strive to do
At the core of it we want to be part of the solution, not the problem.
What legacy will you, your family or your company be leaving?
“Reconciliation is not an Aboriginal problem – it involves all of us.:
– Chief Justice Murray Sinclair (CBC, 2015)