- Recognize that the individual can contribute to reconciliation.
- Identify what a reconciliACTION is to Indigenous communities and Industry.
Many small-scale reconciliation acts can make a significant change for all. The new term to describe an act of coming together in an ethical way to conduct business is “reconciliACTION.”
According to the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund, “A reconciliACTION is a meaningful action that moves reconciliation forward. ReconciliACTIONs aim to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together in the spirit of reconciliation to create awareness, share, and learn. It is the answer to Gord’s call to ‘Do Something’; do something to raise further awareness, do something that improves the lives of Indigenous people, do something that improves the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. ReconciliACTIONs act as the catalyst for important conversations and meaningful change, recognizing that change starts with every one of us and each person can make an impact.”
Reconciliation is the right thing to do, and we should do it.
Whether Indigenous or non-Indigenous, we all have a role to play in reconciliation in Canada. With historical knowledge, we can learn from the past so we can move forward in a good way together. The following section has some ideas for reconciliACTIONs you can take.
Celebrate National Indigenous Peoples’ Day
National Indigenous Peoples’ Day takes place every year on June 21. Honouring this day is essential because it acknowledges Canada’s history. As stated in an article by Georgian College about celebrating National Indigenous Peoples’ Day, “It’s a day for all Canadians to recognize, celebrate and honour Indigenous cultures and communities. No matter where you are in Canada, there’s a rich history and presence of Indigenous Nations. June 21 is a day to honour the original peoples of this country and also to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices Indigenous Peoples have made.”
You or your organization can do this by acknowledging the land you are living, working, and playing on, as well as attending National Indigenous Peoples’ Day festivities.
Give territory acknowledgements where appropriate
You can also implement reconciliation principles by shifting the language of your everyday office interactions. For example, giving territory acknowledgements in your communications at the beginning of events and at the start of some meetings will show respect to the Indigenous Peoples on whose territory you live and do business. (Read the article 7 Ways to Incorporate Reconciliation into Your Business for other ideas on how to make reconciliation principles a part of your business practice.)
A good way to get started on writing a territory acknowledgement is to ask yourself the question, “Why do I want to create my own land acknowledgement?” Then, start researching the territory that you are living or working on and write out your own territory acknowledgement that resonates with you personally.
For more information on how to complete this activity, read the blog post Five Steps to Writing a Land Acknowledgment.
Other possible things you can do include:
- “Remember that you and your organization are in many cases doing business with a culture, not with another business.” (B. Joseph, 2019) Indigenous cultures are primarily cultures of collectivism. Ensuring everyone in the community has an opportunity to know what is happening with your organization is critical.
- Hire and retain Indigenous talent. When your organization hires Indigenous people, implement a retention plan to ensure they want to stay.
- Provide training for your organization on UNDRIP and the 94 calls to action to inform your employees and prepare them for success when dealing with Indigenous communities.
Break into groups and discuss these questions for 15 minutes:
- How do you feel about ReconciliACTION?
- What do you find most challenging when thinking about ReconciliACTION?
- How can you bring your organization closer to ethically working with Indigenous communities?
- What is one way you, as a Canadian, can contribute to ReconciliACTION?