September 30th is the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. In order to allow space for Indigenous voices, peoples, and businesses to be amplified, we at SitePartners are acknowledging this important day.
We acknowledge that our head office gathers on traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of Semiahmoo First Nation, Kwantlen First Nation, and the Coast Salish Peoples. Many of our team members have been working effectively with Indigenous communities across Canada for nearly a decade and deeply understand the importance of this day. To stand alongside our Indigenous clients and businesses, and out of respect for all Indigenous Peoples in Canada, we will be closing our offices on September 30th to reflect, listen, and learn more about Indigenous history and how we can continue working towards positive reconciliation in Canada.
On September 30th, our staff will be wearing orange shirts to acknowledge the history of the First Peoples in Canada, including genocide through the residential school system across this country. These shirts are a way we can honour the children who survived Indian Residential Schools and remember those who sadly did not make it home.
We asked our Director of Indigenous Engagement, Kayla Bordignon, to highlight 5 small steps that any construction company can initiate to move towards positive reconciliation in Canada, to encourage Indigenous participation within their business:
1. Provide Indigenous Awareness Training to all employees, so they may learn the rich Indigenous history and culture of the traditional territories they are working in.
2. Develop an Indigenous Inclusion Plan that outlines opportunities for Indigenous communities and Peoples, and how to respectfully reach out to them.
3. Prioritize Indigenous hiring for all staff and field positions throughout the recruiting process, and develop valuable training programs that provide sustainable career advancement in both field and office positions.
4. Recognize and acknowledge Indigenous traditional and ancestor territories at the beginning of meetings. This is an important part of reconciliation as we honour the lands of the First Peoples in our country.
5. Support Indigenous businesses through subcontracting opportunities that are either majority member or nation owned.
While September 30th is an important day to reflect, we feel it is our responsibility at SitePartners to continue learning and developing meaningful relationships with our Indigenous partners and clients. The path towards reconciliation is ongoing, and we are committed to being strong allies and supporting Indigenous peoples and businesses anyway that we can.
Below we have provided some resources available to you with more information and ways you could honour this day:
- Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report.
- Participate in training (available for free): (1) Indigenous Canada (University of Alberta), (2) 23 Tips on What Not to Say or Do (Bob Joseph).
- Make a donation to an Indigenous organization: (1) Indspire, (2) Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund, (3) Legacy of Hope Foundation, (4) Reconciliation Canada, (5) Native Women’s Association in Canada.
- Support an Indigenous business: (1) Salmon n’ Bannock Bistro, (2) Spirit Bear Coffee, (3) Leləm’ Arts and Cultural Cafe.
- Read one of the following books: (1) Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Volume One: Summary: Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future, (2) 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act: Helping Canadians Make Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples a Reality, (3) Indigenous Relations: Insights, Tips & Suggestions to Make Reconciliation a Reality.
- Watch a documentary about Residential Schools in Canada: We Were Children (available on Netflix).