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Time for a change: Reconciliation starts with knowledge


By Manitoba Inc. Staff

Seven years ago, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its report to the nation with 94 Calls to Action to begin the process of reconciling with our nation’s Indigenous Peoples while facing the dark and painful legacy left by Canada’s residential school system. Call to Action #92 is aimed at Canada’s businesses and organizations and their relationship with Indigenous Peoples, including consultation, informed consent for economic development projects, employment equity, and education for business leaders and their teams on Indigenous history.

Since the Calls to Action were released, many businesses and organizations have started to explore what reconciliation looks and feels like for them at various levels. However, there is still more to be done to achieve true reconciliation. According to Jennefer Nepinak, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships and Reconciliation at Legacy Bowes, the work begins with education. “For meaningful reconciliation to happen, we all have to learn about the real history of our country and what it has done to Indigenous Peoples,” says Nepinak.

“We also must know and understand the culture of Indigenous peoples.”

To assist organizations in increasing their awareness and knowledge, and gain insights into how they can improve their operations to support Call to Action #92, Legacy Bowes and its ownership group – the TIPI Group of Companies – developed an awareness and training program in consultation with an Indigenous development team.

The first phase of this program is grounded in education. It consists of a 10-chapter, self-paced knowledge program with multi-media components, online quizzes, and online coaching through a virtual learning campus. The second phase of the Call to Action #92 program is based on action and will result in a roadmap of recommendations that can be actioned to establish an inclusive workplace and address colonialism, discrimination, implicit bias, and racism.

“The goal of the training is to deal with the hard truths, explore our shared history, and support the dialogue to move forward,” says Nepinak. “Once the education is done, then it is time to move into action. This is where we layer in the Indigenousness lens—the culture, relationships and knowledge—that is vital to real reconciliation.”

Reconciliation is more than knowing what happened to Canada’s Indigenous Peoples. It’s about leaving space for Indigenous knowledge, creating reciprocal relationships and making spaces welcoming and open to everyone. “Reconciliation and decolonization mean bringing Indigenous People, culture and knowledge fully into our society. We all benefit when we’re all heard and accepted and feel like we belong,” says Nepinak.

For Legacy Bowes, the work is more than just work—it’s the right thing to do. As more revelations come to light about residential schools and their heartbreaking, destructive legacy, it becomes more and more apparent that reconciliation must happen to heal the country and the relationship between Canada and our Indigenous Peoples. “It’s not just about the history. It’s about making room for a young, growing and dynamic population that deserves a place in the world.”

Nepinak wants businesses and organizations to know that the process does not have to be intimidating. “We are here to fully support you in doing this meaningful work. When you engage and make the commitment to reconciliation, it’s time for learning, dialogue and reflection. It’s incredibly engaging, meaningful and transformative for your organization. You will all be better for it.”

Learn more about how you can enact the TRC Call to Action #92 recommendations into your company culture at legacybowes.com/our-services/trc-call-to-action-92.

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