A PATH TO UNITY & PROSPERITY
Tomorrow, our nation observes the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Join us in wearing orange and continuing to educating yourself; read more below.
Every September 30, we honour the children who never returned home and survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.
We stand in solidarity with Indigenous communities across Canada, acknowledging the painful history and the resilience of our Indigenous brothers and sisters. And we recognize the importance of listening, learning, and taking meaningful action to promote healing and understanding. We will continue to commit to fostering an inclusive and equitable business community, where Indigenous voices are valued and heard.
We encourage you to wear orange today – a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.
In the vast tapestry of Canada’s history, the profound and enduring contributions of Indigenous peoples are woven into the very fabric of our nation. Their rich cultures, languages, and traditions have shaped the landscape we call home. Yet, it is an undeniable truth that this relationship has been marred by historical injustices, colonization, and the systemic oppression of Indigenous communities. The residential school system in Canada served to eliminate Indigenous cultures. The impacts that this system had on Indigenous peoples were profound and continue to this day.
The following are just some examples of the impacts residential schools had (and continue to have) on Indigenous peoples:
- Loss of culture, identity, and language: Children who attended residential schools were forbidden from speaking their language and practicing their cultural traditions.
- Physical, mental, and sexual abuse: Many Indigenous children suffered physical, mental, and sexual abuse at the hands of school staff.
- Loss of family and community ties: Children were forcibly removed from their families and communities in an effort to assimilate them into Canadian culture.
- Intergenerational trauma: The trauma experienced by Survivors of residential schools has passed down through generations and can be seen in numerous ways.
- Loss of land and resources: Assimilation policies, residential schools being one of them, led to further loss of Indigenous lands and resources.
- Health and socio-economic disparities in comparison to non-Indigenous Canadians.
Today, as we navigate the complexities of our multicultural society, the call for Indigenous truth and reconciliation reverberates more powerfully than ever before. The importance of this journey cannot be overstated, for it touches the core of our national identity and resonates deeply within our hearts. But why is Indigenous truth and reconciliation so vital, and how can we connect with local initiatives? Moreover, what role does it play in the world of business?
The Significance of Indigenous Truth & Reconciliation
Honouring the Past and Shaping the Future: Acknowledging the painful truths of our history is not an act of blame but a step toward healing. It is a means of recognizing the resilience and strength of Indigenous communities, while also paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable future for all Canadians.
Cultural Resurgence: Embracing truth and reconciliation means fostering a resurgence of Indigenous cultures, languages, and traditions. This, in turn, enriches our national identity and deepens our understanding of the diversity that defines us.
Building Trust and Unity: Trust is the cornerstone of any prosperous society. Through genuine efforts at reconciliation, we can rebuild trust between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians, forging a path towards greater unity and solidarity.
Connecting with Local Initiatives
Engage with Indigenous Communities: Seek out local Indigenous organizations, community events, and cultural centres. Engaging in dialogues, attending workshops, and participating in cultural events are meaningful ways to connect with your local Indigenous community.
Support Indigenous Businesses: Empower Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses by seeking out their products and services. Your support can stimulate economic growth within Indigenous communities.
Volunteer and Donate: Many Indigenous organizations rely on volunteers and donations to carry out their important work. Contributing your time or resources can make a significant difference.
The Business Imperative
Enhanced Corporate Social Responsibility: Businesses that actively support Indigenous truth and reconciliation initiatives demonstrate a commitment to ethical business practices. This fosters a positive corporate image and resonates with socially conscious consumers.
Access to Diverse Talent: Engaging with Indigenous communities can lead to a more diverse and inclusive workforce. By embracing Indigenous perspectives, businesses can tap into a broader talent pool and drive innovation.
Market Expansion: Indigenous communities represent a significant market segment. By building meaningful relationships with these communities, businesses can access new markets and foster long-lasting customer loyalty.
Indigenous truth and reconciliation is not merely a moral obligation; it is a pathway to a stronger, more united, and prosperous Canada.
By connecting with local initiatives, we can take meaningful steps towards this goal, ensuring that the voices and contributions of Indigenous peoples are not only heard but celebrated. In the business world, this journey is not just a societal obligation; it is an opportunity to build stronger, more sustainable enterprises that reflect the values and aspirations of our diverse nation. In embracing Indigenous truth and reconciliation, we embrace a brighter future for all Canadians.
|“Residential schools are the only schools where you are a survivor not a graduate.” – Survivor from the Six Nations of the Grand River|
|We at the Grimsby & District Chamber of Commerce are continuing to educate ourselves, and we encourage each of you to connect in some way with truth and reconciliation efforts.|
EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES & MORE
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Reports
- TRC mini documentary, Senator Murray Sinclair on reconciliation
- A three-part podcast series on residential schools
- Toolkits on how to start the conversation on reconciliation
- A virtual tour of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School
LOOK LOCAL: Join in on the third annual Unity Walk in Fort Erie and Welland on September 29; don’t forget to wear your orange shirt.
MORE FROM THE ONTARIO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE:
Indigenous reconciliation is a complex and multifaceted process that requires sustained effort from governments, institutions, and society at large. Due to its complexity, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, there are steps that the business community can take to advance Indigenous reconciliation.
- Provide educational initiatives to employees, such as resources and training sessions about the history of Indigenous peoples, colonization, and residential schools to foster understanding.
- Ensure that Indigenous voices are represented at all levels, and inclusive recruitment and hiring practices are in place.
There are many issues that remain unresolved. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation serves as a day to remind us that the action must continue. The TCR’s final report was delivered almost eight years ago. Our progress has been slow. But ultimately, this day can serve as a catalyst for continued policy changes to address the ongoing challenges faced by Indigenous peoples in Canada.