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Add to the Crowd. 5 Actions Businesses and Organizations Can Make To Foster #IndigenousImpact



Today is Indigenous People's Day and over this week we’ve collected a crowd - but this is just the beginning. If we actually went through and identified every Indigenous person whose demonstrated artistic skill, athletic prowess, scientific knowledge, and community leadership, a stadium wouldn't even hold them all. The truth is that our people are incredible. We’re brilliant, we’re strong, we’re creative and so, so much more. But we didn’t get that way alone. We got here through community. Through support from our friends and family and support through our institutions. 


A lot of conversations on Indigenous People's Day are about action that individuals, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, can take to support an Indigenous future. But today, we’re focusing the conversation on what action corporations and organizations can take. Institutions are often the ones holding significant community power and have the opportunity to not only make a difference in their community - but add to the crowd above. So this Indigenous People's Day let this be the moment for organizational and systemic change were you have the power to impact it.


Here’s 5 actions any organization or corporation can take to help foster the next generation of #IndigenousImpact:



  1. Read the basics.

21 Things You Didn’t Know About the Indian Act is a great place to start to understand the systems that have been at play in Canadian history to shut Indigenous peoples out of opportunity. Understand our collective past so that you can recognize the policies and procedures still at play today. Then read, “ Indigenous Relations: Insights, Tips & Suggestions to Make Reconciliation a Reality as a foundation of knowledge before engaging in consultation and conversations with community. This is not an exhaustive list. If you're a Yukon based business or organization, the "Together Today For Our Children Tomorrow" is also a foundational document. Consider the hundreds of other books written about specific industries and consider incorporating them into your onboarding strategy - and mandatory reading for the executive level team.


  1. Learn whose land you’re on, and build those relationships - meaningfully. 


If you’re a business or organization in Canada - you’re on Indigenous land. Learn whose land it is and the story of it. Go beyond a land acknowledgement on your website or corporate report and reach out to community leadership. Be open to what a relationship means both in what you can give and how working with community may help you reach your goals as well. Meaningful means listening. Meaningful means respect and honesty. Meaningful means long-term. Start here: https://www.whose.land/en/


  1. Review your partners and suppliers for opportunities to add Indigenous businesses and organizations.

Review your existing suppliers and partners and look for opportunities to incorporate Indigenous businesses. On the small scale, this may look like choosing an Indigenous caterer or t-shirt maker for your next event. On a large scale this may look like going with an Indigenous web developer or consultant for your next major project. There is always an opportunity for economic reconciliation if you prioritize it within your organizational practices. Start with the Yukon First Nation's Chamber of Commerce business directory: https://yfncc.ca/business-directory/


  1. Incorporate the TRC and Calls to Action into your business plan.

The 94 Calls to Action were published along with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s full report in 2015. Which means that we’ve had almost 10 years to see measurable impact and change. Ask what your organization has done in the last 10 years for change. The 94 Calls to Action  are wide in scope and touch upon all areas of society. Review which actions pertain to your work, industry, or community and make a plan to incorporate them into your work. Call to Action #92 pertains to the Business Sector. Learn more about what economic reconciliation is and what it means in action here: https://www.nccie.ca/knowledge-space/films/reconciliation-on-bay-st/


5. Show up.


Be a part of your community in a real way. Show up in person for celebrations. Show up in person for consultations. Show up in person for change. Make the time and be present for community relationships. There is only so much you can read in a book (or from a web listicle). When you show up and talk to people who know the land and know their community you can learn so much more about opportunities for collaboration, opportunities for growth, for healing, and for so much more.

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