Honouring Truth and Reconciliation as an Employer
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is September 30th, it is also known as Orange Shirt Day. The day is intended to acknowledge the legacy of Canada’s residential school systems and raise awareness of the experiences and impacts these systems have had on Indigenous families and communities.
While the day is a statutory holiday for employees in the federal government and federally regulated workplaces across some provinces, other workplaces may be wondering how to support employees and honour the day in a meaningful way.
First and foremost, we must acknowledge that truth and reconciliation is ongoing and important. Residential school findings are ongoing; our nation’s dialogue, dedication to uncovering the truth, and reconciliation must also be.
At Artemis, we’ve compiled a list of recommendations from Indigenous leaders and resources. That being said, we need to be mindful not to rely solely on Indigenous people to carry the burden of our learning. We must take responsibility for our education around truth and reconciliation. We hope these resources can help your organization as we honour this day and beyond. This list is certainly not exhaustive, so please share your ideas, too, so we can add to it together.
Listen to uncomfortable truths
The stories of Indigenous children and their families are difficult to hear. It’s important, particularly as non-Indigenous people, to sit with these hard truths as a starting point to reconciliation, as it starts with education.
Read books and articles by Indigenous authors
Look for opportunities to hear survivors speak either formally, or through following Indigenous creators online
Visit cultural centres and events
Support Orange Shirt Day
Orange Shirt Day originated in 2013 to honour residential school survivors and their families. The symbolism of the Orange Shirt stemmed from Phyllis Jack Webstad’s experience as a residential school survivor and now community leader, when she was stripped of her orange shirt on her first day in residential school at six years old.
Wear an orange shirt! Or purchase one where proceeds go towards Indigenous initiatives
Participate in an Orange Shirt Day event
Support Indigenous-led Businesses and Community Organizations
Indigenous-led businesses and community organizations will reflect a spectrum of Indigenous experiences in Canada, they are varied and diverse. While showing your support financially is most impactful, there other are non-monetary ways to contribute, too.
Follow and share content from Indigenous brands and creators
Look for volunteer opportunities to amplify efforts
Write a positive review for an Indigenous-owned business you have supported
Be intentional about how Truth and Reconciliation are fostered in your organization
Consider other ways you can support truth and reconciliation year-round by reviewing existing workplace policies and encouraging ongoing education.
Consider giving your employees time off to reflect on what Truth and Reconciliation means to them
Hold learning and education sessions, curated and hosted by Indigenous leaders, and ensure that Indigenous knowledge keepers are compensated appropriately for their time, travel etc.
Educate employees about land acknowledgements and their purpose
Encourage employees to participate in Indigenous activism
Provide resources, such as access to mental health support, to employees who may feel compelled to use them
Empower employees to take responsibility for their own education around truth and reconciliation. To reiterate, we need to be mindful not to rely solely on Indigenous people to carry the burden of our learning
Reconciliation is unique to everyone. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation encourages education, reflection, and action. In addition to connecting with Indigenous people in your local community, we hope these resources and suggestions will assist as your workplace honours the stories and experiences of Indigenous people as we collectively work towards reconciliation. Please let us know what we’ve missed, we’d like to add your ideas too!
Curious about other Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion workplace resources? Check out our website for more.
National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR):
The NCTR is a vital resource for information about the residential school system and its impact. They provide educational resources, survivor testimonies, and research materials.
Indigenous Services Canada:
Website: Indigenous Services Canada
This nonprofit organization promotes dialogue, understanding, and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Their website offers resources and events.
Website: Reconciliation Canada
Legacy of Hope Foundation:
This foundation focuses on educating Canadians about the history and legacy of residential schools. Their website has educational resources.
Website: Legacy of Hope Foundation
First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education Associations:
Each province and territory in Canada has its own education association for Indigenous peoples, which often provides resources, workshops, and information on Indigenous culture and history.
Featured Indigenous authors, artists, and content creators:
Alanah Jewell / Morningstar Designs, Indigenous youth, artist and organizer. Oneida Nation of the Thames. She/her. (Via Twitter) . Follow Alanah on Instagram and check out her website.
Subscribe to our monthly Artemis Update to receive more of our content directly to your inbox, including our Salary Snapshots, industry insights, Leaders on the Move, Humans of Tech, and Dear Artemis Series.
Artemis Canada is a boutique executive search firm specializing in placing top talent in the tech sector across Canada, the United States, and Europe. Our team of experienced recruiters has a proven track record of finding exceptional candidates for a variety of roles, from C-suite positions to high-demand individual contributors. For more information on our services, please visit our website at https://www.artemiscanada.com/