September 30 marks National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Based on the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, HRPA is offering a unique, self-guided learning opportunity for HRPA members, HR professionals and members of the public.

Queen Elizabeth II’s recent passing has dominated news headlines and has sparked widespread public debate about the monarchy’s colonial past and ongoing, far-reaching ramifications for many communities, including Indigenous Peoples. As we draw close to National Truth and Reconciliation Day, this is a timely reminder of the need to deeply analyze and introspectively explore the role that HR professionals can play in making workplaces more inclusive for Indigenous Peoples.

This learning experience features several interactive sessions, engaging activities and helpful resources geared towards embracing Indigenous learnings and reconciliation. These elements are designed to help you better understand and advance Indigenization initiatives in your workplace. This learning opportunity is divided into six modules, each culminating into specific questions and reflection prompts.

To begin with, you will explore the significance of land acknowledgments and recognizing territories that belong to Indigenous Peoples. Additional learning will provide you with the opportunity to confront and address hidden or personal biases through the lens of IDEA (Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility). You will also explore challenges that organizations face in fostering a culture of belonging. Additionally, there will be a focus on community building and how to get started on or take the next step towards comprehensive reconciliation. Envisioning how reconciliation can reconfigure work and our broader communities includes thinking about how employees and other stakeholders can feel supported and included.

Expect to deeply explore Etuaptmumk, or Two-Eyed Seeing. First articulated by Mi’kmaq Elders Albert, LLD, and Murdena Marshall, this refers to the ability to integrate Indigenous ways of knowing with Western forms of knowledge in order to draw on the strengths of both perspectives. Along with better understanding of Etuaptmumk or Two-Eyed Seeing, this learning experience prompts you to think about how you can meaningfully weave it into your personal and professional lives.

With careful attention paid to implicit bias as it impacts Indigenous Peoples, this learning initiative is your opportunity to study how biases, unintentional as they may be, can affect behavior and decision making. This learning experience will also take a closer look at the importance of psychological safety, given that some employees pay an “emotional tax” in workplaces that are exclusionary. Authentic inclusion is another key theme here, including thinking about what workplace inclusivity looks like in real practice. This is rooted in identifying your organization’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to IDEA, then pinpointing actionable items to strengthen workplaces and build stronger communities. This can include a wide variety of initiatives, ranging from ensuring workplace environments are identity-safe, to creating sustained opportunities for employees from equity-seeking communities to provide input into workplace inclusivity measures.

As you move through the learning experience, you are encouraged to keep an open mind, to actively listen, to try to understand diverse viewpoints and to respectfully engage with all perspectives, reflecting on your own thoughts and ideas. As you conclude this learning, you are invited to think about your own call to action and how you can continue to expand your horizons as well as bring your learnings back to your workplace and communities. It is highly encouraged to proactively plan to keep learning about the multiple facets of truth and reconciliation in order to continue to advance equity, diversity and inclusivity in workplaces.