September 30, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a prime opportunity for all of us to learn about, reflect on and take action towards truth and reconciliation efforts.

One way to do that is by offering educational opportunities to employees, staff, leaders and other stakeholders on Indigenous history, including the colonial legacy of residential schools in Canada. This should also include a focus on present-day Indigenous relations and the various laws governing them, from Indigenous laws to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In fact, this is a central tenet of the Truth And Reconciliation Calls To Action #92.

Such awareness fosters a culture of belonging. While we are seeing greater diversity in our workplaces and communities, this does not always translate to inclusivity. As workplaces are becoming more and more diverse, organizations must proactively choose to be inclusive. Indeed, this continues to be a challenge for workplaces of all kinds and sizes.

Truly, reconciliation rests on our shoulders individually and collectively, and it can make our communities much stronger, agile and equitable. With this in mind, here are three ways you can demonstrate your commitment to truth and reconciliation initiatives:

Learn About Indigenous Peoples of Canada

In Canada, the three main categories of Indigenous Peoples are: First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Indigenous Peoples long inhabited what we call Canada today and have lived here since before the arrival of European settlers. Across the three groups, a wide variety of cultural practices and traditions are evident, and their collective consciousness and lifestyles also differ. Below is a brief description of each group:

  • First Nations people make up the most populous category of Indigenous people in Canada.
  • Inuit peoples reside in the Inuit homelands of arctic Canada. Together, First Nations and Inuit peoples are the first caretakers of Turtle Island, where their ancestors lived for centuries.
  • Métis people’s collective history is what defines them, not just their mixed Indigenous and European heritage. This includes those who self-identify as Métis as well as those accepted by the Métis Nation.

Go on a Self-Guided Learning Journey about Indigeneity in the Workplace

Launched by HRPA this year, in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, you are invited to engage in a self-guided learning experience on Indigenous teachings. With several in-depth resources, interactive prompts and thought-provoking material, this experience focuses on how HR professionals can advocate for and with Indigenous peoples in the workplace, and beyond.

This self-paced learning experience is divided into six sections: More Than Words; Culture of Belonging; Truths; Reflection; Community Building; Action. Altogether, it should take you about about 5 or 6 hours to complete at your own pace, whether that’s in one sitting or over the course of several days. While working through the content, remember to stay open-minded, respectful of others and actively engaged in reflecting on and sharing your own understanding. Also remember to connect your learning to actionable workplace strategies that you can implement to make your organization more welcoming.

Continue Learning and Giving Back

Learning is always an ongoing process. HRPA members can continue to learn and share their knowledge by participating in the Indigenous Community of Practice “Open Forum for Indigenous Allies”. If you are not a member,  sign up for the HR Insights Newsletter for upcoming learning opportunities.

Last but not least, if you are able to, consider donating your time, efforts and resources to advance the work of notable organizations that are mobilizing for Indigenous rights. Here are some such organizations that are leading worthwhile projects that you can contribute to:

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