|Reconciliation in the Workplace Toolkit|
Toronto – June 4, 2016 – Reconciliation within a workplace environment is about inclusion, belonging, dignity and respect. Throughout June, which marks National Aboriginal History Month, we will explore the four pillars of the Touchstones of Hope model, led by The Caring Society (FNCFCS), and adapt it to reconciliation in the workplace. The first pillar of reconciliation involves truth telling. Regardless of our individual differences, truth telling is a life principle most people are taught from a very young age. It comes from the sharing of information and affects how we view our lived reality in the workplace and in our lives.
Some truths about why reconciliation exists and why we need to talk about it:
The Indian Residential school system was part of Canada’s historical mistreatment of Aboriginal peoples, and lasted from the mid 19th century up until the last residential school closed in 1996.
Children were taken from their parents, from their reserves, and were forced to assimilate traditional Christian and European values and taught that they were inferior to non-indigenous peoples in Canada.
Many children faced physical, mental and emotional abuse at the hands of their superiors and grew up with no knowledge of their Aboriginal identity, heritage, culture or way of life.
The Indian Residential school experience of most indigenous children has led to multigenerational trauma and perpetuates systemic inequality and socioeconomic realities for Aboriginal peoples in Canada.
Guiding Principles of Reconciliation in the Workplace:
Indigenous workers should not receive inferior treatment or inferior services because they are indigenous (Principle - Non-Discrimination).
Indigenous and non-indigenous workers must feel safe in their workplace. All challenges of adversity or race are to be addressed (Principle - Self-Determination).
Language is the essence of culture. Respecting each other’s spoken languages is pivotal in creating inclusive workplaces (Principle - Culture and language).