It has been an exciting week for Dexterra Group, with our teams across the company organizing and participating in various activities and events to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21.
June 21 is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse culture and outstanding contributions that First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples have made and continue to make to Canadian society.
At Dexterra Group, we celebrate and recognize the distinct cultural heritage of Indigenous peoples through community participation and beneficial partnerships. Our various business operations take us to the farthest corners of the country. Wherever we go, local Indigenous communities are at the core of our business operations. Our teams reach out and actively seek opportunities that make meaningful contributions and opportunities for economic and social growth, and wellbeing.
Today, Dexterra Group has a total of 52 partnerships with Indigenous communities across Canada. We work collaboratively and achieve mutual goals that include strategic partnerships, community participation, youth training, education programs, and training and employment of Indigenous people.
In acknowledgement of our initiatives within Indigenous communities, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) has certified us as a Bronze level Progressive Aboriginal Relations company. As part of this commitment, we continue to work to improve the economic wellbeing of Indigenous communities — making it part of our strategic planning.
Our teams take great pride in participating in meaningful Indigenous community events, whether they are celebrations of National Indigenous Peoples Day, Treaty Days or spiritual gatherings.
Our culinary team at Little Rock Lake Lodge, operated by Horizon North in partnership with the local indigenous community, provided staff and guests local food items such as a bison meat stew and bannock for National Indigenous People Day.
Including local and Indigenous fare is extremely important to us and the local Indigenous communities in which we work. Our teams do the appropriate research to understand the local culture and provide options that respect Indigenous traditions in the region.
Youth Training and Development
Dexterra Group’s Outland Youth Employment Program (OYEP) has worked towards equity and opportunity for Indigenous youth and communities since 2000. OYEP is a national network of education, training, and work opportunities for Indigenous youth. The six-week program takes place across Canada, where participants are immersed in natural resource-based work, such as brush cutting, tree planting, camp maintenance and trail work for neighbouring parks. Each summer, approximately 150 Indigenous youth are employed through the program.
OYEP wrap-around support services are available across Canada, and summer-based programs are currently available in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia.
Over 600 youth have graduated from the program since its inception in 2000.
As part of the program, the youth receive a plethora of safety training around tree planting, chainsaw safety, WHMIS, bear awareness, lake water, and canoe safety.
In addition to safety training, the program provides training opportunities to overcome barriers to employment, including licensing, food safety, resumé and cover letter writing and transferable/soft skills such as time management, financial literacy and teamwork.
OYEP seeks to offer a holistic experience, including mental, physical, spiritual and emotional learning and safety. For example, the program includes education and training around mental health, social health, managing personal challenges and bystander intervention, when appropriate. The program maintains a “safe space” that prohibits discrimination, criticism or harassment. To that end, elders are often on-site and can act as motivational speakers that focus on mental and spiritual health. Youth also regularly engage in cultural practices such as smudging, drum circles and talking circles.
Strategic Partnerships and Employment Opportunities
“In my 18 years with Dexterra, the company has provided me with great opportunities for personal growth and development as well as a platform to support and give back to my community by creating jobs, volunteering, and donations. We have taken part in many local Indigenous events. I always enjoyed attending the event, meeting the community, and watching traditional dance performances and eating delicious food.”
Bob Delaney, Manager, Rentals Solutions, WAFES, Grande Prairie, Citizen of Métis Nation of Alberta.
With 52 partnerships nationwide, our Dexterra Group teams are working closely with Indigenous communities wherever we operate. Our Two Lakes Horizon North partnership is one such example of the great results that can be accomplished when partners work together.
Two Lakes Horizon North provides management, catering, and hospitality services for the 560-bed BHP Jansen Discovery Lodge east of Saskatoon. Besides creating employment, we also continue to work with our partner Nations to identify additional sub-contracting opportunities and ideas to provide services that can support the communities.
To celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day, the team at Jansen hosted a series of events on June 21, including ribbon skirt-making classes, a meal featuring local Indigenous fare, and a traditional Dancers and Drum event held at Discovery Lodge Theatre*.
Today marks an occasion for all Canadians to learn about and reflect on the historic contributions Indigenous people have made to Canada and to commemorate the heritage and cultures of First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities. As a company that has consistently taken substantial initiatives to create partnerships and employment and inclusion opportunities for Indigenous people, Dexterra Group reinforces its commitment to continue seeking mutually beneficial pathways and strengthening our relations with Indigenous communities across Canada.
*All events took place with proper COVID-19 testing and physical distancing protocols.