Celebrate, Recognize and Reflect
Every year on June 21st, we celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day (NIPD), a day where we take time to reflect on the heritage, culture, and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples to Canada. Upon establishing the first day of recognition and celebration in 1996, then Governor General Roméo LeBlanc declared, “On June 21st, this year and every year, Canada will honour the native peoples, who first brought humanity to this great land. And may the first peoples of our past always be full and proud partners in our future.”
NIPD is symbolically set on the same day as the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, as it holds significance to many Indigenous Peoples and communities. Although First Nations, Inuit, and Métis share similar cultures and beliefs, it is important to remember that they represent dozens of unique and vibrant cultures.
This day is not only of importance for Indigenous Peoples, but also for all non-Indigenous Canadians to show their support and recognition of the past, present, and future. The Indigenous Peoples have faced and continue to face many hardships. Historically, this has included, but not limited to, assimilation and segregation, resulting in the prohibition and erasure of many elements of Indigenous culture and identity, such as traditional practices, spirituality, and languages.
It is crucial for non-Indigenous people to educate themselves on the history of the Indigenous Peoples as it demonstrates allyship and recognition of the Indigenous Peoples’ role in shaping Canada and protecting democracy. On the continuous path to truth and reconciliation, we all have a part to play. Indigenous Peoples have an opportunity to grow their cultures and re-establish their pride in being Indigenous. Being a genuine ally involves a lot of self-reflection, education, and listening. We can all take small steps forward by educating ourselves about Indigenous Peoples, places, and experiences and continuing to build on our understanding and awareness of Indigenous challenges.
Whether it’s through community participation, youth training and development, or strategic partnerships, Dexterra Group strives to support the economic wellbeing of Indigenous communities. Across Canada, we understand and acknowledge the role that local Indigenous communities play in our business. Learning and growing from relationships with Indigenous communities is at the heart of many of our operations. Employing a workforce that is reflective of where we work and live is vital to the success and growth of our projects and relationships with partnered communities.
Supporting Indigenous Youth
Our Outland Youth Employment Program (OYEP) is a national network of education, training and work opportunities for Indigenous Youth that includes our flagship six-week land-based summer program and comprehensive wrap around services. Our land-based programs run July and August and wrap around services are available year round through the support of partners.
OYEP provides employment to approximately 200 Indigenous youth across Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec. What makes OYEP unique is not only the extensive safety training (i.e. tree planting, chainsaw safety, WHMIS, bear awareness, and canoe safety), but also the opportunities for youth to overcome barriers to employment (i.e. licensing, food safety, resumé and cover letter writing and transferable/soft skills such as time management, financial literacy, and teamwork).
Additionally, OYEP is committed to the mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional learning, and safety of Indigenous youth and honours this commitment by providing culturally relevant education and training about mental health, social health, and managing personal challenges. To achieve this, OYEP works directly with communities and Elders to ensure youth are best supported. Youth are also encouraged to engage in cultural practices like smudging, drum circles, and talking circles.
How to Get Involved
NIPD is a great opportunity to learn more about Indigenous history and reflect on the many contributions Indigenous people have made and continue to make in Canada. As an organization, Dexterra Group strengthens its commitment to the Indigenous Peoples by seeking mutually beneficial pathways and through its various Indigenous initiatives. For more information on celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day, see the list below:
Events and Educational Resources:
- Learn about National Indigenous History Month, Reconciliation, and Indigenous History in Canada
- Participate in training and education related to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls (MMIWG2S)
- Enrol in a Free Indigenous Canada Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)
- Take an Indigenous Relations Training Course
- Livestream the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival