One of the City of Winnipeg’s key actions in supporting reconciliation was creating Winnipeg’s Indigenous Accord, so that organizations can come together as we continue to learn, achieve greater understanding, and find a role in our shared journey of reconciliation. This has become our mission while we grow together as a City. The Indigenous Relations Division reached out to 199 Accord partners to share their annual progress on their commitments to the TRC Calls to Action and more recently MMIWG2S+ Calls for Justice, and the following is what Solara is striving for…
Dedicate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to education and understanding for all employees. We want to include family members in the future as well. Plan to have an Elder on hand to tell stories and give insight toward the education and understanding of our employees and their families to Indigenous history, culture, and life in our own community and province.
On September 30th, 2021, the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, all of Solara’s staff pledged to use this day to take time to learn more about First Nations history, culture, and in particular the impact of residential schools that resounds throughout communities today. All of our employees met early on September 30th and signed in to the Interactive Training offered by the Indigenous Leadership Development Institute, a 100% Indigenous-owned and operated training enterprise in Winnipeg. This training was several hours in length, and it educates participants about the history, traditions, values and beliefs of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples. This training also covers materials to educate participants in topics that are in accordance with the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action (2015), including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Indigenous rights, Indigenous law, and Indigenous-Crown relations.
Throughout the training, employees were tested on the topics. Once they achieved passing scores, each received a Certificate of Achievement for passing the tests. All of the employees passed, and after the training was concluded, we all came together to discuss items that struck us most. For example, employees had no idea of the immense impact The Indian Act had on daily lives, such as needing a pass from and Indian Agent just to leave the areas of a reserve. It was also enlightening to hear there were treaties even before Canadian Confederation. All employees came away with a renewed appreciation and understanding of Indigenous history and culture and how it is also a part of our history and lives in Manitoba. We have pledged to have an event every year on the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
We also have had First Nations Elders come to our company location to talk about things important to their livelihood. In one case, an Elder from Dauphin River First Nation told stories to our staff about fishing on Lake Winnipeg, and how it is such an important part of their life and culture. In turn, we offered them our discounted rates for courier shipments to help them send frozen fish to the east coast. Our staff had a chance to work together in a hands-on activity of planning the shipment and boxing it up together, where people benefited from the Elder’s insight and knowledge while assisting them with a better shipping rate.