September 30 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day that honours First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples, as well as their families and communities. The need for such a day comes from a profoundly painful part of Canadian history, shaped by colonization and cultural subjugation.
Indigenous ways of life were devastated by early European settlers and their treaties. One of the darkest parts of this history was the residential school system, where Indigenous children suffered abuse and were conditioned to believe that their culture, language, and heritage were to be rejected. The scars of these atrocities are still felt today.
Organizations like the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) that advocate for human rights and equity are collaborating with Indigenous organizations to amplify their voices and help build stronger bonds, striving towards a more equitable future. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation serves as a critical milestone for this reconciliation work, ensuring that the legacy and history of residential schools are acknowledged and understood.
“As we walk the path towards reconciliation, transformation is necessary,” says Anne-Marie Pham, CEO, CCDI. “We’re committed to portraying a more authentic history of Canada’s diverse Indigenous Peoples, addressing the impact of residential schools, systemic racism, and their ongoing effects on workplaces and communities.”
In partnership with Indigenous Works, CCDI created the DreamMakers Council, which is focused on advancing Indigenous inclusion in the workplace. Partner members have access to valuable learning and training resources, and build a community where they can share key strategies for advancing inclusion.
CCDI also hosts webinars like Moving from reconciliation to reconciliACTION: Engaging and supporting Indigenous communities, and Reconciliation: Sisters on the path.
“When it comes to any kind of diversity, equity and inclusion work, it is of paramount importance to ‘walk the talk’,” says Pham. “It’s not enough to simply discuss change — we must take actionable steps to effect that change.”
To learn more and become a member of CCDI, please visit ccdi.ca.