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The Importance of Indigenous Connections at Stantec

June 25, 2021

We’re always looking for ways to build stronger connections with communities, and that includes the way we work and partner with Indigenous Peoples.

The importance of recognizing and celebrating Indigenous Peoples has been brought into sharp focus by the recent residential school revelations—the latest truth uncovered in a long and tragic chapter of Canada’s history.

Stantec commits to doing our part to reconcile past wrongs, stand with Indigenous communities, and work together for a positive future.

Indigenous Connections@Stantec

Our Indigenous Connections@Stantec (IC@S) employee resource group (ERG) provides a central connection point for our Indigenous employees around the world, as well as anyone in our Company who is looking to learn more about how they can engage with these communities.

Laurie Gaal, talent acquisition consultant – future talent (US North Central and Northeast) and co-chair of IC@S, encourages everyone at Stantec to appreciate Indigenous achievements and to listen to their stories and concerns.

“National Indigenous History Month is an important time to recognize the immense achievements and contributions of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and across the globe, but also to reflect on the importance of Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and Communities. We stand alongside the survivors and those we have lost to the residential school system, the Sixties Scoop, and systematic racism and assimilation.

The IC@S ERG strives to increase awareness of Indigenous culture, practices, and values through meaningful partnerships and engagement. We are actively working to create a more diverse and inclusive space for Indigenous Peoples and allies to build lasting relationships and opportunities at Stantec, with ongoing truth and reconciliation in mind.”

Northern Connections

Stantec’s Alaska Native program manager, Adam Leggett (Dena’ina Athabascan) says “Although the Alaska Native people inherited many of the treaties, rights and institutions of our fellow Native Americans, the traditional language, culture and beliefs of our people are more similar to the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. While colonization and assimilation efforts in both countries resulted in a significant loss of traditional knowledge, the Indigenous beliefs of interconnectedness and modern technology are helping to reverse those trends not only in North America but around the world.”

Adam adds that the 2017 creation of the Canadian Indigenous Advisory Council of the nonprofit American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) demonstrates the power of interconnectedness. The addition of 11 Canadian chapters has helped expand AISES’ mission to increase the number of Indigenous Peoples of North America and the Pacific Islands in STEM studies and careers. We’re honored that AISES once again recognized Stantec as a Top 50 STEM Workplace for Indigenous Professionals this year.

Partnership Makes Us Stronger

Community outreach and engagement enriches our experiences, deepens our knowledge, and improves our project outcomes. Scholarships and recruitment activities help develop young talent and strengthen our workforce. Each interaction with our Indigenous partners adds value to both our Company and our communities. Some examples include:

  • A recent workshop with Spirit River Striped Wolf, an award-winning researcher and facilitator from the Piikani Nation (Aapatohsipikani) who has dedicated his life to improving the conditions of Indigenous Peoples through advocacy, activism, volunteering, and leadership initiatives. Spirit River shared how history has impacted the development of systematic Indigenous trauma, as well as steps we can take to be better allies.
  • Our support to Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures: Bursary, Scholarship, and Awards Program. Stantec’s donation will support Indigenous students who were raised in remote communities and are currently studying in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) field. 90% of Indspire recipients graduate, and approximately half go on to earn another post-secondary credential. Furthermore, 45% of employed award recipients choose to work in fields that support Indigenous people—meaning our investment doesn’t just help a few individuals, it helps communities.
  • We are thrilled to support artists from British Columbia and the Yukon through our work with the YVRAF. Not only does the art in Vancouver International Airport provide a memorable passenger experience while travelling through Vancouver, but the pieces also showcase the talent and creativity of local Indigenous art and artists with the world.
  • Our growing list of Indigenous business partnerships across Canada. The fact that Stantec holds so many steady relationships with Indigenous-owned companies stands as testament to our commitment to Indigenous communities, as well as to our ability to maintain respectful relationships. Similarly, our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) working group in Australia has helped our Company to build relationships with local Indigenous communities there.

How Our Employees Are Getting Involved

In partnership with the Women@Stantec ERG, to celebrate and acknowledge National Indigenous Peoples Awareness Day, Stantec is putting on an event where Melissa Hardy Giles will share her own story. Melissa was raised on Lake Helen Reserve and has developed three successful businesses. She is currently the owner of ORIGIN, an Indigenous-owned progressive business enterprise, that takes pride in offering innovative technology solutions to a growing portfolio of clients in targeted industries. Melissa is very proud to be an active member of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and the first Indigenous company to become a Procurement Champion with the CCAB. 

IC@S will also recognize National Indigenous History Month with a panel to discuss the importance of this month, where we are at, and where we are going in relation to truth & reconciliation and Indigenous rights.

Meaningful engagement between Indigenous Peoples and our Company is essential to Stantec’s promise to design with community in mind. We are committed to supporting IC@S employee resource group in the continued effort to provide a space for employees to connect, learn, heal, and reconcile.

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