At Ian Martin, we exist to connect people in meaningful work. But as we’ve discovered, before you connect people in meaningful work, you must first connect with them meaningfully. Last Thursday, July 5th marked a new phase of Ian Martin’s engagement with and commitment to Indigenous communities in our local area and across North America.
In the presence of Shannon Monk Payne of Sakatay Global, employees in our office enjoyed a catered lunch from Toronto Indigenous restaurant NishDish, made tobacco ties, smudged, drummed, sang, and unveiled a beautiful land acknowledgement statement that now adorns the wall when you walk into our headquarters in Oakville, Ontario. The acknowledgement reads:
The headquarters of the Ian Martin Group is located on the traditional territory and treaty lands of the Mississaugas of the New Credit. This sacred land is part of the Dish With One Spoon wampum covenant between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas, and Haudenosaunee that bound them to share, care for, and protect the lands and resources around the Great Lakes. Subsequent Indigenous Nations and Peoples, Europeans, and all newcomers have been invited into this treaty in the spirit of peace, friendship, and respect. We are grateful to work in the community on this territory and recognize our shared responsibility to honour the truth of the land and its treaties while strengthening our relationships with Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island.
For the past four months, a group of employees from Ian Martin embarked on a learning journey with Shannon Monk Payne to build our cultural confidence and awareness with Indigenous communities. Since much of our work is in the oil and gas sector, and since stewardship is a principal value of our organization, this initiative perfectly marries our triple bottom line of people, planet, profit. We have a duty to respect the original stewards of the land upon which we live and work; it is not only the first step towards reconciliation, but it is a step further along our company mission to break down barriers to meaningful employment.
Land acknowledgements are becoming status quo in some organizations, but we are committed to going above and beyond the writing on the wall. Ian Martin has built a business culture steeped in open, honest, and meaningful engagement that seeks to change the way business is done. As such, we want to go beyond simply unveiling these words and having them rest on our walls. We want to live through these words with an enlivened commitment to engage meaningfully with Indigenous nations to foster mutually beneficial partnerships based on trust, accountability, and respect.
To realize this commitment, we have accompanied this land acknowledgement with a series of internal and external action plans to break down barriers Indigenous peoples face and join forces with our local Indigenous communities to realize more meaningful employment for more people. Ian Martin is also part of the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCNI) First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Engagement Committee, which works in partnership with Bruce Power and Ontario Power Generation, as well as Canadian nuclear suppliers, to increase Indigenous representation and opportunity in Canadian business. We have committed to partnering with a local Indigenous organization as part of our newly developed Meaningful Work Foundation. We have established connections and will foster relationships with the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, upon whose traditional lands our headquarters operates. We will be rolling out an Indigenous cultural training program to all our employees. We have established our own Indigenous engagement task force to hold ourselves accountable and to keep improving on our goals. Still, there is much work to be done.
May this mark the beginning of a new journey forward not only to open doors for more people in meaningful work, but to open more doors of understanding and meaning in our commitments to the communities with which we share this land.