Truth & Reconciliation – Our Collective Responsibility by Melanie Pilon
First and foremost, I love connecting with communities, their leadership and their people. As a proud member of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory and Senior Manager for Indigenous Relations, Bell Canada enables me to be the first point of contact; ultimately setting the stage for realising positive, sustainable change for Indigenous peoples living and working on-reserve.
As Bell Canada embarks on its corporate journey towards truth and reconciliation, I am proud to have the opportunity to provide input on how Bell can work towards achieving the deliverables listed Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action #92, including obtaining free, prior, and informed consent before proceeding with projects , ensuring that Indigenous peoples have access to jobs, training and educational opportunities and that education on Aboriginal Canadian Relations for management and staff is provided.
I have been involved with a number of large subsidy builds including the Grand Council Treaty #3 – Dibaajimowin Project which will improve access to 3,852 households in 21 First Nation communities in northwestern Ontario, in addition to many other rural planning builds slated for Indigenous communities in Ontario. Each of these projects are innovative, exciting and will bring much needed connectivity that will support education, health care and economic development, making an enormous difference to the everyday lives of people.
Many people ask how to successfully work with First Nation people and/or communities? My suggestion is always the same and based on a teaching that is universal to most First Nation people, a set of teachings centred on how all humans should conduct themselves when interacting with one another; the Seven Grandfathers Teachings.
The teachings include: LOVE – RESPECT – COURAGE – HONESTY – WISDOM – HUMILITY & TRUTH. The teachings cannot be used in isolation, rather you must practice them all.