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Elantis Honours the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

By Elantis on September 30, 2022
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Each year on September 30, Elantis honours the lost children and survivors of residential schools, including their families and communities, on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Reconciliation starts with acknowledging the truth about Canada’s residential school system, colonial origins, and the ongoing inter-generational impacts of this tragic and painful history.

Elantis strives to support Indigenous peoples not only on this day but also throughout the year through activities that acknowledge, seek to understand, and amplify Indigenous perspectives both in the tech industry and beyond. Through these efforts, we live our core values to focus on people and to do the right thing.

Elantis Supports Truth and Reconciliation

Last year, Elantis employees donated over $4,500 in support of Indigenous communities. The funds were donated to Indspire, an organization that disburses financial awards, delivers programs, and shares resources with the goal of increasing graduation rates for Indigenous students. Their resources serve educators, communities, rural areas, and other stakeholders who are committed to improving kindergarten to grade 12 Indigenous student success.

This year, we hosted an educational presentation for our staff in advance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Dr. Crystal Gail Fraser facilitated a presentation on Indigenous history and how employees can take ongoing action in support of truth and reconciliation. Dr. Fraser is Gwichyà Gwich’in, originally from Inuvik, Northwest Territories. She is an assistant professor in History and Native Studies at the University of Alberta and is a member of the Governing Circle for the National Centre of Truth and Reconciliation. Dr. Fraser was recently appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Residential School Missing Children and Unmarked Graves.

Many Elantis employees also show their support by wearing an orange shirt on September 30, in honour of the children who survived residential schools and in remembrance of those who did not. The orange shirt is a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom, and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations. We wear an orange shirt to promote the concept of “Every Child Matters.”

Indigenous Data Sovereignty

When considering the archival research that continues to unveil the history of residential schools in Canada, the concept of Indigenous data sovereignty is increasing in importance. One of the key principles is that Indigenous peoples have the right to ownership and governance over data about them, regardless of where that data is held.

Protecting sensitive Indigenous data is especially important with cloud technologies and can be managed by:

  • Preventing data breaches by restricting access to only those who are authorized,
  • Implementing policies to protect stored data, and
  • Ensuring governance around encryption, storage, and lifecycle policies.

By using secure cloud-based technologies such as Microsoft SharePoint, Elantis supports organizations and governments with protecting sensitive data, managing data governance, and implementing access management.

Supporting Indigenous IT Professionals

As an equal opportunity employer, Elantis supports recruitment of Indigenous IT professionals. Although there is still a lot of work left to do to increase Indigenous representation in IT careers, programs such as the Government of Canada’s IT Apprenticeship Program for Indigenous Peoples are creating opportunities for Indigenous peoples who have a passion for and interest in working in IT roles.

Elantis not only calls upon our organization, but all organizations to invest in the recruitment and training of Indigenous IT professionals, giving them an opportunity to make an impact on the IT industry while advancing the process of reconciliation.

Ways to Commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

There are many ways to commemorate the history and legacy of residential schools. Here are a few ideas:

  • Visit your local museum to learn about Indigenous history (e.g., Royal Alberta Museum, Museum of Vancouver).
  • Attend live events at your local library or municipality.
  • Participate in a community run/walk/march to raise funds for Indigenous causes (e.g., Orange Shirt Day Run/Walk in the Edmonton River Valley).
  • Watch a film by an Indigenous filmmaker about the tragic impact of residential schools in Canada.
  • Take the University of Alberta’s Indigenous Canada free online course to learn the different histories and contemporary perspectives of Indigenous peoples living in Canada.

Continuously learning about the rich and diverse cultures and experiences of Indigenous peoples is a vital component of the reconciliation process. If you would like to know more about how Elantis is making efforts to support Indigenous peoples or if you would like provide input on how we can better enhance these efforts, please contact us.

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