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A Path Toward Reconciliation: IAP2 Canada's Journey to Strengthen Indigenous Inclusion

16 Jan 2024 10:28 AM | Anonymous

In recent years, IAP2 Canada brought together Indigenous and non-Indigenous P2 and engagement professionals to reflect on its past, present, and future commitment to Truth, reconciliation and Indigenous inclusion. The strategic path that emerged from the task force is grounded in both historical awareness and contemporary action and signals a shift for the organization, highlighting its dedication to facilitating meaningful change within public participation and self-determination principles.

The Urgency of Truth and Reconciliation

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Calls to Justice have underscored the critical need to address the long-standing and ongoing injustices faced by Indigenous peoples. The impact of colonization on Indigenous communities is profound and undeniable. As professionals in public participation, there lies a responsibility to not only acknowledge this stark reality but to actively engage in dismantling colonial structures, amplifying Indigenous voices, and supporting self-determination. The TRC's calls to action provide a roadmap for IAP2 Canada's commitment to goals LEARN, DO, SAY and SUPPORT.

The Evolution of IAP2 Canada's Commitment

Beginning in 2015, with recommendations from the Indigenous Inclusion Sub-Committee, IAP2 Canada's journey to advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples has been both reflective and proactive. Beginning with an acknowledgment of the historical impacts of colonization, the organization will begin a journey of internal reflection, examining its practices and policies to foster more inclusive decision-making processes that promote Indigenous perspectives.

Educational Initiatives and Partnerships

A key component of IAP2 Canada's approach is education. The organization has actively provided training and resources to members, staff, and the public, enhancing understanding of Indigenous histories, cultures, and perspectives. This has involved collaborations with Indigenous organizations and knowledge holders, ensuring respectful and comprehensive content delivery.

Key Educational Programs:

  1. Learning Program for Indigenous Awareness: Developed with the late Elder Lloyd Ewenin, this program is a semi-structured, cohort-based initiative aimed at increasing engagement professionals’ comfort and capability to take action to advance reconciliation, both personally and professionally.
  2. Training Courses: These include 'Indigenous Awareness for Engagement Professionals', 'Engagement Methods for Indigenous Cultural Contexts', and 'Indigenous Inclusion: Putting the TRC Calls into Action'.
  3. Indigenous Engagement Community of Practice (CoP): Launched in 2016, the CoP facilitates discussions and strategies on Indigenous inclusion and has featured speakers from diverse Indigenous backgrounds.

Ongoing Self-Assessment and Action

IAP2 Canada's contribution and commitment is to:

  • Reflect on the history, work, and processes of our organization that have supported and created systemic exclusion and harms of Indigenous peoples within the profession and practice of P2 and engagement;
  • Create and maintain space for Indigenous peoples in public participation including IAP2 Canada's ecosystem;
  • Increase awareness of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (Indigenous) cultures and values through intercultural competency professional development programs;
  • Encourage practitioners to build respectful and reciprocal relationships with Indigenous peoples and communities to create trust; and
  • Participate in the truth and reconciliation journey through learning, awareness, and partnerships with Indigenous organizations.

The organization is also exploring strategies to build an inclusive membership and partnerships that support reconciliation.

The Road Ahead

As IAP2 Canada continues its journey, it remains steadfast in its commitment to reflecting, learning, evolving, and challenging itself to do better. The path toward reconciliation is recognized as an ongoing process, requiring a consistent commitment to amplifying Indigenous voices, dismantling colonial structures, and promoting a more inclusive, equitable future.

IAP2 Canada's strategic journey toward reconciliation and Indigenous inclusion is an example of an organization's dedication to meaningful change. By integrating internal reflection, education, and action into their operations, they set a precedent for others in the field of public participation and beyond. The journey is ongoing, and the determination to make a lasting impact is clear – a testament to the power of commitment and the potential for transformative change.

Learn more about IAP2 Canada’s Framework for Supporting Reconciliation here.

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