On June 21, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) celebrated National Indigenous Peoples Day, taking time to note the unique history and culture, as well as outstanding past and present contributions, of First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada.
At its Toronto office, staff sampled Indigenous cuisine, and were invited to participate in community events and activities, and to view the film “Indian Horse,” a powerful adaptation of Richard Wagamese’s award-winning novel about Canada’s residential schools.
“Marking National Indigenous Peoples Day is one of many ways in which we continue to reflect on the contributions that Indigenous peoples and communities have made to our country and to our project,” said Bob Watts, Vice-President of Indigenous Relations. “Honouring Indigenous perspectives and interweaving Indigenous Knowledge with western science is part of the fabric of the NWMO and an essential element of implementing Canada’s plan for used nuclear fuel.”
There are many examples of steps the NWMO has taken to ensure Indigenous perspectives are sought and included: engaging respectfully with Indigenous communities, seeking and receiving ongoing advice from the Council of Elders and Youth, using guidance drawn from the NWMO’s Aboriginal Policy and Indigenous Knowledge Policy, having staff and contractors participate in Indigenous cultural awareness training, and marking important occasions through ceremony.
Through these initiatives, the NWMO is following calls to action made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2015. The Commission called upon Canadians and Indigenous peoples to establish a new and respectful relationship. It also encouraged corporations to provide education for employees on the history of Indigenous peoples. The NWMO is committed to reconciliation and is working broadly to examine how it can respond to the Commission’s recommendations.