by Women Building Future
(ANNews) – Women Building Futures is committed to helping Indigenous women achieve their goals. We offer free career coaching, math upgrading, and tools for success workshops. Our Indigenous Community Relations Team works closely with Indigenous communities to raise awareness of the growing employment and training opportunities for women in the skilled trades, driving, operating industries and more.
Indigenous women have historically been the backbone of their communities, passing on traditional teachings and skills. Today, more and more Indigenous women are recognizing that these skills and teachings are transferable to the construction, trades, and driving industries. Many of our graduates are now working in careers that provide them with higher earnings and a rewarding, fulfilling future that positively impacts their families and communities.
We spoke with our Indigenous Community Relations lead, Arlene Twin, about the importance of Indigenous Peoples Day and the work of the Indigenous Community Relations team at Women Building Futures.
What does Indigenous Peoples Day mean to you?
Indigenous Peoples Day to me, means that Canada recognizes the contributions of Indigenous people in the development of the country we know as our home. It means that I can practice my cultural traditions without fear of conviction. I can be proud of my background, language, ceremonies, and my ancestry.
Why is it important that we celebrate?
Although there is a history of the treatment of Indigenous people in Canada, we have persevered, prospered, and continue to share our culture and connection with the land. It is important to reflect on the past to change the future. Celebrating helps us remember and witness the beauty, love, and connection we have with one another. Our purpose in life is to take care of each other and ensure the best possible future for the next generations. Celebrations bring people together and create healthy environments to move forward.
It is important that Women Building Futures celebrates this day to honour the Indigenous women in our programs, the Indigenous communities we work with, our own Indigenous staff, and most importantly to respect the first peoples of the land called Canada. Indigenous people in Canada hold rights and entitlements that helped create the economy and that ripples down to the women coming into our programs, graduating, and finding success in their careers.
How does Women Building Futures engage with and support Indigenous women?
Prior to the pandemic, WBF would engage with Indigenous women by visiting communities, providing workshops, setting up booths at pow wows, and honouring the communities and individuals we work with at our Round Dance celebration. More recently, WBF has engaged with communities by participating and supporting ceremonies, going to sweats, learning to follow proper protocol in the communities we visit and learning how we can better support the women.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, WBF has created reoccurring online workshops to help develop skills, provide life-coaching and math supports to help remove barriers. We have Indigenous ambassadors and alumni that we work with even after they have graduated to be quest speakers and to be role models. Most recently, I have been asked to provide an empowering, motivational speaking session with one of our Journeywoman Start classes that focused on perseverance, life stories and using barriers and challenges to your advantage.
My favourite part of my role is having the opportunity to share my lived experiences, culture, knowledge, and provide a learning path for others to create a more inclusive environment for Indigenous people. When I get to connect with the people wanting to make a difference in women’s lives and be a cheerleader to the women in our programs, it is the most rewarding feeling and gives me a sense of purpose.
If you’re interested in learning more about our programs and services, visit womenbuildingfutures.ca