October 03, 2021 – 02:33 PM
Okanagan’s Prospera Credit Unions were closed for the first National Truth and Reconciliation Day as its 750 or so employees were logged in via Zoom for reflection.
The keynote speaker for the video conference was Osoyoos Indian Band Chief Clarence Louie, who detailed the origins of truth and reconciliation from his perspective, why it is important that conversations take place and the significant impacts of residential schools.
The credit union staff then broke into small groups by department and held separate conversations led by their manager.
Finding a meaningful way for employees to spend National Truth and Reconciliation Day – like the way the credit union approached it – is something every workplace should do every year on September 30, said Chief Louie.
“I think most people are happy to have a day off with pay… Most people, native or not, take it off and don’t think much about residential schools or why there are these issues between. Canada and indigenous people.
After listening to Chief Louie’s speech and having the opportunity to brainstorm, Prospera employees exchanged ideas on the role they can play in reconciliation.
TJ Schmaltz, chief executive and legal counsel at Prospera, said some of the ideas emerging from the discussions included professional development within the organization for Indigenous employees, as well as using the company’s charitable foundation to grant grants to organizations that help victims of residential schools or employment. programs that target opportunities for indigenous peoples.
READ MORE: Osoyoos Indian Band Chief considers National Truth and Reconciliation Day a ‘small step’ in the right direction
Schmaltz said the credit union wanted the day to have real meaning and impact.
“It wasn’t just a day off, we wanted it to be a day of reflection,” he said. “The news that comes out of truth and reconciliation is so devastating. How can we turn this into a positive impact for the communities we love, work and play?
Beyond this one day dedicated to education and reflection, Schmaltz said it is important for the Prospera team to develop engaging conversations throughout the year.
“It’s about honoring the fact that this is a trip,” he said.
READ MORE: A driver walks into a credit union in Vernon
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