Indigenous Peoples have a deep spiritual and cultural connection with the Earth and hold the worldview that everything from the sea to the sky is connected—what is done to Earth will be felt by the animals and humans that live on the Earth.
Not only do we respect and value the history and experiences of Indigenous Peoples, but we want to learn how to honour their worldviews. Indigenous worldviews bring new awareness to the company and encourage us to pause and think about ways of doing things differently that may include Indigenous perspectives or knowledge, this includes our consultation approach. We continue to listen, learn and understand Indigenous perspectives through training and immersive learning opportunities.
Suncor has offered Indigenous training to employees since 2011 and our training has evolved since then. By the end of 2020, more than 12,000 people across the company completed our Indigenous web-based and instructor-led training. Our instructor-led training was updated in 2020 to include the virtual and interactive course called Canada’s History with Indigenous Peoples (CHIP)—a two-half day course that builds on our web-based Aboriginal Awareness* training. CHIP takes learners through an honest and sometimes emotional journey through Indigenous Peoples first contact with European explorers, the residential school system and Indian hospitals, up to the 2015 release of Truth and Reconciliation Report and beyond.*We are transitioning our language from “Aboriginal” to “Indigenous,” after consolations with our employees. However, some references still require updating, including our Aboriginal Awareness training and Canadian Aboriginal Relations Policy. Thank you for your understanding and patience as we make these changes.
Sharing Indigenous Knowledge and Culture
In addition to our Indigenous training, cultural learning experiences such as traditional medicine harvesting are offered to Indigenous and non-Indigenous employees through Suncor’s employee inclusion network, Journeys.
Originally launched as the Aboriginal Employee Network in 2015, Journeys is run by employees wanting to play a role in advancing Indigenous inclusion at Suncor, while creating a safe and supportive workplace for Indigenous employees. Over the years, Journeys has hosted gatherings, celebrations, and events honouring Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Orange Shirt Day, and National Indigenous Peoples Day.
Over the last year, many of the activities hosted by Journeys were moved to an online format to adhere to public health restrictions. Despite the lack of in-person events, the Journeys membership grew in 2020 and now includes more than 800 members across Suncor.
Suncor also uses the power of storytelling to raise awareness and share knowledge about Indigenous history and culture, covering stories such as National Indigenous Veterans Day, Moose Hide pin campaign and personal experiences of racism.