Message from the Deputy Minister Champion for Indigenous Federal Employees: Indigenous Commemorative and Awareness days

May 19, 2020 – Defence Stories

Dear colleagues,

Now is the time of year when we turn our attention to Indigenous commemorative and awareness days. Public Service wide, we have benefited and continue to benefit from the unique perspectives, ideas, and diversity brought by Indigenous employees across the country, and in our respective roles as Chairs and Champions for Indigenous employees and networks we hold a special responsibility to acknowledge and support the celebration of Aboriginal Awareness Week in May, National Indigenous History Month in June and National Indigenous Peoples Day – June 21, in departments and organizations.

COVID-19 has required us to adapt our tools, approaches and strategies to a rapidly changing work environment. In the past, we dedicated a lot of our time and resources with just in time activities, events and gatherings. This year, we can help our respective departments and organizations adapt the way it celebrates these commemorative and awareness days, by turning to more virtual tools and activities.

I invite you to re-acquaint yourself with the many online resources available to support our efforts at Canada.ca website that includes promotional services and information related to Indigenous peoples and cultures. There are many topics referenced, including among others, a Kids’ Stop fun zone with information about Indigenous history, culture and languages, as well as games, videos and stories. During this period of confinement, many of our colleagues who work from home while also taking care of their children would likely appreciate awareness building activities that also includes their kids.

As you know, this year, Mental Health Week focused on social connection, in response to the challenging circumstances we all find ourselves in because of COVID-19. Connecting with our colleagues, friends and communities is important. Thanks to technology, we can help nurture a sense of connection and togetherness from the safety of our own homes.

Finally, in addition to what has already been communicated to support public servants I wish to share the following resources that could support Indigenous colleagues, funded by the Government of Canada and geared toward Indigenous people nationwide: the Hope for Wellness Help Line provides immediate mental health counselling and crisis intervention, available 24/7, to talk in English or French, as well as Cree, Ojibway or Inuktitut upon request; the ShelterSafe to support individuals living with abuse and unable to leave their home, with information or just someone to talk; and the  Ottawa Indigenous Coalition, which offers significant information on mental health and the medicine wheel.

I look forward to our next face to face meeting, until then, stay safe and let me thank you for your ongoing efforts to support Indigenous inclusion within the Public Service of Canada.

Best regards,
Gina Wilson
Deputy Minister Champion for Indigenous Federal Employees
EECCC Secretariat, Employment Equity, Diversity and Inclusion,
Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Government of Canada

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