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Our Promise to Indigenous Peoples
The North West Company (“NWC” or “North West”) recognizes its longstanding relationship with Indigenous Peoples and its role as the largest provider of goods and services to Indigenous communities in northern Canada. North West’s predecessor entities were fur trading and provisioning companies that economically intertwined with Indigenous Nations for hundreds of years, well before the accelerated settler periods of the 19th and early 20th centuries. North West acknowledges its predecessors were also instruments of European sovereignty and power that contributed to the colonization of Indigenous territories and Nations that make up the geography of Canada today. In the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation, we acknowledge Canada’s colonial history and the policies of racism that created power imbalances throughout history and the resulting harm done to Indigenous Peoples.
Our Promise to Indigenous Peoples is a reaffirmed commitment to building more collaborative relationships that will enhance the inclusion and social well-being of Indigenous People of Canada. We fully commit to the spirit of reconciliation reflected in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and final report.
North West’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples
- As a freshly-founded, independent Canadian company in 1987, The North West Company started on a fresh path with its relationship with Indigenous Peoples that emphasized serving communities with a fresh approach to community relations.
- In 1997, North West became the first Canadian public company to declare support for the self-government principles within the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) final report.
- Since the affirmation of RCAP, North West has focused on being a reliable, trusted provider of goods and services for the communities it serves, while continuing to engage in partnerships.
Taking the Relationship to a New Level
- We recognize that while Indigenous relations at NWC are intensely community-based and more integral to our sustainability compared to most companies in Canada, we can and must play a larger national role.
- We reaffirm our support for the self-government principles within the report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP),
- We fully support the spirit of reconciliation reflected in the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) which urges Canadians to see the broader disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and address them where possible.
- We acknowledge the final report of the National Inquiry and final report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) builds on the work of the TRC by calling on Canadians to take action in support of Indigenous women, girls and peoples of diverse genders and sexualities.
North West’s Commitments
- Our commitments and actions are guided by Call to Action 92 and the Untied Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as well as the respectful consultations with the diverse Indigenous Peoples we serve.
- Each commitment demands meaningful opportunities for impact and shifting attitudes and behaviours to get results.
- Each commitment fails under three strategic pillars: Well-Being & Security, Stronger Community Bonds, Inclusion & Economic Success.
Well-Being & Security
North West commits to working collaboratively with Indigenous Peoples to advance health and well-being in the communities we serve.
- Increase grant funding to Indigenous children and youth programming through the Healthy Horizons Foundation (HHF), a charity founded by North West that supports healthy-living programs and initiatives in northern and remote communities.
- Work with Indigenous communities to address barriers they may experience within the HHF grant application process.
- Implement new avenues of advocacy such as healthy northern families, food security & income, quality of life, thriving Indigenous economies, Indigenous language preservation, better education outcomes.
- Increase awareness of HHF with internal employees and commit to increased fundraising annually.
Stronger Community Bonds
North West commits to developing stronger community bonds by recognizing the past and committing to a better future.
- Revamp annual community meetings with greater Executive involvement and consistency.
- Establish regular communications with Indigenous representatives outside North West that will provide guidance and feedback to NWC as it develops policies and practices that respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and final report.
- Expand Indigenous history, cultural safety and awareness training to North West staff.
- Establish metrics for the Promise commitments and provide annual updates on progress as part of community meetings with Indigenous leaders.
Inclusion & Economic Success
North West commits to improving Indigenous inclusion in store and head office management while encouraging Indigenous economic development.
- Procurement – establish a process and key metrics that allow North West to expand its engagement with Indigenous businesses to increase penetration of local products and services while enhancing its existing Indigenous Procurement policy.
- Increase Indigenous representation in Store Management.
- Increase Indigenous representation in support office.
- Launch Internal Indigenous Advisory Committee that will provide guidance and feedback to North West as it develops policies and practices that respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and final report.