Reflecting on National Indigenous Peoples Day with Jodi Carlow

June 21st, National Indigenous Peoples Day, is a day of reflection, recognition and celebration of the cultures, experiences and achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people of Canada. RAM understands that the key to reconciliation is growing awareness and developing relationships with Indigenous peoples that are based on recognition of rights, respect, collaboration and partnership. By making reconciliation a foundational aspect of our business, RAM has been able to develop several meaningful Indigenous partnerships. This involves seeking relevant and sometimes innovative mechanisms for Indigenous communities to participate in, and advance, as a result of industry projects.

In 2016, and after working closely with Indigenous communities for several years, I was hopeful for betterment when Canada endorsed The United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People, and heightened awareness was developed around the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report with 94 Calls to Action. Still guided by the stories of grief and tragedy of Indigenous People, effecting change continues to drive my actions and the team at RAM as we work to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous People.

Call to Action #92 tasked corporate Canada, among other items, with ensuring Indigenous communities gain long-term sustainable benefit from economic development projects. Our industry needs to be innovative. We need to think outside of typical employment and procurement and create mechanisms to advance capacity and ensure economic benefit through projects. Understanding this, RAM has bonded projects, provided novel training platforms and created support systems to grow Indigenous owned businesses – all tailored to the community needs.

Today is a day to reflect – to recognize the amazing cultures, current challenges, celebrate achievements and make efforts to close the gap. We at RAM remain grateful for those Indigenous communities who trust in us as we strive for continued advancement for Indigenous Peoples.

Jodi is the Manager of Indigenous Relations at RAM with a diverse skillset and a breadth of experience from her work in Indigenous engagement in western Canada. Over the past decade, she has worked with First Nations, businesses, and government agencies at the provincial, territorial, and federal levels, applying a proactive and collaborative approach to ensure projects’ successes. Jodi specializes in economic development and strategic planning; treaty negotiation and treaty implementation; land use planning; and heritage consulting. She has served on treaty advisory teams, as a liaison for treaty-related Working Groups, and sits on the board for eight Indigenous-owned businesses with the Halfway River Group. Skills training and capacity building for Indigenous communities are incorporated into Jodi’s work at every available opportunity.

RAM recognizes Indigenous communities play an important role on current projects and is committed to implementing engagement and consultation processes that build relationships with local communities, engage local resources, and support customer-community values and commitments. The priority of these partnerships is to ensure the Nations have the capacity and training to lead these projects. This allows them to become self sustaining, support their community, and secure more work in the future. Building these behaviours into RAM’s culture ensures diversity and inclusion are valued and promoted at every level. We have applied these approaches directly to our projects with Acho Dene Koe on the Highway 7 Remediation project, with Gitga’at First Nations in their community projects including a Daycare Facility and Marine Emergency Response & Research Facility and with Cook’s Ferry Indian Band on the rebuild of Highway 8.

Additionally, RAM invests in the training and development of those from minority groups. For two consecutive years, RAM has awarded three scholarships to indigenous youths from different nations (Musqueam Nation, Cook’s Ferry Indian Band and Acho Dene Koe First Nation) to pursue a degree in STEM-related fields.

Learn more about RAM’s Indigenous Engagement initiatives here.