Last month, OpenText joined millions of Canadians in recognizing the third annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day to honor the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children who never returned home from Residential Schools in Canada, and the impact on their families, their communities, and the Survivors. As a Canadian-founded and headquartered company, we are committed to understanding Canada’s history with Indigenous Peoples, and taking action to foster healing, reconciliation, and a more inclusive and just future.
One of the best ways we can support Indigenous Peoples is to educate ourselves. We know that reconciliation is a verb — it requires meaningful and sustained action for any chance of success. Over the past two years, OpenText has taken many steps to listen, learn, and act.
Equal access equals opportunity. We are striving for Zero Barriers, and now, we have aligned our goals with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. OpenText is committed to elevating Indigenous employees and communities by reducing inequalities by way of job creation for Indigenous students, ensuring good health and well-being through strategic partnerships, and supporting quality education. These areas of focus are something we can all get behind at OpenText — from how we work and make business decisions, to how we engage our employees and recruit for new talent.
Elevating Indigenous communities through job creation
One of the most impactful actions we can take as a company is to create jobs. Following our commitment to partner with Lakehead University to create pathways to digital jobs for Indigenous students, we have welcomed our first two cohorts for summer placements, bringing unique skills and perspectives to our organization that have made us stronger. This year, we expanded our OpenText Navigator Internship program to welcome Indigenous student interns from the University of Waterloo starting in summer 2024, and we’ve already started recruiting for some positions.
Student intern Sheanna Bannon at a recruitment event for the OpenText Navigator Internship program.
Partnering with foundations that support well-being
We’re committed to elevating Indigenous communities through strategic and thoughtful partnerships with organizations focused on good health and well-being. The Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation empowers the next generation of youths in over 140 Indigenous communities with a focus on health, education, arts and culture, and recreation and sports. We believe strongly in their vision for the future and are honored to support their mission with a $10,000 donation.
The Legacy of Hope Foundation (LHF) educates Canadians to build empathy and understanding of the impacts that generations of Indigenous Peoples experienced while in the Residential School System and to address ongoing racism and discrimination. LHF concurrently works to support ongoing healing for Survivors and their families. This aligns closely with our purpose, and we are pleased to donate $10,000 to their cause again this year. We also unveiled a special art installation featuring Peter Henderson Bryce at our Waterloo headquarters, courtesy of LHF. Henderson Bryce was a Canadian physician and public health official remembered for his efforts to advise the Canadian government of the health and living conditions of Indigenous Peoples within Residential Schools, and his calls for reform. As part of this display, employees shared their messages of hope for Indigenous communities across Canada. Both foundations have generously offered their time and expertise to educate OpenTexters, and we are fortunate to have such dedicated partners in our learning journey.
Part of the Legacy of Hope Foundation exhibition at OpenText headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario.
Raising awareness of Indigenous issues — and hope for the future
Michael Acedo, OpenText’s EVP and Chief Legal Officer, and the Executive Sponsor of our Indigenous & Allies Employee Network, took this opportunity to host an extremely moving and impactful panel discussion with Teresa Edwards, Executive Director of the Legacy of Hope Foundation and Yvonne Jamieson, Executive Director of the Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation.
With hundreds of employees in attendance at our Waterloo headquarters, and a livestream to thousands of OpenTexters around the world, Teresa and Yvonne discussed the conditions of Residential Schools, the Sixties Scoop, and the enduring impact it had on communities. “We must educate each other, even if that is one person at a time,” said Yvonne Jamieson. “I hope that everyone here today goes back home and tells even one person what they learned. That will be a step forward in the right direction.
“We must educate each other, even if that is one person at a time. I hope that everyone goes back home and tells even one person what they learned. That will be a step forward in the right direction.”
YVONNE JAMIESON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DREAMCATCHER CHARITABLE FOUNDATION
It was not easy to hear about the atrocities that took place against Indigenous Peoples. It is also difficult to understand how this mistreatment could happen in Canada during our lifetime. However, both Teresa and Yvonne shared their optimism for the future. “It’s like Canadians have woken up,” said Teresa. “The outpouring of people willing to share information, putting up exhibitions in schools, at the pharmacy, at the mall, that goes a long way.” There is more media coverage about Indigenous truths, and new ways to learn about Indigenous history. Indigenous traditions, such as languages and food sovereignty are being revitalized, helping Indigenous Peoples to restore unity, belonging, and pride.
There is also hope for new generation of youth who did not attend Residential Schools, where the cycle of abuse has been broken. “So many great things are happening,” said Teresa, “and our children are going to know a whole new life than anything we’ve lived, our parents lived, and our families lived.”
At OpenText, we are committed to being a part of that new life.
Teresa Edwards (left), Executive Director, Legacy of Hope Foundation, and Yvonne Jamieson, Executive Director, Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation, discussed the impacts of Canada’s Residential School System on seven generations of Indigenous Peoples at an OpenText employee event in Waterloo, Ontario.