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National Indigenous History Month: Building an inclusive workplace for Indigenous Peoples and our team members

June 1, 2022

Articles

Sportsnet Studio Land Acknowledgment Plaque

At Rogers, we’re on a journey of reconciliation as we continue to build an inclusive workplace for Indigenous People and all our team members. One of the ways we are raising awareness of the Indigenous presence and their traditional territory within our everyday life is through the Land Acknowledgement Plaque Project.

The goal of the Land Acknowledgement Plaque Project is to design and install dedicated land acknowledgement plaques throughout as many Rogers corporate and retail locations. To date, the team of five, led by Nicole McCormick, Senior Manager, Newsgathering at CityNews Toronto, Indigenous Chair of the Rogers Indigenous Peoples’ Network (IPN) Employee Resource Group (ERG), has installed 30 plaques in various corporate locations across Canada including the Rogers Centre in Toronto; the City OMNI Vancouver studio; Kitchener, Ontario office; and most recently the Sportsnet Studio in Toronto. Some of the plaques are accompanied by a beautiful piece of art created by talented Indigenous artists.

The team is on track to install another 20 – 30 land acknowledgement plaques this year in our corporate locations, and will soon begin installing plaques at retail locations across the country.

We had the opportunity to hear from the team about the importance of this initiative, and what this project means to them.

What inspired you to bring this project to life?

Nicole McCormick – Senior Manager, Newsgathering at CityNews Toronto, Indigenous Chair of the Rogers Indigenous Peoples’ Network (IPN) Employee Resource Group (ERG):

“A land acknowledgement offers open respect for Indigenous people who have loved and nurtured the land for many generations. They recognize the continuing relationship to the land. Authentic land acknowledgement can also raise awareness about histories that have been historically supressed or erased. It has always been my goal to educate my colleagues about our connection to this land and land acknowledgements, both audible and visual, are a tangible step towards reconciliation. They are our reconcili-ACTION. This idea for this project began in 2019 when I, alongside a small yet mighty team, created our first land acknowledgement pillar outside the Rogers Downie-Wenjack Legacy Space inside the Rogers Headquarters. This pillar was followed by our first land acknowledgement plaque at Rogers 302, the Rogers flagship store in downtown Toronto. These land acknowledgements resonated with colleagues and customers alike. The team proposed a project that will see land acknowledgement plaques installed in all Rogers corporate and retail locations.  I am so proud to say this project has been supported from its onset. Land acknowledgements have become engrained in the culture at Rogers.”

As someone who identifies as Indigenous, why do you believe it is important to have a land acknowledgement plaque at both Rogers corporate and retail sites?

Pamela Anderson – Regional Logistics Manager, Rogers Sports & Media:

“The land acknowledgment plaques recognize and honour Indigenous peoples for their stewardship of the land since time immemorial. The land acknowledgement symbolizes one way Rogers is committed to the process of truth and reconciliation. As a Métis woman, I am proud to be part of this step towards raising awareness in our organization and in our retail stores for the public to view. My hope is that when others see these plaques, their hearts are opened to the opportunity to learn more about the Indigenous peoples in their community.”

Nicole McCormick – Senior Manager, Newsgathering at CityNews Toronto, Indigenous Chair of the Rogers Indigenous Peoples’ Network (IPN) Employee Resource Group (ERG):

“As a proud Kanienʼkehá꞉ka (Mohawk woman), it is important to me that I can come to work as my authentic self and that my uniqueness and history on Turtle Island is respected and understood. The installation of land acknowledgement plaques is important to my legacy here at Rogers. They give me a sense of pride when I look around to know my presence is valued. The plaques also give my non-Indigenous colleagues a sense of pride, too. Team members come to me to tell me what they are learning and they are taking their own initiative to verbalize land acknowledgements during a meeting or town hall and have made requests for their plaques too.  It shows me that people want to learn. They want to honour the original stewards of this land. They want to do their part in ensuring Indigenous people are seen, heard and that the history of this country is never repeated.”

As someone who doesn’t identify as Indigenous, why did you decide to get involved and why do you believe it is important to have a land acknowledgement plaque on both Rogers corporate and retail sites?

Allegra Lindala – Manager CRE Business Partner, Portfolio Planning and Client:

“I have been very inspired by the work the I&D community has done at Rogers and when the opportunity came along to leverage my Corporate Real Estate knowledge and experience, I jumped at the chance to join the team rolling out the physical representations of our commitment to honouring our Indigenous history for all of our employees and customers to see, read and appreciate.”

Maryka Box – Account Manager, Creative Services:

“My involvement began with the Downie-Wenjack Legacy Space within our Office Space at One Mount Pleasant Road, Toronto. Upon its completion, I felt a sense of pride knowing I was part of something so much greater than I could imagine. I also felt I was now very protective of the space. I then joined the Indigenous Peoples’ Network, which allows me to learn more on how I can become a better ally, a better community member with my Indigenous colleagues. My continued allyship is one of growth and how I can steward our community and country towards Reconciliation.”

Miyako Panalaks – Senior Manager Workplace Plan, Portfolio Planning and Client:

“I decided to get involved in the Land Acknowledgement project after participating in the design and launch of Rogers first Downie Wenjack legacy & reconciliation space. After being a part of such and amazing project I wanted to help with continuing Rogers’ reconciliation journey. Land acknowledgments are so important as not only are they a sign of respect and an educational tool but a way to make our Indigenous employees and guest feel welcome and included.”