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A Personal Reflection: National Indigenous Peoples Day

On this National Indigenous Peoples Day, a day that recognises and celebrates the contributions of the three distinct Indigenous groups in Canada – First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, I want to reflect on the learning that Pathwise Solutions has done in our journey towards building stronger relationships with the Indigenous Peoples in our lives and community.

I am the Creative Director and co-owner of Pathwise Solutions, a family-owned, Indigenous company. We are grateful to have a diverse team of incredible people working with us, most of whom are not Indigenous. I’m not Indigenous but am blessed to work with my life and business partner Kristy, who is Métis, as well as with our daughter, Ally, who is also a co-owner of the business and brings her eLearning development and Illustration skills to the mix. 

Illustration by Ally McLeod

Leading this company with Kristy and Ally has been a steep learning curve for me. It became obvious to me that many of the default ways that I view business, leadership, and my role at Pathwise, come from a strongly colonial perspective – a perspective that I am often unaware of. This isn’t my intention, but this perspective creeps in at unexpected moments and it’s only been through the patience of others that I have been able to slowly recognize and reframe these perspectives. 

My learning does not only come from within our company. We have also had the bounty to work with a variety of Indigenous-led organisations that are helping Canadians work towards decolonization by providing opportunities to learn about the impact of colonialism. The following are some projects that have been instrumental in helping our team, and myself, understand these impacts and their ongoing effects on society. I would like to honour these groups for their contributions to building strong relationships with all Peoples.

indspire logo


Indspire enriches Canada through Indigenous education and by inspiring achievement. We worked with Indspire to create a series of eLearning courses aimed at supporting mentors in their mentorship program, as well as courses specifically meant to educate the general public on residential schools, and the impacts of colonialism on Indigenous Peoples. Working on this project was heart-wrenching, as it was one of the first times that I had the opportunity to dive deep into the history of colonialism in Canada. Personally, I moved from being overwhelmed by the injustices, and gradually starting to look at how I could be an ally, and be part of repairing the damage done.

Parents Advocating Collectively Logo

Parents Advocating Collectively for Kin (PACK) 

This project is a series of short eLearning courses and a learning management system that provides awareness of some of the contemporary issues still facing many marginalized people due to systemic colonial views. These impacts are felt most profoundly by those who are marginalized in our communities, and this series helps individuals working in healthcare and social services to gain an understanding of the effects of some current practices. In this project, one of the main learnings for me was the phrase, “nothing about us, without us”. This has been a rallying cry for the work we are doing–making sure that we are not making assumptions about a group of people and bulldozing ahead as if we (read I) know the solution. This has been both a personal and a professional learning for me.

Orange Jersey Project

This project uses the symbolism of the Orange Shirt from the stories of Phyllis Webstad and the Orange Shirt Society to help facilitate reconciliation. Orange Jerseys are provided to teams who wear them at practices to generate discussions about residential schools and their impacts. We are working with their team to create a set of sport-related modules for ages 7 through to young adults to educate on the effects of residential schools on the Indigenous Peoples living in Canada. This project emphasizes the resilience of people, and in particular, those who have survived residential schools. Phyllis’s stories, and her heartfelt and authentic explanations teach the resiliency of the human spirit.

While a day of celebration, National Indigenous Peoples Day is also a time for reflection and acknowledgement. It shines a light on the contemporary realities facing Indigenous communities and the need for continued work towards reconciliation to address the impacts of colonialism and injustices experienced by Indigenous Peoples living in Canada. Overall, National Indigenous Peoples Day serves to honour Indigenous Peoples’ strength and resilience, educate others about their vital contributions, and foster a renewed relationship based on recognition and respect.

If you are looking for a way to participate in Indigenous Peoples Day, here are some sites that you may be interested in:

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