The future is indigenous
Steve Vaivada, member of the Blood Tribe of Western Canada, Indigenous Business Lead, and Water Resource Engineer
Integrating Indigenous communities into our project delivery is crucial whether we are mining in New Zealand, collaborating with our clients on pipeline and liquefied natural gas projects in Canada, or seeking opportunities in Africa and South America, we always strive to reduce the risk of failure and waste in our projects by integrating indigenous communities into our project delivery. Beyond improving our efficiency and KPIs, as an international industry leader we have so much to gain from integrating the perspective and values of Indigenous Peoples and their culture into our work.
In many sectors, our clients are requiring that we prove our commitment to the local communities impacted by their projects. This includes listing our current relationships with Indigenous Economic Development Entities, detailing our current contracts and expenditures with Indigenous-owned companies, and listing our Indigenous team members. This requirement may vary by region but the need does not. We fully understand we provide greater value to our clients and the users of their projects by incorporating progressive inclusion and employment practices in our projects.
This makes perfect sense when our clients put the challenge before us. But, we also need to challenge ourselves to raise the bar and make it standard practice to evaluate the benefits of Indigenous inclusion in our projects. So, what can we do to make this change happen?
As managers and leaders, we can continue to seek out Indigenous candidates to fill positions across our company, and to support those individuals that envision their career as deeply connected to their communities and see Indigenous Peoples as their clients. As a company, we can realise significant social capital by reaching out and sharing our expertise and experience where that capacity is lacking. As individuals, we can learn about and appreciate Indigenous cultures and history, and take the lead in our teams and offices to be a part of the global groundswell of support for the historically impoverished Indigenous Peoples who continue to be disadvantaged in many ways.
The writing is on the wall as the future of the egalitarian, equitable, and civilised society that we all want to live in is destined to be increasingly Indigenous.
Meet the blogger
Steven Vaivada is a member of the Blood Tribe of Western Canada, Indigenous Business Lead, and Water Resource Engineer based in Calgary, Canada. Steven has assisted Indigenous communities on issues of water, community infrastructure, and capacity building. He is focused on developing a training program to identify staff that have the capacity and desire to work with Indigenous communities and support their development. When he’s not building dams or capacity, he is camping or skiing with his wife Rachelle and their sons, Emmett and Charlie.