Last week, I identified a “missing piece” to the reconciliation journey, namely the fact that before Indigenous people can truly begin to heal, they must be removed from the line of fire.
Today, I want to highlight yet another misstep in the current reconciliation journey. Namely, the PUSH to upgrade Indigenous skills, supposedly to address the unemployment/poverty issue (although there is an argument to be made that this is more about a mainstream labour shortage than it is about “what is best for Indigenous people”, but I digress).
The problem – healing must come before employment skills or Indigenous workers are almost guaranteed to become HR nightmares! Why?
Simple – healthy work environments require healthy people.
Throw a bunch of traumatized people onto a job site or into an office and watch how they react to conflicts that are bound to happen. Not because they are “less than” but because they have been previously traumatized. Without healing and support, without conflict resolution training, without assertive training, employment will not and cannot lead to retention and THAT must change.
In short, to move forward, we must stop believing that mainstream need is Indigenous need. The best house in the world will be torn apart if we do not look at the illness inside. And the greatest job in the world won’t last if you have not healed enough to realize you deserve more than “less than”.
But if we heal, and then build, we can reconcile.
The journey continues …
Sandi is a Proud Indigenous Speaker, Author, Entrepreneur