National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 2023

September 29, 2023

Today, I’d like to acknowledge the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Sept. 30, a day to confront the painful legacy of mistreatment and abuse endured by Indigenous Peoples throughout Canada’s history. It also serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing inequities that persist and underscores the collective commitment required for genuine reconciliation.

At Actua, we understand the profound significance of this day. Our dedication to learning and understanding the truth and our unwavering commitment to reconciliation are deeply embedded in our work and values every day, especially today.

Our Journey to Reconciliation

For three decades, Actua has worked to create inclusive spaces for STEM education, and in doing so, we have been privileged to learn from and collaborate with Indigenous individuals, Elders, and leaders. This collaboration and learning are critical to shaping our reconciliation journey. 

Actua’s National Indigenous Youth in STEM (InSTEM) program, established over 20 years ago, is an impactful example of the action we are taking toward reconciliation. In partnership with 200 First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, InSTEM engages 35,000 Indigenous youth annually. Through our InSTEM model, we aim to achieve systemic change that will pave the way for Indigenous youth to expand their knowledge, skills and confidence in STEM, leading to greater Indigenous representation in STEM fields. 

Guided by Actua’s Indigenous leadership team, the InSTEM program engages youth from a young age through high school and post-secondary education, preparing them for success in their chosen career paths. Through this program, we are engaging Indigenous youth in culturally relevant STEM experiences that build skills and confidence, and allow participants to recognize and celebrate their existing cultural knowledge as Indigenous Peoples.

In tandem with direct youth engagement, we are working on systemic change through engagement and partnerships with school boards. We support Indigenous cultural content in classrooms and culturally significant STEM engagement with Indigenous students, and we also provide training for educators on how to nurture inclusive learning environments. 

Furthermore, we establish partnerships with industry to facilitate connections and networking opportunities for Indigenous youth, allowing them to explore career opportunities and pathways. This engagement also assists organizations in understanding how to engage, hire, and retain Indigenous talent and further builds local community connections.

We prioritize direct engagement with Indigenous community members throughout this process, and in all of our InSTEM program delivery, recognizing that meaningful change requires the leadership of Indigenous Peoples and the participation of numerous stakeholders. 

Our “In Solidarity: We Are All Treaty People” land acknowledgment and statement underscore our dedication to reconciliation, as does the ongoing leadership of Indigenous members within our organization, on our Board of Directors and through engagement with Indigenous community partners. We recognize that reconciliation is an ongoing journey that demands sustained effort, understanding, compassion, and, most importantly, action.

Our Commitment

As we reflect on the actions we are taking at Actua, we acknowledge that our commitment to reconciliation remains an ongoing journey. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation serves as a poignant reminder of this responsibility. 

Today, as we remember the past and the challenges that persist, let us also look to the future with a renewed sense of purpose. Let us redouble our efforts to create inclusive STEM spaces where Indigenous youth can see themselves and their cultures reflected, and where they can cultivate the skills and confidence to pursue STEM education and careers. Let us work collaboratively to dismantle barriers, support mental health, bridge digital inequities, and promote reconciliation within our classrooms, communities and systems.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our dedicated team, our partners, and the Indigenous communities and individuals who have generously shared their knowledge and experiences with us. Together, we will continue to strive for a more inclusive, equitable, and reconciled future.

For more information on reconciliation

We encourage everyone in Canada to recognize the role they play in reconciliation and continue to learn about the perspectives, cultures and histories of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Here are just a few resources:

For assistance and support

For anyone who may need immediate assistance and support, the National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day at 1-866-925-4419.