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“A conference to get ideas to benefit everyone”

July 23, 2015

United Steelworkers National Aboriginal Workshop session

Aboriginal Steelworkers from coast to coast came together for the first-ever National Consultation Workshop to build a stronger union movement by sharing ideas, needs and experiences.Held in Winnipeg on July 20 and 21, the conference brought together over 60 participants.

Here’s a sneak peek of how the workshop went, in the words of the participants:

“This workshop is an opportunity. Reconciliation comes when we see ourselves–when other Canadians see Aboriginal peoples–as more than what we’ve inherited from residential schools and the Indian Act. We can be more than what we’ve been handed.”
United Steelworkers Aboriginal Workshop presenter Niigaan Sinclair

Workshop Speaker Niigaan Sinclair
Head of Native Studies, University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba


“I wanted to come to this workshop to be more educated about the union and to see the Indigenous people from all over Canada. I was surprised to see the vast area covered. And I came to network, to get ideas from others.”
United Steelworkers National Aboriginal Workshop Attendee Jocelyn Dunstan

Jocelyn Dunstan
Haul Truck Operator
Local 7619: Highland Valley Copper
Siska Indian Band, Kamloops, British Columbia


“There are some organizations where everyone talks and nothing gets done. What the Steelworkers are doing here is great and smart of them. Because if the Aboriginal communities know you’re putting on a conference to get ideas to benefit everyone, that’s a good thing.”
United Steelworkers National Aboriginal Workshop Attendee John Sutherland
John Sutherland
Equipment Operator
Local 1-2010: North American Mill Yard Services
Moose Band, Moose Factory, Thunder Bay, Ontario


“I attended because I wanted to see what there was for First Nations people, to see if there was something out there to help other First Nations in the workplace or to get other First Nations to come into the union… It would be good for our membership to have more First Nations involved in the union.”
United Steelworkers National Aboriginal Workshop attendee Susan Oliverius
Susan Oliverius
Electrician
Local 1-423: SRI Homes
Okanagan Indian Band, Kelowna, British Columbia



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