Manitoba Hydro unveils its Indigenous Relations Commitment Statement
Manitoba Hydro recently unveiled its new Indigenous Relations Commitment Statement, which brings together important policies, programs, and practices from across the organization into a single cohesive document and affirms Manitoba Hydro’s efforts towards reconciliation.
“As we continue on our journey to become the Manitoba Hydro of the future, this is an opportune time to affirm our ongoing commitment to Indigenous Peoples in our province,” said Jeff Betker, Manitoba Hydro’s Vice-President, External & Indigenous Relations and Communications. “This succinct, standalone document speaks to the enterprise-wide efforts being made to address the legacy of our historic projects and build strong relationships going forward — critical for our future success as a utility, as an employer, and as an essential service provider in Manitoba.”
For Manitoba Hydro, the development of its Commitment Statement has involved the thoughts, consideration, and care of many employees, including a careful consideration about the accompanying artwork.
“As the words took shape, a collaborative work effort was taken to ensure we took care in how the document was ultimately presented,” said Kevin Monkman, Indigenous & Community Relations. “This is a meaningful and significant document. Traditions, stories, and visions have been told through beadwork, which is why we chose to incorporate beadwork in the design.”
“Beadwork is an important cultural tradition for many Indigenous Nations in Manitoba, and collectively, we agreed including beadwork in the document would show our respect and honour these Nations in a vibrant, interesting way.”
The original artwork included in Manitoba Hydro’s Indigenous Relations Commitment Statement was designed by Red River Métis artist and Manitoba Hydro employee Wendy Bonnie and includes images of land, water, and sky; traditional beadwork patterns alongside a contemporary motif (bullrushes); and symbols of past, present, and future. The overall image is represented within a circle, reflective of traditional worldviews.
Upon the release of the Commitment Statement, Manitoba Hydro encouraged managers and supervisors to review the document with their teams and discuss any questions about it and think about how it applies to their individual work. The utility offers a range of training courses, activities, and other resources for employees to learn about Indigenous cultures and history. These resources, along with the Commitment Statement, are intended to guide and inform work now and into the future and acknowledge the changes and progress that have been underway for some time.
“The Commitment Statement will continue our work towards reconciliation,” said Betker, “and I am very proud of the consideration and care presented in this document and appreciative of the many individuals who contributed to this progress.”