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Indigenous Human Resources Approach in Service

Based on the four directions (north, east, south and west) and their corresponding elements, this image represents the university’s commitment to Indigenous employees.

The image also includes sweetgrass to represent kindness; a feather to represent a pen since the university is an educational institution; stars to represent the star blanket that was gifted to the university in 2013; and the medicine wheel, which speaks to the four directions described above.

Holistic in design, the image represents a holistic vision and model for Indigenous human resources at the university in which we each are a spirit experiencing a human existence. Designed to meet the needs of Indigenous peoples internal and external to the university and address the removal of employment barriers and address common retention issues.

A holistic approach to wellbeing in the workplace means all four directions are required to create balance for the whole person. When one of the directions is affected an individual’s health and wellbeing will be impacted or in other words, other directions in the medicine wheel will be impacted.

For this reason, the Indigenous Human Resources Lead encourages its faculty and staff to take personal responsibility and to access the programs and services available for workplace health and wellbeing by seeking Traditional Healers and/or western medicine practitioners. The medicine wheel teachings is our people-first approach to health and wellness.

The four directions contained in the medicine wheel teachings serves as a holistic model of our relationships to people, places and things which are all living beings. With this in mind, we understand a safe and healthy workplace is important to faculty and staff’s inclusion in the work culture at the university.

Indigenous workplace inclusion involves a seventh generation approach to Indigenous leadership. This means recognition that everything that Indigenous faculty and staff participate in at the University will have an impact on this generation and future generations of Indigenous staff, faculty and students who come to the University.

To learn more about Indigenous knowledge, Anishnawbe Health Toronto provides a series of pamphlets on a number of traditional teachings (external link)  including:

  • Approaching a Traditional Healer, Elder or Medicine Person
  • Clans
  • Fasting
  • Feasts and Giveaways
  • Moontime
  • Sacred Items and Bundles 
  • Sweat Lodge
  • The Four Sacred Medicines
  • Traditional Healing 
  • Your Name and Colours