We’re excited to honour and recognize the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples as we celebrate National Indigenous History month in Canada. We’re building on the Indigenous-led innovators that we highlighted last year, spotlighting CSI members and alumni whose work centres and celebrates Indigenous communities, and supports reconciliation.
Following the ongoing discoveries of unmarked graves on the grounds of former residential schools across the country, it’s important that we continue to recognize the injustices committed by the Canadian government and the colonial legacy that exists today. We encourage all settlers to review the 94 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and to advocate for progress to be made on those calls to action. According to CBC’s Beyond 94, only 13 actions have been completed thus far.
CSI members and alumni continue to inspire and lead us forward. Check out some of them below!
CSI Members, Past and Present
CSI Annex Member, Elevate Equity, is Toronto’s first Trans-led organization promoting employment equity for Black, Indigenous Trans and Non-binary communities of colour. Elevate Equity innovates the relationship between employers and employees by prioritizing racialized trans and non-binary people at the heart of our programming, Trans Solidarity Education, and advocacy work. Their values include honouring the land on which we live and work on, practicing decolonization in the workplace, committing to anti-racism best practices daily, naming the oppressive structures under which we operate, and honouring who is present and who is not.
CSI Spadina Member, MUSKRAT, is an online Indigenous arts and culture magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.
Shared Path Consultation Initiative
CSI Annex Member, Shared Path, is a charitable organisation dedicated to illuminating the challenges and possibilities that emerge at the intersection of land use and Indigenous rights. They believe that planning can be a tool for supporting the creation of healthy and vibrant communities, and that mutual flourishing requires understanding how Canada’s history of colonialism informs the present (planning today) and is crucial for planning a future that benefits all.
A member of the CSI Online Community, NationTalk is Canada’s Premier Indigenous newswire, employment, event and tender service. NationTalk began as Canada’s largest Indigenous newswire, employment, event, and tender service since 2005 and has since developed into a 360-degree single source solution for all communications, public relations, marketing, media and production and Indigenous outreach needs; from message to delivery.
San’yas: Indigenous Cultural Safety Training Program
CSI Annex Member, San’yas: Indigenous Cultural Safety Training Program, offers online training and consultation services to people and groups across Canada. They focus on uprooting anti-Indigenous racism and promoting cultural safety for Indigenous people, providing a foundation that is necessary for reconciliation between Indigenous and Settler peoples across Canada.
CSI Spadina Member, Cultural Seeds, is an Indigenous, Womxn owned business that is rooted in Traditional Ecological Knowledge. Their mission is to empower Indigenous People to (RE)claim traditional agricultural practices to help heal ourselves, our communities and our world. They offer free consulting services to Indigenous Organizations and Nations in support of food sovereignty and food justice, and also specialize in heritage and rare plants from Turtle Island, and sell and trade seeds, live plants, and consulting services.
CSI Annex Member, Ojibiikan Indigenous Cultural Network, is an Indigenous-led nonprofit offering land, food, and cultural-based programming in Toronto and the surrounding area. Their programming centres on ceremony, song, storytelling, and offerings, and includes opportunities to connect to the land through activities like medicine walks, traditional cooking, sugarbush tapping, and snowshoeing.
CSI Alumni and 2017 Agent of Change, Anwaatin, believes addressing the climate crisis and revitalizing treaty relationships go hand in hand. As Anwaatin’s CEO Larry Saul explains, “when you’re battling climate change, you need warriors. We are those warriors. Our weapons are not guns. We’re armed with wisdom and love for the natural world. We are stewardship warriors.”
Anwaatin supports these warriors. They work to ensure Indigenous communities are front and centre in the movement to address the climate crisis by equipping individuals with the technical tools and knowledge to participate in emerging climate actions. They do this through a range of services, including building partnerships and facilitating agreements between Indigenous nations and policymakers at the municipal and federal level, and supporting Indigenous-led carbon sequestration projects by educating communities on the biodiversity and carbon sequestration potential of their traditional territories.
Established in September 2016, CSI Member Toronto Inuit Association (formerly iTUK) is dedicated to fostering connections and amplifying the voices of Inuit in Toronto. Their mission is to “create a community in Toronto for Inuit from all regions, where [the Toronto Inuit Association] can provide support in language learning, culture awareness, family services, employment and health services to Inuit and their families.”
The Indigenous Curatorial Collective
The Indigenous Curatorial Collective is an Indigenous-led organization that strives to build community and reciprocity among Indigenous curators, artists, academics, and writers through programming, critical discourse, and professional opportunities. This CSI Member launched in 2005 “as a response to the authority afforded to the non-Indigenous curatorial and academic community within the discipline of Indigenous arts in Canada.” For the last sixteen years, the organization has worked tirelessly to support Indigenous artists and curators in claiming space, maintaining agency, and broadening opportunities offered to Indigenous creators in and beyond institutional frameworks.