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Truth and Reconciliation in the Digital Age – Denise Williams, First Nations Technology Council


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Executive Director at First Nations Technology Council

Denise is Coast Salish from Cowichan Tribes on Vancouver Island. She is an advocate for social justice and has spent her career seeking out opportunities to play a role in the advancement of Indigenous sovereignty and social change. For the past ten years Denise has worked under the mandate of First Nations communities to address specific capacity building efforts in education and technology. She has worked to gain experience at the federal, provincial and local levels and has enjoyed using a genuine approach to collaboration and partnership development to build strong networks across organizations.

The role of Executive Director for the First Nations Technology Council has been incredibly inspiring and motivating. Denise has greatly appreciated the opportunity to develop and implement a social enterprise business model for the Technology Council and the opportunity to connect with First Nations communities across the province to discuss digital technologies. Denise believes strongly in the power of digital technologies designed and controlled by First Nations and believes in the transformative change it supports in building strong, healthy and thriving communities.

Denise volunteers locally on the downtown eastside with the Urban Native Youth Association as a member of the Board of Directors and as the President of the Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Center Society.

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Truth and Reconciliation in the Digital Age – Denise Williams, First Nations Technology Council

  2. 2. Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Selilwitulh (Tsleil- Waututh) xʷməθkwəy̓ əm (Musqueam) Territorial AcknowledgementThe Technology Council is grateful to live and work on the unceded territories of the:
  3. 3. Grace Hopper Led the development of one of the first programming languages called COBOL. Mark Dean Named on three of the nine original patents for the foundation of the IBM PC. Innovation has always been driven by diversity. Katherine Johnson Calculated the flight trajectory for the first American into space in 1959 and Apollo 11's flight to the moon in 1969. Susan Kare A pioneer of computer icon design and creator of the original Apple icons.
  4. 4. For every 1% increase in diversity, there is a 2.4% increase in revenue. The Diversity Equation
  5. 5. A Call to All Canadians “Reconciliation is about establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in this country. For that to happen, there has to be awareness of the past, acknowledgement of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes, and action to change behaviour.” Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  6. 6. Our Shared History: Indigenous Resiliency and Resurgence
  7. 7. “Reconciliation must inspire Indigenous and non- Indigenous peoples to transform Canadian society so that our children and grandchildren can live together in dignity, peace, and prosperity on these lands we now share.” - Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report
  8. 8. Moving Forward Together
  9. 9. We call upon the corporate sector in Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources. Call to Action #92
  10. 10. Commit to meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development projects. 92.1
  11. 11. Of the 5 major technology firms only 2 reported on Indigenous or Native American representation in their workforces in their latest diversity reports: 0.5%<1%
  12. 12. Ensure that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector, and that Aboriginal communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects. 92.2
  13. 13. “Canada cannot afford to lose the next generation of Indigenous business talent… We face a unique opportunity to remake the once-vibrant relationship between Indigenous peoples and businesses in the rest of Canada.” - JP Gladu, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
  14. 14. Foundations and Futures in Innovation and Technology
  15. 15. Provide education for management and staff on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism. 92.3
  16. 16. Deepening the Conversation Staff Dialogue on TRC “Calls to Action” Indigenous Reading List for Staff Reconciliation Workshops/Cultura l Competency Training
  17. 17. “Reconciliation is yours to achieve. We owe it to each other to build a Canada based on our shared future, a future of healing and trust.” - Justice Murray Sinclair