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Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day

June 21st is National Indigenous Peoples Day. It’s a day to celebrate the rich and vibrant culture of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.  As we prepared to recognize and honor this special day, Winpak decided to look inwardly at our employee population and learn more about the Indigenous members of our work family.  We were fortunate to have three employees share their stories and provide great perspectives on how we can be more inclusive and involved with our Indigenous community.

Preserving A Legacy

nipd1_360x380_caption.jpgBorn and raised on Treaty 5 Territory (Thompson, Manitoba), Catherine Bodnaryk comes from a long line of Métis family members.  After graduating from the University of Winnipeg with a Human Resource Management Diploma and Management Certificate, Bodnaryk began her career at Winpak Division as a human resources specialist in 2019.  She recently got promoted and credits the Manitoba Métis Federation for sponsoring her university program which has provided great career opportunities.

nipd2_300x442_caption.jpgBodnaryk’s husband is First Nations (Ojibway) from Lake St. Martin Reserve, and they have a daughter (Haylee) and son (Harley).  Bodnaryk is proud of her rich Indigenous history and enjoys attending family gatherings.  For her, “Indigenous Peoples Day should be celebrated so others can understand and deepen their awareness of the different Indigenous groups and acknowledge the land we live on”.nipd3_275x466_caption.jpg  Bodnaryk continues, “It’s time to celebrate First Nations, Inuit, and Metis culture and heritage …… explore ways to celebrate by attending a local Pow Wow or ceremony. Read a book on Indigenous culture and heritage.  Try different foods, such as Bannock, which is delicious with jam”.

Rediscovering Her Roots

nipd4_275x477_caption.jpg Samantha Baudry works as a buyer in the purchasing department of Winpak Division.  She is Métis and over the last three years, she has made a conscious effort to learn more about her First Nations culture.  “Since I was a young girl, my family has always been transparent about me not being biologically theirs, I was adopted at about 1.5 years old”.  Baudry shares, “Being Metis and knowing this since I was very young left me with a lot of questions regarding my heritage and family history, since my adopted family is French and Icelandic.  Last summer with my sister (my best friend) we attended a sacred fire, I participated in my first smudge, and witnessed my first Pow Wow. It was an experience I will never forget”.  

When asked about how celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day can help our community, Samantha Baudry responds by saying: “It is a great chance to teach anyone with curiosity about Indigenous people. Historically, teaching Indigenous culture has been largely absent, and when representations are available, they are often limiting and stereotypical.  This day brings light on this subject and allows us to celebrate past, present, and future for Indigenous people”.

Rising Generation Of Indigenous Leaders

Jordan Bauer is Indigenous and is currently working as a student process engineer at American Biaxis Inc. (A Winpak business unit).  Bauer is enrolled in the University of Manitoba’s Engineering Access Program (ENGAP) which is designed to help Indigenous students to prepare and succeed in the University’s Faculty of Engineering.  nipd5_384x255_caption.jpg

National Indigenous Peoples Day means many things to Bauer. He states, “The day itself is significant on so many fronts. It’s become a day of celebration to experience the different cultures and an acknowledgement towards the diverse nature of Canadian Indigenous Peoples and the world”.  Bauer goes on to say, “As a person of mixed race, it’s a chance to celebrate and understand the diverse makeup of our community and the positive impact they have on our world.  In short, Indigenous Peoples Day celebrates the good and the wholeness of people”.

Winpak embraces the rich diversity of its workforce and is deeply committed to promoting an inclusive and equitable environment.  It was wonderful speaking to the Indigenous members of our organization to learn about their culture as well as their relentless quest to soar and reclaim their identity.

Caroline Schroen
Caroline Schroen
Manager, Corporate Communications
Winnipeg, MB

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