A Canada of Empowered Indigenous Communities
By Anna Guy
For one Indigenous consulting company, “reconciliation” is more than just a word; it’s a philosophy and a way of doing business. And now, it’s key to an exciting new initiative that promises to break down some of the barriers between mainstream industry and Indigenous Canada.
For over 25 years NVision Insight Group Inc. has worked in and with Indigenous organizations, governments and businesses. Majority-owned by First Nations, Inuit and Metis shareholders, NVision summarizes its vision as “a Canada of empowered Indigenous communities.” That may sound lofty; but the NVision team been part of most major movements in contemporary Indigenous Canada, from the negotiation and implementation of Canada’s largest land claims to the creation of the world’s first Aboriginal television network.
What’s the key to their success?
“It’s respect. We know that our clients understand what they want,” says Shelley Burke, Managing Director of Operations. “Our tagline says it all – ‘Your Vision. Our Insight’. Clients come to us with a vision; we provide the technical insight to help them achieve it.”
NVision’s areas of expertise include learning; planning; policy development; research and communications; evaluation, and management support. It’s a wide range of service, illustrated on the company’s website (www.nvisiongroup.ca ) with an impressive list of clients, achievements and endorsements.
But what’s inspiring the company and its clients these days is a new product from NVision’s Learning Campus. The Path: Your Journey Through Indigenous Canada, is a ground-breaking introduction to Indigenous history and culture, a multi-media learning experience inspired by the call from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) all Canadians to take ‘cultural competency training and education on the history of Aboriginal people’.
“This was a natural progression for NVision,” said Jennifer David, NVision President. “Everyone in Canada – in the private sector, in government, in schools – needs to hear the history and current realities of First Nations, Inuit and Métis. We’ve been partnering with, and working in these worlds for years now; this really is the culmination of all our experience.”
The Path uses video, animation, quizzes and humour to present the defining moments that shaped the history of Indigenous peoples and their relationship with European settlers, from the first arrivals on the continent to yesterday’s headlines. “If you’re doing business with, or hiring in First Nations, Inuit or Métis communities or trying to reach First Nations, Inuit and Métis with a program or service,” said David, “You need context. If you’re going to interact, or communicate, or partner, you really have to understand enough of the cultures and traditions to engage. That’s where The Path can take you.”
The course is available in several formats, including a half or full day in-person workshop, a 5-module online course (approximately 3 hours of learning), or a blended program that includes both real-time and online elements.
“We’ve been delivering online learning across Canada for several years now,” says Michelle Turpin, the instructional designer who established the NVision Learning Campus. “And we’ve learned that the content has to be relevant, it has to be engaging, and the learner has to enjoy the experience. That’s what we’ve done with The Path.”
Bird Construction, a leading national construction company, recognized the importance of employee diversity, inclusion and the important role the Indigenous communities play in their marketplace across the country. They invited NVision to develop and deliver the program to their staff across the country. Did it work? “The Path met our needs brilliantly. The team was easy to work with and used a collaborative approach with Bird’s management to develop the course material and to provide a range of delivery solutions to fit Bird’s structure. It was a great experience!”
The NVision experience confirms that a strong social vision, an innovative approach to product development, and a deep understanding of their market are the keys to success for Indigenous businesses. And now, through The Path, NVision seems poised to help others share that success.