Eagleclaw Thom | CUPE Communications
The representative workforce program is a program that aims to ensure that Aboriginal health care workers are represented in health care as a portion of the population of the province. “In my home community, I could count the number of Aboriginal people that lived there on one hand,” said Jodi. “Aside from the new Canadians, I was the only visible racial minority in my facility, a fact for which my co-workers and employer did not use discretion when they talked to me, or about Aboriginal cultures.”
Jodi became a facilitator of the representative workforce program and a facility shop steward shortly after joining the union. This gave way to her becoming more involved in the union by becoming an Aboriginal Council Member first locally, then provincially and finally nationally. Her experience helped in her outreach work with the community dispelling the myths and misconceptions regarding Aboriginal cultures.
In June 2017, Estevan, Saskatchewan had its first ever National Aboriginal Day Celebration. The celebration was organized by members of CUPE 5999 under the guidance of the local’s Aboriginal Council. “We wanted to share the beauty of our dance, the education of our story-telling, and warmth of our community as Aboriginal people,” Jodi said. “We brought awareness of just a few issues Aboriginal people face, such as the Red Dress Campaign for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.”
Students from every school in Estevan as well as all the workers from the health region were invited to attend with the intention of bringing together Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities to celebrate and learn about Aboriginal culture and contributions.