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More than two dozen First Nations CUPE members gathered for a historic meeting in northern British Columbia in May. The inaugural CUPE First Nations Gathering, held in Terrace, BC, provided an exciting opportunity to compare experiences and talk about how to involve aboriginal members in union life.

Most important, it gave members a chance to talk about issues of concern to Aboriginal workers and issues unique to First Nations workplaces.

Dorothy Grant, a Diversity Vice-President on the CUPE BC Executive and a driving force behind the gathering, says the event was one of the highlights of her decades in the union.

Terrace was a great opportunity to learn how we can help First Nations members participate more, says Grant, and to learn about the barriers these members face in their workplaces and their union. Some of the members who participated in the meeting traveled for two days just to be there!

After the success of the Terrace event, other First Nations gatherings are being organized across Canada over the coming months.

Jim Kirk