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By Alejandro Mayoral Baños

Embracing National Indigenous History Month

June marks National Indigenous History Month in Canada, a time to celebrate and learn about the cultures, traditions, and experiences of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. At IFA, we emphasize the importance of everyone reflecting on their roles on Indigenous lands. Our members, staff, volunteers, and board members are encouraged to learn and engage with Indigenous worldviews, which enriches our collective understanding and fosters respectful connections. Recognizing and actioning the responsibilities that non-Indigenous peoples have within Indigenous lands opens the possibility of changing our roles from settlers to guests, ensuring respect for Indigenous sovereignty and acknowledging historical responsibilities.

Diversity as a Strength at IFA

Our team, comprised of 80% of individuals from minority groups, including newcomers and immigrants, reflects Canada’s multicultural landscape. This diversity is more than a statistic; it brings unique perspectives that drive our mission forward. At IFA, we believe that true diversity and inclusion go beyond mere representation—they involve active engagement and meaningful contributions from all team members.

The Role of Newcomers and Immigrants as Guests

Newcomers and immigrants, while not Indigenous themselves, often share an understanding of the impacts of colonialism from their own homelands. This shared experience fosters a deep empathy and a commitment to preserving Indigenous cultural heritage and advocating for Indigenous rights. This perspective fuels their drive for change and reconciliation, making their collaboration with Indigenous peoples transformative.

Being guests on this land, and having this shared understanding, newcomers and immigrants can help cultivate a meaningful allyship, where the commitment to advocacy and cultural preservation intersects with the active support for Indigenous-led initiatives.

Guests, Not Settlers

Approaching as guests rather than settlers means engaging with humility and respect, learning from and honouring Indigenous peoples’ values and sovereignty. Settlers often arrive with the intent to claim and conquer, while guests seek to learn, listen, and contribute in ways that honour Indigenous perspectives and values. This mindset is crucial for fostering meaningful relationships with Indigenous communities.

Amplifying Indigenous Voices

Being a guest involves active engagement, allyship, and advocacy. It means acknowledging Indigenous sovereignty and perspectives, supporting Indigenous-led initiatives, and amplifying Indigenous voices that are often marginalized. This approach helps build a more inclusive society where all voices are heard and respected.

Responsibilities Towards Indigenous Peoples

We all have responsibilities towards Indigenous peoples, including (but not exclusively):

  • Acknowledging the historical and ongoing impacts of colonization.
  • Advocating for Indigenous rights and land stewardship.
  • Amplifying Indigenous voices in spaces where they are marginalized or silenced.
  • Supporting Indigenous-led initiatives and businesses.

IFA: Bridging Communities, Fostering Understanding

At IFA, we are committed to building bridges between newcomers, immigrants, and Indigenous peoples, fostering understanding, solidarity, and collaboration. Through our programs, initiatives, and advocacy efforts, we provide volunteer opportunities for newcomers and immigrants to learn about Indigenous cultures, histories, and challenges, equipping them with the knowledge and tools to be effective allies and advocates.

As we celebrate the diversity in Canada, join us in amplifying Indigenous voices and supporting their communities. Together, we can build a more inclusive and equitable society. Join us on this journey towards fostering understanding, solidarity, and collaboration. Visit to sign up for our newsletter, volunteer, or donate to support our initiatives. Together, we can make a meaningful difference.

About the Indigenous Friends Association (IFA)

The Indigenous Friends Association (IFA) is a Canadian Indigenous-led tech nonprofit dedicated to advancing digital pathways rooted in Indigenous knowledge and cultural practices, driving positive change for generations. Through diverse programs, IFA champions the empowerment journey of Indigenous communities in the tech sector, by offering no-cost tech education, aiming to close the 2% representation gap in the industry.  Furthermore, IFA’s volunteer program supports newcomers and immigrants in workforce integration, leveraging their skills and interests for impactful causes.

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