Innovate Calgary’s Truth and Reconciliation Letter

Created: September 30, 2021

As the innovation and technology transfer office for the University of Calgary, Innovate Calgary stands together with the peoples that came before us and are committed to walking parallel paths to create a positive impact for all our communities. In the spirit of reconciliation, we encourage, support, and promote the Indigenous ways of being, knowing, doing, and relating. We are committed to building deeper relationships with Indigenous communities and doing what we can to empower Indigenous innovators and innovation.

Indigenous innovation has taken place on the land we occupy for many years. Innovate Calgary recognizes that we work, play, and live on Mohkínstsis (City of Calgary). We acknowledge the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Blackfoot Confederacy (comprising the Siksika, Piikani, and Kainai First Nations), as well as the Tsuut’ina First Nation, and the Stoney Nakoda (including the Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley First Nations). The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.

The discovery of the unmarked graves found at former residential schools is genuinely disheartening. As we process the painful reality of the damage it causes to generations of families, we must set in motion actions and activities to move towards healing. We are committed to giving the time and energy needed to understand, learn, and grow. Your truths are recognized, and we are committed to doing our part in making reconciliation happen in a meaningful way.

These tragic incidents have shaped who we are as a community. Still, we strive to move forward with self-reflection by investigating how we may have disempowered Indigenous peoples and how the innovation ecosystem can better support Indigenous scholars, knowledge keepers, innovators, and the wider community. We are committed to taking action by following the lead of our Indigenous partners to achieve collective healing.

We believe that we are responsible for creating opportunities for people within our organization to engage in conversation, learning, community engagement, and actions that align with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

Here is what we have implemented so far:

  • Regular outreach to connect with Indigenous scholars to learn more about their research and how we can walk in parallel with them and the communities they serve.
  • Established an Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Indigenous Engagement Committee to look for ways to learn and show respect to our Indigenous past, present and future.
  • Provide each employee with two days in each calendar year as Days of Caring. These days are for participating with not-for-profit organizations or events related to Canada’s Indigenous heritage, at no cost to the employee.
  • Encourage staff to explore and understand the importance of territorial acknowledgments. We now make territorial acknowledgments at all events we host, including webinars.

We look forward to growing and doing more to stand together with Indigenous communities.

John Wilson,
CEO and President
Innovate Calgary