Ed Collins’ teachings about Aboriginal culture seem to be rubbing off on some of his coworkers at DST Consulting Engineers. The manager of Indigenous relations said it’s not uncommon for a few of his non-Indigenous colleagues to come into his office to request a smudge ceremony as a stress reliever.
Some feel the need for a spiritual uplift or a mental cleansing to alleviate negative feelings. “We’re not healing the sick; we’re just healing the mind, the soul and body,” said Collins, a member of the Fort William First Nation.
DST is a consulting engineering firm specializing in environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, materials testing, and demolition. In the DST boardroom in Thunder Bay, where Collins is based, there’s a basket of small tobacco pouches to remind staff members of the custom of presenting the traditional gift when approaching a community Elder.
Understanding the spiritual and cultural sides of Canada’s First Nations people is but one aspect of building a harmonious and longstanding relationship between communities and industry.
Collins, who’s created the Indigenous relations policy for the company, has crafted a cultural sensitivity workshop, Walk in My Moccasins. He’s been tasked to roll it out to the 2,400 staff with DST and the subsidiaries of the parent company, Englobe.
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