33 entries categorized "Shared Values"

Get to know the artists behind our beaded logo – Part 1

No one likes to be stereotyped. Historically, Indigenous people in Canada have put up with racist imagery that doesn’t represent their full cultural spectrum as unique and varied nations.

Several years ago, in preparation for Indigenous History Month, we consulted with our Indigenous associates, and members of Indigenous communities, about the visual materials we wanted to use in honour of the occasion.  The images we had chosen were respectful but somewhat traditional, including various dancers at a pow-wow.

An elder and board member of one of the Indigenous nations said, “We are more than feathers and leathers. There is more that represents us as a people.”

We took that comment to heart and sought to listen, learn, and understand how we might better represent Indigenous culture and our respect for our Indigenous relationships. Through this, we discovered that art through the form of beadwork is an important, and beautiful, aspect of Indigenous culture. Different nations and tribes have unique colours and designs in their beadwork practice, but the traditional craft is one they all have in common.

Petro-Canada Beaded Logo Artists

With that idea in mind, we reached out to our Indigenous partners and got recommendations for Indigenous beadwork artists from associates, chiefs, and board members of Indigenous nations. We commissioned artists from several First Nations across Canada to design their own version of a beaded Petro-Canada logo. The idea was to choose one to digitize and share to acknowledge the history and experiences of Indigenous peoples as well as celebrate our relationships.

After seeing all the artists’ designs, we wanted to share all of them – along with each of their stories – with Canadians. Here, we introduce four of the artists, along with their beaded logo designs.

 

Didi Grandjambe

Didi Grandjambe, a Cree beadwork artist residing in the Fort McKay First Nation

When Didi created her version of the Petro-Canada logo, she knew what she wanted to do – though it did take her two tries. “When I imagined my design, I could immediately see it. I wanted to take a different way around the maple leaf. I did have to try it twice – I ended up taking the first one apart but got it the way I wanted the second time. Took me about three weeks of work to complete.”

Didi is pleased to be part of Petro-Canada’s beaded logo initiative and hopes more companies will follow suit with projects that will start the process of educating others. “Reaching out to local people who do traditional crafts… it really brings awareness to our culture. It starts a process of people asking questions and wanting to learn more.”

Read more about Didi, her beadwork background and her thoughts on the role that companies like Petro-Canada, a Suncor business, can play in Truth and Reconciliation

 

Rosita Hirtle

Rosita Hirtle, a beadwork artist of Dene descent from the Fort McKay First Nation

Rosita’s designs are inspired both by her traditional culture as well as pop culture. “Dene beadwork is an inspiration. The different ways the flowers are drawn in our culture. Our different colours.” Rosita laughs, “but I’ve also made a phone grip of Yoda. I love the craft. I don’t even look at it as time. If I’m troubled or stressed, I just sit down and work on my beads. There’s an area at my kitchen table that is just for beading. No one sits in Mommy’s chair!”

Rosita sees beadwork, like other visual arts, as a way to contribute to healing and reconciliation. “Art gives notice, it gives recognition to a cause. It starts conversations. It’s something that people can point to and say ‘have you seen this?’ Art helps bring things to the surface. We need to talk about things (like MMIWG or Every Child Matters) so they aren’t forgotten. Healing starts with conversations.”

Read more about Rosita, her 40 years of beadwork experience and the importance of learning to her spirituality

 

Janice Johnstone

Janice Johnstone, a beadwork artist and member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation

Even though Janice has been beading for over twenty years, she’s never done a dream catcher like this one before. “I make little ones for your car with pendant feathers. And I’ve done a big one before with fringes. But never one this big with a centrepiece. I used the biggest hoop ring I could find – it’s half webbing and half centrepiece. But the fringes were the hardest part.”

For Janice, initiatives like Petro-Canada’s beaded logo project are an important contribution to Truth and Reconciliation. “Asking for participation from Indigenous artists and sharing Indigenous cultures helps. Putting a logo like this up, whether at sites across Canada or online, helps. It recognizes what Indigenous people have gone through. It’s an awesome idea and I’m honoured I was asked to participate.”

Read more about Janice, her other beadwork projects and her connection to Residential Schools

 

Shantel Nawash

Shantel Nawash, a beadwork artist with Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) and traditional Blackfoot heritage (Siksika Nation); member of the Saugeen First Nation

When Shantel was asked to design a logo for Petro-Canada, she knew that she wanted it to be functional. Not something that was simply hung in the lobby but could be worn to events and seen by people. So, she chose a medallion. “Beadwork is so intricate, so time-consuming. There is authenticity in something that is made from your own two hands. It’s a very sacred thing. It’s a piece of me.”

When she isn’t beading, Shantel is a full-time employee at Suncor for the past 11 years, currently an SCM Administrator/Analyst. She is also the Cultural Awareness Circle Lead on Journeys, Suncor’s employee inclusion group for Indigenous employees. When Shantel first got involved with Suncor and its support of Indigenous culture, it was surprising to her that more people didn’t know about Indigenous culture – from something as simple as bannock to more complex issues like the history of Residential schools in Canada. “It’s not that people don’t care. It’s that they don’t know. And how can you care about something that you don’t know? That’s why visibility is really important. All during the (National Indigenous History) month I’ll be wearing my ribbon skirt and my kokum scarf. The more visibility, the better!”

Read more about Shantel, her process for beading and her perspective on generational trauma

 

Many thanks to these artists for their contributions to this project and sharing their stories! We are honoured to share them with you. Look for an introduction to the next set of artists later this summer.


Celebrating 2SLGBTQ+ Canadians During Pride

"A waving flag... it celebrates our diverse community. Having it in the logo puts Petro-Canada alongside the community, standing together in solidarity and celebrating our diversity."

When graphic designer Katie Wilhelm was asked to refresh Petro-Canada's Pride logo, she was tasked with visually representing Petro-Canada’s support for 2SLGBTQ+ Canadians. Petro-Canada recognizes that the 2SLGBTQ+ community is part of what makes Canada wonderful, and we want this logo to reflect that.

Designer Katie Wilhelm and Petro-Canada's Pride Logo

A big ask, but Katie was up for the challenge. Katie, who identifies as pansexual and is a member of the queer community, said in designing the logo, she felt the weight of representing the whole community. “I wanted to make the community proud, to make them proud of my pride. And I didn’t want to tokenize the community. As an Indigenous person, I am often asked to do Indigenous-themed design so I am conscious of how easy it is to create designs that are inauthentic.”

As part of her process, Katie researched other corporate Pride logos and reactions from the community, wanting to avoid any pitfalls and accusations of rainbow-washing.

“When companies use queer symbols to sell products – that’s when ethical alarm bells go off. It’s like they’re saying, ‘Come in now (during Pride month), but don't come in in July.’ And while using queer symbols can show respect for the community, we do need to ask, ‘Is this an appropriate representation of my community?’ We can choose to trust brands who provide genuine support, but we must hold them accountable.”

The waving flag that Katie incorporated into the Petro-Canada Pride logo represents several of the ideas she hoped the design would communicate. It shows the celebration of a diverse community and the promotion of equal rights, and its movement symbolizes that we’re making progress together.

The raised flag also represents an invitation to Katie. “Now that we've been invited, that the flag has been raised - it is up to us to pull our seat up the table. Petro-Canada is listening. I have seen that because they have listened to me (in designing the logo). And I will continue to hold them accountable.”

Katie also believes that initiatives like Petro-Canada’s Pride logo are calls for allies to get more involved. “If you see something, say something. This is what allies need to do. If you see hate, you need to step in and say something. As allies, your voices have been heard more around the table. Earn the community’s trust by saying something. And continue to advocate for initiatives like this, initiatives that affect the community in a positive way. Sure, well-meaning straight white people may have started these initiatives, but as queer BIPOC people, we need to continue them.”

At Petro-Canada, we know that community isn’t just the physical space you inhabit, it’s the people you connect with. We stand with, support and celebrate members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community across Canada who are our customers, neighbours and work in our stores. Keeping all Canadians at the heart of what we do and being here for each other no matter the journey is what living by the leaf is all about. Happy Pride, Canada!

Katie Wilhelm is an award-winning designer and marketing consultant. She is member of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation at Neyaashiinigmiing with Canadian settler heritage.


Acknowledging Canada’s National Crisis of Missing, Murdered and Exploited Indigenous People

This article deals with topics which may negatively impact the reader due to its subject matter. We recognize the need for safety measures to minimize the risks associated with traumatic subject matter. For immediate emotional assistance, please call 1-844-413-6649. This is a national, toll-free 24/7 crisis call line providing support for anyone who requires emotional assistance related to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. For additional support, please see the resources available to you on the Indigenous Services Canada website.

Here on PumpTalk, we’ve spoken about Suncor’s Journey to Reconciliation, including Petro-Canada’s role as a Suncor business. We hope that through this ongoing learning process, we can build the trust and support of Indigenous Peoples in the communities in which we operate as well as from our partners and our employees.

Red Dress Day - National Day of Awareness for Missing, Murdered and Exploited Indigenous people (MMEIP) in Canada

One way we do this is by partnering with Indigenous businesses and communities.  We are proud to have 60 retail and wholesale marketing arrangements with Indigenous communities across Canada. Sites like on the Siksika First Nation where we created a stop along Canada’s Electric Highway – our EV Fast Chargers were the first installed on a First Nation in Canada. Or like our sites located on the Mistawasis First Nation in northern Saskatchewan, and the Cold Lake First Nations in northern Alberta.

We also support Indigenous artists across Canada. We’ve commissioned Indigenous artists in communities across Canada to create murals on the side of stations in Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Kamloops. Two of them were completed last fall - Connected by Keegan Starlight in Calgary and Our Children by Jessey Pacho in Toronto. The other four will be finished this summer. Another project working with Indigenous artists will be announced in June.

In addition to supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs and artists, we believe that it is essential to acknowledge and educate ourselves and our employees about the historical and ongoing negative impacts of colonization endured by Indigenous communities, including the national crisis of Missing, Murdered and Exploited Indigenous people.

The number of missing and murdered Indigenous people in Canada is disproportionately high compared to the general population. The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) research indicates that, between 2000 and 2008, Indigenous women and girls represented approximately 10% of all female homicides in Canada. However, Indigenous women make up only 3% of the female population.

From 2016 through 2019, the Government of Canada convened a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The National Inquiry’s Final Report concluded that persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses are the root cause behind Canada’s staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQ+ people. The report calls for transformative legal and social changes to resolve the crisis that has devastated Indigenous communities across the country.

May 5th, also known as Red Dress Day, is the National Day of Awareness for Missing, Murdered and Exploited Indigenous people (MMEIP) in Canada. It was started as “an aesthetic response to more than 1000 missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada” by Jaime Black, a multidisciplinary artist of mixed Anishinaabe and Finnish descent.

To help Canadians learn more about missing, murdered and exploited Indigenous people in Canada, the NWAC has created safe-passage.ca – a website that hosts a national database of MMIWG2S cases as well as training materials about breaking the cycle of violence. In particular, the site contains resources for the hospitality and trucking industries – two industries uniquely positioned to make a difference in the reduction of violence against Indigenous women and girls. NWAC, in partnership with Truckers Against Trafficking, provides training about human trafficking in Canada and teaches how to recognize the signs of human trafficking.

Petro-Canada hosted a presentation at our most recent in-person Wholesale Conference from an international crime prevention specialist about how to recognize and respond to suspected incidents of human trafficking, particularly for our sites that are located along known trafficking routes. The NWAC also provides a fact sheet about signs of trafficking and what to do.

Addressing our national crisis of missing, murdered and exploited Indigenous people can seem overwhelming. But we all have a responsibility to try to take action. This article from Haley Lewis, a Kanyen'keha:ka-Scottish writer, shares five ways that Canadians can put the calls for justice from the national MMIWG report into action:

  1. Denounce and speak out against violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people
  2. Decolonize by learning the true history of Canada and Indigenous history in your local area
  3. Develop knowledge and read the final report and calls to justice
  4. Using what you have learned and some of the resources suggested, become a strong ally
  5. Help hold all governments accountable to act on the calls for justice

Lewis goes into detail on each actionable item and recommends this excellent “Indigenous Ally Toolkit” from the Montreal Indigenous Community Network (aka “The NETWORK”), an organization that supports the ecosystem of individuals and groups committed to improving the quality of life of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities living in the greater Montreal area.

Another resource I found particularly helpful, especially around educating myself on the history of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples is First Nations 101 by Lynda Gray, a member of the Ts’msyen Nation from Lax Kw’alaams on the Northwest Coast of BC.  First Nations 101 provides “a broad overview of the day-to-day lives of Indigenous people, traditional Indigenous communities, colonial interventions used in an attempt to assimilate Indigenous people into mainstream society, the impacts those interventions had on Indigenous families and communities, and how Indigenous people are working towards holistic health and wellness today.”

Hearing the stories from Indigenous families about the loss of their loved ones has also increased my empathy and my desire to take action about MMEIP. Suncor employee, Deb Green, has given us permission to share the story of losing her sister, Laney, and the impact it has had on her.

As Suncor continues on its Journey to Reconciliation, we’ll continue to share stories from our Indigenous colleagues and partners. We’d love to hear from you about your own journey of reconciliation. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

~Kate T.


#ShineALight on Canadian Family Caregivers

This is a special edition of PumpTalk – brought to you by the Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation. Today’s post is written by Leila Fenc, Executive Director, Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation.

This April, we invite you to #ShineALight on family caregivers* with the Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation

Did you know that more than eight million Canadians provide unpaid emotional, social and financial support to ill, injured, disabled and aging loved ones?

Family caregivers in Canada make up over 75 per cent of all patient care in Canada and they often feel overwhelmed, overworked, and unsupported for the tireless work they do every day. Family caregivers spend an average of 19 hours per week caregiving in addition to paid work and other family commitments.

I (heart symbol) Family Caregivers.

Kicking off on April 5, National Caregiver Day, the CareMakers Foundation is working to shine a light on the important work of caregivers throughout the month of April.

How can Canadians get involved?

Shine a Light to support caregivers in your workplace, family and community:

  1. Through your social media networks, post a message online about a caregiver you know or why caregiving is important to you. Use #ShineALight #CareMakers and tag @petrocanadacaremakers on Instagram or @PCCareMakers on Twitter.
  2. Visit caremakers.ca to make a donation that helps fund resources, support and programs for caregivers across Canada.

Since launching in 2020, the Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation has already awarded national grants totalling $1.7 million and local grants totalling more than $500,000 this year. The funds are used to support critical programs and resources for caregivers. I’ve seen firsthand the importance of these grants and thank you for your support.

Join us in acknowledging the essential work that family caregivers do across Canada and letting them know that we see and support them. Help us #ShineALight on family caregivers.

*Family caregivers are family, friends, and neighbours who provide unpaid emotional, social and financial support to ill, injured, disabled and aging loved ones.


Moving the Needle - a Conversation with Melba Da Silva about her Inclusion and Diversity Journey

Over the last couple of years on PumpTalk, it's been a great privilege for me to speak with a number of people across the Petro-Canada family who have shared their stories, particularly around inclusion and diversity: Chris Forward who speaks about the importance of 2SLGBTQ+ people being able to bring their authentic selves to work, Melissa Tacan who encourages us to be "heart in" around Truth and Reconciliation, and Andrea Decore who reminds us that diversity in the workplace is an economic issue, not just a social one.

As a result of these interviews, I've spent a lot of time thinking about how to be an ally - as an 2SLGBTQ+ person, I have a bit of perspective on what good allyship looks like, but as a white person, I know that I have a long way to go in supporting colleagues who are Black and Persons of Colour. So, in not-so-coincidental timing with Black History Month, I connected with Melba Da Silva. Melba is a 20-year employee of Petro-Canada in Downstream Operations plus she is a founding member of Mosaic at Suncor (proud parent of Petro-Canada); Mosaic is a network of Black employees, advocates and allies that is empowered, informed and positioned to positively influence Suncor’s people & cultural journey.

Melba Da Silva

I spoke with Melba about her perspective on diversity, being Black at work and how colleagues can be supportive and true allies.

PT: Thanks for talking with me, Melba! I’d like to start by chatting about Black History Month. Admittedly, I was a little hesitant to do this interview because I didn't want to just be "checking a box".

MD: Let me ask you a question: since we started talking (Editor’s Note: we’ve had three meetings to discuss this article), have you spoken with other people about the issues we’ve been discussing? If yes, then this is not just a check box. Being an ally is repetitive behaviour; it’s all about persistence.

Just by having our conversations we’ve moved the needle on inclusion, diversity and understanding. A small move, but a move nonetheless. I work in agile development and I think about I&D in those terms: make a small change, assess and, if it works, repeat.

PT: What's been your experience of being Black in Canada?

MD: I never really thought of myself as different until I experienced some discrimination because I’m Black and a woman. An example… when you have great leaders (at work), you tend to pick up on their qualities, try to emulate what has made them successful. I learned, however, that I couldn’t emulate a white male leader’s qualities because I would be labeled as aggressive. I felt like I didn’t have a voice.

Being Black, I have to be aware that everyone has their own unconscious biases that they bring to interactions with me. It’s extra work I have to do to be successful.

But what really highlights the problem of systemic racism in Canada is seeing how my son is treated. Every time he drives my car, he is stopped by the police. Once, he was riding the TTC (the subway system in Toronto) and exited the station through the wrong door; he was aggressively confronted by TTC security. If he puts on a hoodie, he’s considered dangerous. And this has nothing to do with his character. A white colleague once said to me that we don’t have racism here in Canada. I reminded him how differently our sons are treated if the police stop them. It gave him a moment of pause.

A very timely example of systemic racism in Canada – the truck convoy protest against vaccine mandates. They are allowed to build forts, bring propane to the sites where they are protesting. If that were a Black Lives Matter protest, none of that would have been allowed and they would have been shut down with force immediately. (Editors note: Since this story was written, the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time ever, which ended the convoy protest after three weeks in Ottawa.)

PT: Do you have any recommendations for people who want to strengthen their allyship? Resources, attitudes, etc.?

MD: Allyship is not just talking about things, but actually doing things. That can be a range of things. First, we all need to have more uncomfortable conversations. And we have to be comfortable having uncomfortable conversations. We have to unlearn and relearn some of our basic attitudes about Black people.

Corporate leaders, in particular, have a responsibility. We need advocacy in the boardroom, particularly when making hiring and promotion decisions. Note your language when describing someone – are they truly aggressive or simply assertive and you label them as such because they are Black? True allyship is when one leader calls out another on their own biases.

In terms of education, do your own homework. There are so many books, movies, stories on YouTube. And remember, you can learn about Black excellence and Black history outside the month of February. A colleague mentioned to me recently that she watched Women of the Movement. I have a lot of respect for someone who does that on their own, to enhance their understanding of Black history.

If there is something you don’t know, then ask. It’s okay to ask, to acknowledge that you don’t know or understand a Black person’s experience. It’s important to approach sensitive topics with humility. And be willing to apologize if you’ve made a mistake. In a meeting, I once made a comment about being “at the bottom of the totem pole.” After the meeting someone pointed out to me how racist that idiom is. I apologized to the group immediately. This is hard work. And we all have the opportunity to learn from each other.

PT: What has your work in the Inclusion and Diversity space taught you?

MD: I have never felt so fulfilled until I came into the I&D space. It’s taught me the power of connection and how people can be so much more productive and reach limits beyond their imagination. I’ve learned about the importance of finding those connections; when people learn they have shared interests, there is a moment of excitement, a moment of belonging.

For example, I once worked with a young new grad of Asian descent. She told me about a time she went into an upscale store and wanted to buy an expensive handbag. The store staff treated her poorly and she felt like she was being discriminated against, that they thought she couldn’t afford the handbag because she is Asian. We tried to have a conversation about discrimination, but we weren’t really connecting.

So, I flipped the script. There is a root vegetable called cassava that my family cooks. She’d mentioned that her mom cooks yucca, which is the same vegetable, just a different name. When I told her this, she opened up about her mom and the different recipes she used to make. And that was the conversation we bonded over, not necessarily the one about discrimination.

That’s really the secret to the success of inclusion and diversity – it lets people form bonds over common interests. Yes, bonding over struggles are the deepest connections, but for someone who hasn’t experienced those struggles, bonding over common interests works as well.

Sharing these common interests among people who don’t have the same life-experiences is what will help break through systemic racism. For example, in a group of leaders making hiring decisions, someone might say “Let’s hire Johnny.” When asked why, he might say “Because he reminds me of me when I was young.” This is another example of systemic racism; someone who looks like me doesn’t have a chance because there isn’t anyone at the table who can say the same thing. People tend to hire people that look like them. This is one of the barriers we have to try to break through – and one of the benefits of having an employee network like Mosaic at Suncor.

PT: You've been involved in establishing the Mosaic Network at Suncor. What's that been like? What's surprised you about the experience?

MD: Mosaic is a body of people who are there to uplift each other, to drive change, to mentor and sponsor each other. It includes people who can guide us through our corporate careers. It’s important to work with people who look like you and work with people who share your same pain and struggles. This has been very uplifting. It's like family - you may not always agree but you're working toward the same goal.

Being a part of Mosaic has created opportunities for unexpected conversations, perhaps most surprisingly about hair. As a Black woman, my hair is often a topic of conversation. Wearing my hair in its natural state has been deemed “unprofessional” at times, not considered “acceptable” in the workplace. I also regularly experience the microaggressions of people wanting to touch my hair. I talked about this at a Mosaic meeting and made a couple of unexpected connections. First, colleagues with mixed race children talked about their challenges. And then an older white colleague told me about his child who dyed his hair blue; learning about the importance of my hair to me, to my identity, helped him understand how to relate to his child.

Having a network that supports you and your career as well as your culture is a beautiful thing. It brings me so much joy when I log into a meeting and I see so many Black and brown faces on the screen, to see so many talented and accomplished Black people working together. All the degrees held and languages spoken by this group of people. We truly have Black excellence working at Suncor.

~|~

Melba, thank you so much for sharing your experiences along with your insights about how to make connections to foster understanding and how we can be strong allies. I have found our conversations powerful and humbling, and a good reminder that, as a white person, I have benefited from systemic racism.

As part of my personal education, I try to make sure that the books I’m reading and the shows I’m watching include content by Black creators. One of my recent favourite reads was You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories About Racism written by Amber Ruffin (an American comedy writer and TV host) and her sister Lacey Lamar. Her book documents modern day racism and microaggressions against Black people with both humour and disbelief. It was a real eye-opener to me and helped me strengthen my own resolve to be a good ally.

Are there resources you recommend or stories you’d like to share? Leave a comment below.

~ Kate T.