ACU’s Indigenous Leadership Circle and the Mikinak-Keya Spirit Tour

Assiniboine Credit Union is committed to engaging in reconciliation.

ACU’s Indigenous Leadership Circle and the Mikinak-Keya Spirit Tour

With this in mind, ACU employees who self-identify as Indigenous to Turtle Island (Indigenous name for North America) created ACU’s Indigenous Leadership Circle (ILC) with the goal of supporting our ongoing journey of reconciliation.

Julie White, ACU’s Indigenous Leadership Circle and the Mikinak-Keya Spirit Tour

Part of the ILC’s focus is to plan reconciliation events and initiatives for ACU employees, and this past month we attended the Mikinak-Keya Spirit tour at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

The tour invites visitors to discover the connection between First Nations’ sacred knowledge and worldviews and the museum’s architecture and human rights mandate.

Our Indigenous program guide, Julie White (pictured), talks about the legend of the White Buffalo Calf Woman.

White explained that the Creator sent the White Buffalo Calf woman to teach the people how to pray with the pipe, and about the Seven Sacred Teachings which were given to them to ensure a harmonious and peaceful future.

ACU’s Indigenous Leadership Circle and the Mikinak-Keya Spirit Tour

As the group gathered around one of the beautiful woven tapestries on display at the museum, we learned about these Seven Sacred Teachings, which are embodied in seven animal depictions on the tapestry.

7 sacred teachings
  1. Truth, represented by the Turtle, tells us: Follow your own truth, which will guide your own true path in life.
  2. Humility, represented by the Wolf, tells us: Embrace the rights of others and treat them as equal.
  3. Wisdom, represented by the Beaver, tells us: Use your gift to serve humanity and build a peaceful world.
  4. Honesty, represented by Sabe (or Sasquatch), tells us: Live from the heart and accept who you are.
  5. Courage, represented by the Bear, tells us: Live life according to your vision.
  6. Love, represented by the Eagle, tells us: Love others, as love is the highest aspiration of our humanity.
  7. Respect, represented by the Buffalo, tells us: Give, Serve, and Honour all forms of life.
ACU’s Indigenous Leadership Circle and the Mikinak-Keya Spirit Tour

Many of our staff spoke about how the seven sacred teachings, which call upon each of us to take responsibility for how we live and treat each other, so closely mirrors ACU’s own values of:

  • integrity; we are consistently honest, fair, respectful and compassionate in all our relations and do the right thing for the right reason
  • accountability; we take responsibility for the financial, social, environmental and economic impacts of our decisions and actions and disclose our performance in a transparent manner
  • diversity and inclusion; we welcome and celebrate diversity in all its forms and are open and inclusive in how we do business
  • service; we put others first and strive for excellence in all we do to be of service
  • co-operation; we work together and partner with others for mutual benefit and the common good

As the group made its way throughout the museum, we also learned about how some of the symbolism is built directly into the museum’s architecture. Some of this symbolism only revealed itself after the construction was complete and was identified by Indigenous leaders touring the new site.

We gathered in the atrium to learn about Indigenous traditional medicines such as Cedar, Sage, and Tobacco.

Basalt floor

And, we learned about the Basalt stone floor beneath our feet, which bears a striking resemblance to the back of a turtle shell (an unintended architectural design).

The group stands beside the 360 theatre, which looks very similar to a roundhouse, and gazed up at the alabaster ramps which can be likened to the trail of a turtle.

We also learned about how the exterior glass and tower can be seen to symbolize the wings of a Dove

Employees who participated found the whole experience very enriching and talked about how the practical advice contained within the Seven Sacred Teachings about following your own truth, embracing the rights of others, accepting who you are, living life according to your vision, loving others, using your gift to serve humanity and to give, serve, and honouring all forms of life, are as important today as ever.  Employees also expressed their pride in being part of an organization whose values align well with these teachings.

Stay tuned to hear about more great events from the Indigenous Leadership Circle!

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Learn more about Assiniboine Credit Union’s commitment to reconciliation by visiting our website, and if you’d like to book the Mikinak-Keya Spirit Tour visit Mikinak Keya Spirit Tour


About Indigenous Leadership Circle

The Indigenous Leadership Circle (ILC) was created by a group of employees who are passionate about promoting Reconciliation in our communities and our credit union. We encourage employee engagement and education by organizing cultural events and experiences, promoting Indigenous achievements, and promoting and offering learning opportunities here at ACU.

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