National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21) marks a day for us all to honour the rich and diverse cultures, voices, experiences and histories of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. At Starbucks Canada, we believe that taking the time to learn more about Indigenous Peoples, places and experiences is a step forward on the path to Reconciliation.
This Indigenous History Month, we have been inspired by the passion and continued engagement of our partners (employees) from coast-to-coast connecting with their Indigenous community members and allies to foster a community of belonging. Today, while we celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day, we also acknowledge the many partners proudly working to create a more inclusive future, representative of diverse identities and experiences.
An in-depth look at how one partner is advocating for Indigenous communities
A partner of seven years, Halifax-based District Manager Sara (she/her) has advocated for Indigenous communities for as long as she can remember. So, it came as no surprise when she joined the Indigenous Partner Network (IPN) when it was founded in 2020 to foster safe and supportive spaces for Indigenous partners and their allies. With over 500 members, partners like Sara regularly come together to connect, build allyship and continue to advocate for opportunities for and within Indigenous communities across the country.
As part of the IPN, Sara has been able to strengthen ties to the local community while also addressing critical needs identified by local Indigenous community organizations. Sara also rallies her East coast community to come together for back-to-school backpack drives for Indigenous youth, food drives and so much more.
Uplifting communities in partnership with the Starbucks Foundation
One local organization Sara works with is the Mi’Kmaw Native Friendship Centre, a not-for-profit working to improve the lives of aboriginal peoples living in urban environments. Through social and cultural programs, the Mi’KMaw Friendship Centre supports the local Indigenous community with multiple initiatives including tackling food and housing needs.
Sara explained that the learnings go both ways, sharing how her team of partners has been able to get extra education like treaty education, which supports partner growth and move the march to Reconciliation forward. The organization also focuses on supporting Indigenous youths’ personal and professional development—something Sara is personally invested in, through programming and resources like mock interviews, skill-building, resume-building and interview readiness workshops, mentorship conversations and beyond. It’s one of the many reasons she nominated the Centre to receive a Starbucks Neighbourhood Grant.
Neighbourhood Grants are investments that help build sustained local impact and inspire increased partner volunteerism with nonprofit organizations that work in our communities. Through this unique program, The Starbucks Foundation invites Starbucks partners – like Sara – to nominate a local organization that they are actively involved with in their community.
“Through this Neighbourhood Grant and the IPN’s long-lasting commitment to the betterment of Indigenous lives, we can be deliberate and intentional in providing resources, platforms and support wherever and whenever we can,” Sara shares.
By providing the support and resources to community-development focused organizations, the Starbucks Foundation’s Neighbourhood Grants program puts the power of a platform and room for advocacy in the hands of partners. It’s through this movement and with the work of our very own IPN that we can celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day, every day.