Working for Better Inter-Connectedness with Indigenous Partners

Practices and Perspectives

On September 30, 2021, Canada marked its first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Also referred to as Orange Shirt Day, it honours the lost children and survivors of residential schools.

Paper Excellence formally observed the occasion at our Port Alberni mill, and at an event involving the neighbouring Tseshaht First Nation, which included hanging an orange shirt banner along the mill fence and taking part in a community memorial ceremony.

Paper Excellence also made a $10,000 contribution to the AIRS (Alberni Indian Residential School) Commemoration/Memorial Fund. This will support research and other preparations to construct a memorial to those who were compelled to attend this particular institution.

Later in 2021, our relationship with the Tseshaht reached an important milestone with the signing of a memorandum of understanding. First and foremost an affirmation of Paper Excellence’s recognition and respect of the Tseshaht’s Indigenous rights, the MOU will be a foundation for the further exploration of mutual interests, outstanding concerns and collaborative opportunities.

“For Tseshaht it is really important, not just because of the location of the paper mill here, but the history that was once here as a village, as a community, as employment for many of our community members from decades ago until recently,” said Wahmeesh Ken Watts, elected Chief Councillor for Tseshaht First Nation.

“We have members who work here now. It’s a totally interconnected feeling for us, it’s not just about jobs; it’s about sharing history, it’s about sharing culture. It’s about their connection to the Somass River here and how close they are. We’re excited about it.”