Skills Council of Canada is pleased to announce a partnership with Gitpo Spirit Lodge, an Indigenous, federally incorporated, not-for-profit organization located on Natoaganeg (Eel Ground) First Nation in northern New Brunswick, Canada. It is with recognition of the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation 2022 that we are proud to introduce Skills Council Foundation, a meaningful partnership developed by Skills Council Canada and Gitpo Spirit Lodge.
"Our partnership with Skills Council of Canada and the formation of Skill Council Foundation serves as a foundation for our shared vision to grow the Indigenous workforce into the economies in Canada. We have come to this relationship in Peace and Friendship” stated Roger Augustine, Founder and President of Gitpo Spirit Lodge. Augustine continued.
The Skills Council Foundation partnership was formed after over a year of working together, building trust, and friendship that shared an alignment of values, vision, and passion through meaningful relationship building supporting a positive difference in the lives of Indigenous Peoples across Canada. Skills Council Foundation will provide skills development services using Skill Council of Canada’s skill-to-employment platform, as well as a holistic wellness program leveraging Gitpo Spirit Lodge’s programs, plus their experiences and knowledge of culture, history, and language to support First Nation communities across Canada.
"As an Indigenous leader for 48 years first serving my community as Band Councilor then as Chief for 16 years, and then as Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief for New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island for 16 years, retiring in November 2021, my priorities were always focused on advancing, while preserving, our peoples' cultural, economic, spiritual wellness.” said Roger Augustine “Strengthening our communities through education and training provides the best opportunity for people to become the leaders of the future." Augustine continued
“After several key meetings, discussing issues surrounding lack of clean water, lack of education, mental health issues, addiction challenges, and more, it became clear that together, Skills Council of Canada and Gitpo Spirit Lodge recognized that together they had a bigger purpose and more work to do,” said Brad Loiselle, CEO of Skills Council of Canada.
"For over the past 18 months Skills Council, Canada, and Gitpo Spirit Lodge have been working together on a number of important projects incorporating the 'two-eyed seeing approach'. Together, in Skill Council Foundation we will be able to maximize our collective talents and strengths to have a long-term impact on the implementation of the Call to Action # 92-Business Reconciliation and others." said Tom Mann, Managing Director, Gitpo Spirit Lodge.
“It has been an honor and privilege to have met such incredible leaders who I now call friends. I have learned so much by listening to their heart-filled stories, both of us sharing each other’s truths, and truly connecting our energies to focus towards a better, inclusive future.” Loiselle concluded.
About Skills Council Foundation
Skills Council Foundation is an Indigenous majority-owned not-for-profit organization focused on supporting Indigenous communities across Canada with access to skills development and wellness programs.
About Skills Council of Canada
Skills Council of Canada is based in Ottawa, Ontario is a social impact-focused organization building holistic integrated solutions that support Canada’s Sustainable Development Goals with a prime focus on education-to-employment. Operating in collaboration with Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations, the Skills Council of Canada promotes skills development for: the development of good health/well-being, access to quality education and equal employment, gender equality, access to clean drinking water, affordable clean energy, decent work for economic growth, innovative technology ecosystems, infrastructure, reducing inequality, sustainable communities, and developing partnerships required to support these efforts.
Skills Council of Canada’s Collaborative Support Ecosystem (CSE) includes thousands of skills courses, thousands of job role assessments and subject-based assessments, access to thousands of one-on-one mentors, tutors, career counselling, wellness coaches, and so much more, all managed by Skills Council of Canada’s robust learning management system. The CSE program also enables the Skills Council of Canada to supply its entire offering for free to all participants and partners.
About Gitpo Spirit Lodge
Gitpo Spirit Lodge has been the dream of AFN Regional Chief Roger Augustine (retired). His goal is to develop a national men’s wellness center with locations serving all territories across Canada. Many of our men (boys to men) have lived with various issues that affect their ability to function in their own First Nations, with the goal to develop them to become respected leaders and elders of the community.
“Gitpo” is the Mi’gmaq word for Eagle. The Eagle is the symbol of one of the seven traditional teachings of the Mi’qmag people
The focus at the Spirit Lodge is on offering a sense of peer support between different generations in each activity, from boys to elders. It has a cultural group that teaches Mi’gmaq language, and drumming, and traditional wellness initiatives led by Elders and Knowledge Keepers.
Contact Tom Mann for more information about Gitpo Spirit Lodge.