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BMO launches 2023 ᐑᒋᐦᐃᑐᐏᐣ wîcihitowin, refreshes Indigenous Advisory Council membership

September 20, 2023 | Diversity, equity and inclusion

BMO has released ᐑᒋᐦᐃᑐᐏᐣ wîcihitowin (pronounced: wee-chih-hito-win) — our 3rd annual Indigenous Partnerships and Progress Report.  A nehiyawewin/Cree term meaning “helping and supporting each other”, ᐑᒋᐦᐃᑐᐏᐣ wîcihitowin highlights work happening across BMO to create progress and drive inclusion for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis customers, colleagues and community partners.  

We are proud of the impact stories we profile annually in the BMO Indigenous Partnerships and Progress Report. The pages of this report profile relationships with First Nations, Inuit and Métis customers, community partners, and colleagues that are creating progress for Indigenous education, employment and economic empowerment.

“We welcome the newest members of BMO’s Indigenous Advisory Council (IAC), whose advice and guidance are fundamental to our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation,” said Darryl White, CEO, BMO Financial Group. “At the same time, we’re honoured to share the progress and the steps we’re taking towards deeper understanding, economic empowerment, and eliminating barriers to inclusion in partnership with Indigenous customers, communities and colleagues.”

– Darryl White
CEO, BMO Financial Group

We also recently welcomed new IAC members and acknowledged retiring members for their service.  Incoming members include: former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Ovide Mercredi;  children’s author and Chief of Williams Lake First Nations Chief Willie Sellars; Carol Anne Hilton,  author and Founder & CEO of the Indigenomics Institute; Tabatha Bull, CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business; Nadir André, partner and national leader of the Aboriginal Law Group at Borden; Ladner Gervais and Denis Carignan, co-founders of PLATO, one of Canada’s largest employers of Indigenous IT professionals.

“I believe that success for my community comes from focusing on the future, and as a member of BMO’s Indigenous Advisory Council, I apply that focus to advise the bank on policies and practices that support economic development and opportunity for Indigenous peoples. Banks have a large role to play in society. BMO’s leadership matters and will have an impact on Indigenous education, careers, and economic advancement.”

– Chief Roy Whitney Onespot
Chief of the Tsuut’ina Nation and member of the BMO IAC

Last week the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business announced our successful seventh-consecutive Gold Level Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) re-certification, a recognition of BMO’s 21 years of commitments and partnerships to create progress in education, employment and economic empowerment for Indigenous peoples. 

“For over 30 years, BMO’s Indigenous Banking Unit (IBU) has partnered with Indigenous communities across Canada, advancing economic independence and helping customers and partners shape their futures. Through long-time relationships and a wide network of branches and business banking offices, both on- and off-reserve, we offer financial education programs, innovative and accessible financial products and services such as housing financing, investment management solutions and long-term financing for on-reserve infrastructure and economic development.”

– Michael Bonner
Head BMO Canadian Business Banking, Head Enterprise Indigenous Strategy

Help others access education on their Reconciliation journey

There is no Reconciliation without truth. Education is foundational to meaningful allyship. Last year, BMO partnered with First Nations University of Canada to make the Nisitohtamowin ᓂᓯᑐᐦᑕᒧᐃᐧᐣ eLearning course free and accessible to anyone to deepen their understanding of Indigenous perspectives in Canada.

  • More than 90% of BMO colleagues have completed Nisitohtamowin ᓂᓯᑐᐦᑕᒧᐃᐧᐣ.  This month, you can help others on their education journey by sharing the eLearning course with your family, friends, and others in your personal and professional network. Encourage them to dedicate time in September to their learning journey. 
  • BMO will continue to raise awareness for Nisitohtamowin ᓂᓯᑐᐦᑕᒧᐃᐧᐣ in our Canadian branch network throughout September with select branch wraps and educational content created for our digital screens.

A collage of five BMO branch teams sporting orange shirts in support of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
BMO Canada teams in orange shirts to demonstrate allyship in support of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

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