Thought Leadership

Learning from Indigenous Tradespeople

  Jeremy Bout   |     April 22, 2021 |   4 minute read
Learning from Indigenous Tradespeople

Storytelling enriches the learning experience. Even before attending school, children learn through stories. It is through stories that family history and traditions are passed on from one generation to the next. Fictional stories and mythology develop our capacity to imagine the impossible.


Our initial experience of learning came through the stories we were told. The power of storytelling continues to be a powerful tool in learning, within the classroom, as well.  From story book time to videos, our brains are always looking for the story.


Why do we remember stories? Memories are formed through the emotions a particular story elicits from us. Those memories have a way of engaging us, connecting us, and helping us to form our own opinions, beliefs, and experiences. Secondly, stories are a form of communication and we learn how things work through stories.


While I may be presenting the idea, the truth is that Indigenous Peoples have understood the power of storytelling for generations as they pass on knowledge through oral traditions. For generations, First Nations, Inuit, and Metis cultures have long passed on knowledge through the art of storytelling. It  has been used to teach cultural beliefs, values, customs, history, rituals, and their way of life and in fact, storytelling for Indigenous communities provides the foundation for relationship building, and experiential learning. 


Stories of Indigenous Peoples in Skilled Trades


As a storyteller I have the privilege of seeing the world through the lens and often I learn things from an entirely new perspective.  In the last year, I have criss-crossed North America and met, spoke with, and learned so much from Indigenous community members.


I enjoy spending time with people who take ideas from their heads and connect them with their hands. As a manufacturer turned filmmaker myself, I love capturing skilled people doing what they do.


While filming on various worksites, I had the opportunity to listen and learn from Indigenous Members in skilled trades. Through the high impact media shared in the Indigenous Members in Skilled Trades Experience you will hear from the Indigenous people who have launched successful careers in various industries, including the construction, manufacturing, transportation, and hospitality industry.


You will hear from Marc Emmerson, part of the Ojibwe Nation. Marc is the Lead Carpenter and Safety Representative at Morley Hoppner Construction in Ottawa, Ontario. He shares his personal insight on the importance of being fully present.


So many employers I have met have said the same thing. If you are consistent, if you can be trusted to show up, then you can be trusted with the gift of training. When you engage the co-workers around you will be willing to invest in you. 


A Boat Builder from Henley Boats, Ikkidluak Temela displayed great courage as he went outside of his comfort zone to step in front of the camera and share his knowledge of boat building.


Edge Factor Indigenous Members in Skilled Trades Experience featuring a skilled boat builder.



An enthusiastic and positive attitude comes easier to some, but it is valuable to all. A team is far more productive if they share enthusiasm and a willingness to stay positive. It allows a team to do hard things, solve big problems and create excellent customer experiences. This enthusiasm and warmth of character was evident to me through my encounter with Proshop Attendant, Lyric Pitawanakwat -Peltier and the other young women at Rainbow Ridge Golf Course.


If you want to build a great career in the trades, or anywhere for that matter, make sure you have the foundational skills. Some of these will start right where you are now, Math class, English class, or even watching Edge Factor videos. We have a library of media that will help you go deep in career exploration and preparation.


It takes great wisdom to learn from those who have gone before us. Their authentic human experiences and knowledge can broaden our perspective. When you look out at the landscape it can be easy to miss opportunities. Looking at the same landscape knowing the history, challenges and success stories that make up what you are looking at, gives you a whole new appreciation.


Once you hear the stories of these industry leaders, you will be infused with the desire to step up and step out of your comfort zone. To see these careers in a new way and be inspired to make a difference in your community by launching a career in skilled trades. You can start that exploration and preparation with Edge Factor.


Through the Indigenous Members in Skilled Trades Experience, you will have the opportunity to learn from various Indigenous community members who have launched successful careers in skilled trades including, Carpenters, Electricians, Hospitality experts, Safety Supervisors, Power Engineers, and a Millwright, just to name a few. 


For many students and job-seekers, the future may feel very uncertain, scary even. If you can apply some of these lessons, you can overcome obstacles, climb mountains, and build a bright future. One day, your story will be the one that others remember and are inspired by.


 If you enjoy the art of learning through the lens, Edge Factor’s e-learning platform is filled with thousands of stories, career videos. VR experiences, lesson plans and quizzes. We would love to hear how you are using the Edge Factor platform in your school or in your community.


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