Media & Content

Seven Lessons from Indigenous Peoples in Skilled Trades

  Edge Factor Team   |     May 07, 2021 |   6 minute read
Seven Lessons from Indigenous Peoples in Skilled Trades

“A worldview is the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing the whole of the individual's or society's knowledge and point of view. A worldview can include natural philosophy; fundamental, existential, and normative postulates; or themes, values, emotions, and ethics.” - Wikipedia


Indigenous community members often have a unique worldview based on their culture, experiences, histories, spirituality, traditions, languages, and values. It is important to learn about these realities and worldviews in order to provide optimal learning opportunities for Indigenous students. 


As Jeremy Bout mentioned in a previous post, Learning from Indigenous Peoples in Skilled Trades, “Storytelling enriches the learning experience and the Indigenous Peoples have understood the power of storytelling for generations.”  


In the last year, Edge Factor has filmed Virtual Workplace Experiences, Skilled Responder and Career Profile videos, and STEAM and Soft Skills videos with Indigenous Tradespeople as the hosts of these videos. The Indigenous hosts we filmed with worked at places like the Toronto Zoo, Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation, Bruce Power, Manitoulin Transport, Vale mining, and at Indigenous-owned and operated companies like Pow Wow cafe!


While on-set of these film shoots, Indigenous community members shared their stories, experiences and perspectives on launching successful careers in various industries. We’re excited to share our “Lessons Learned” from just a few of the stories we’ve had the honor of sharing.


Learning from Indigenous Tradespeople


Included in Edge Factor’s Indigenous Members in Skilled Trades Experience is a toolkit with high impact media showcasing Indigenous members in skilled trades careers. Here are just seven of them and lessons we can learn from them. 


  • Be fully present at work and learn from others.

Marc Emmerson, part of the Ojibwe Nation is the Lead Carpenter and Safety Representative at Morley Hoppner Construction in Ottawa, Ontario. He shares two tips that led to his personal success, “One most important tip is show up everyday, no matter what and secondly, be a sponge. Soak in knowledge from everyone.” 

  • Practice courage by simply trying something new. 

Ikkidluak Temela A Boat Builder from Henley Boats demonstrated courage as he stepped outside of his comfort zone to step in front of the camera and share his knowledge of boat building.  It takes courage to try new things, but therein lies the magic and the opportunity to grow and surprise yourself when you accomplish something you never thought possible. 

  • Enthusiasm and a positive attitude spawns new opportunities.

Lyric Pitawanakwat -Peltier, a Proshop Attendant at Rainbow Ridge Golf Course demonstrated this positive attitude. Being enthusiastic and facing challenges with a positive attitude led her to explore and eventually find the career she enjoys and excels at. 

  • Disciplined behaviours make a solid foundation for any career.

John Paul Kohoko, an ENC Technician at Ontario Generation demonstrated how a disciplined and methodical character is so crucial for the grid to stay operational. Without power generation modern life as we know it would not be possible.  

“As JP and I toured the dam site and I was given the overview of how water and gravity can be harnessed to create electricity, I marveled how many careers intersected this facility. But also, I was struck by the disciplined way that JP and the team ran this facility.” said Jeremy Bout, Founder and Producer at Edge Factor. 

Discipline is something we can practice everyday, right where we are. To launch a successful career you need foundational skills and being disciplined is key to attaining those necessary skills.  


  • Math skills come alive on the job. 

What we learn in the classroom may not always seem relevant, but it matters in the long run. This was the message Journeyman Carpenter, Wayne Pitawanakwat at Stuart Olson was trying to impart. Listen to his message in this Geek Out episode “Math in Motion”. 




  • Trustworthy leadership will inspire others to invest in you.  

 Supervising Nuclear Operator at Bruce Power, Danielle Dereski is a trusted leader. The Bruce power team generates one of the largest sources of power for the grid. Danielle’s leadership ultimately affects our greater community using the product they create.


Danielle was clear in her message, “We want to help you advance in your career. If you display skills such as effective communication, good ethics and good community involvement we want you to work here and advance your career.” 


  • Dedication and resiliency will open future opportunities.

While the future may be uncertain at times, once we set our minds on a particular path and dedicate our time and effort to it there is no telling what opportunities might come our way. 


Samson Recollet, Millwright Apprentice at Vale, displayed how resilience and dedication led him to see the amazing equipment used at Vale, “If I didn’t take the Millwright program or get into a Millwright Apprenticeship I would never have been able to see these things.” 


All of these lessons, from being fully present, to displaying courage, a positive attitude, being trustworthy and resilient and practicing math skills, create opportunities for future success in the workplace. 


Questions? Feedback? Contact us.

Email: or message us on the Live Chat. We’d love to hear from you. 

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