Building relationships and community connection: the importance of cultural training

National Indigenous History Month is a time to recognize the rich history, heritage, resilience and diversity of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people across Canada.

At Englobe, the meaningful relationships we have built with our Indigenous partners over the years are more important than ever. When we can share success with these communities, we can all work together to ensure we are creating a positive future for generations to come.  


We are proud to have Edmond Collins, Manager, Indigenous Relations, on our team. His role is to develop and strengthen relationships with Indigenous community partners and clients, help develop strategies to better understand our partnerships, and to help us nurture inclusion throughout our organization. Over the past few years, Edmond, who is a member of the Fort William First Nation reserve outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario, has undertaken the responsibility to provide cultural training to our employees across the country. 


To both Edmond and our leadership team, this is essential training for Englobe team members. Just like any client, every First Nation community we work with has different needs and expectations. By equipping our team members with the proper knowledge and understanding of indigenous cultures, we are taking the first step to developing and maintaining strong relationships with our project partners.  

These conversations aren’t just for professional development for our team members, they’re for personal development.

Edmond Collins, Manager, Indigenous Relations

For Edmond, it’s important that his training evolves with each conversation and following his sessions, he has the opportunity to help fill in the gap that people commonly have about Indigenous culture and history.

Every time I deliver the training, someone reflects on why they haven’t learned about these topics before. They take the time to listen and really understand the history of our communities and the impact of residential schools.

Edmond Collins, Manager, Indigenous Relations

From project staff working directly with our Indigenous communities to members of our corporate team, providing cultural training to our staff has left a positive impact. Ashley Downing, Senior Human Resources Business Partner, considers having an in-house expert in Indigenous Relations invaluable.

Recently, Ed provided an opportunity to further our understanding of indigenous cultures and how we can continue to support our employees during their career at Englobe.

Ashley Downing, Senior Human Resources Business Partner

From understanding how to correctly address Elders to the appropriate way to approach meetings with Indigenous partners, every new piece of knowledge can help us continue to embody our values and create a safe working environment for all our employees. 

Randy Barkhouse, Director of Operations - Environment, Southwestern Ontario, knows that having an expert like Edmond is vital to his own growth.

After participating in Ed’s training, I gained an unbelievable appreciation and awareness of the role First Nation peoples have played in shaping North America. Their treatment throughout history has been nothing short of shocking and the unwavering commitment to honor their ancestors and culture by continually providing awareness to non-First Nations people is not lost on me.

Randy Barkhouse, Director of Operations - Environment, Southwestern Ontario

At Englobe, our goal is to ensure all members of our team understand the importance of cross-cultural exchange and communication and take care to include community voices and interests during each project. And for Edmond, his open-door approach and positive attitude means our team members can always come to him with any kind of question, any time.

There is always time to learn. By learning, we can better understand each other, care for each other and make our relationships stronger.

Edmond Collins, Manager, Indigenous Relations

To learn more about National Indigenous History Month in Canada, visit:  

Englobe is one of Canada’s premier firms specializing in professional engineering services, environmental sciences, and soil and biomass treatment.