(Source)--I have long been a champion for Indigenous rights and reconciliation. Yet I am ashamed to say, the thought had never even occurred to me that the title I proudly held could evoke such a response, or even be viewed as disrespectful to the very reconciliation process that I support.
So upon reflection, I have changed my title within the organization to president and lead executive officer.
The use of First Nations names and iconography has been a hot topic. It got me to thinking...should I change my name? Let's do some research first:
It's originally a Latin word. It can be used to mean head of anything. Which it always had. It meant that before anyone even knew the Western Hemisphere existed. Not everything has to be a thing and you don't get into heaven by changing your job title, Catherine.
Here is what Dr Chief Robert Joseph, who runs the Canadian Indigenous Corporate Training program, had to say on this matter
In October 2017 a school district board in Ontario passed a motion to remove “chief” from all job titles out of respect for Indigenous communities. The action was, according to a school district spokesperson, a proactive step towards reconciliation. There was a mixed reaction to the move but the most common response, from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, was confusion.
What I found interesting is that the articles I read on the topic overlooked an obvious aspect that should have arisen as part of the discussion. Namely that “chief” is a European title. As explained in the definition above, the term was applied to American Indians. It is not an Indigenous word. How would the numerous specific cultures spread out across the vast landscape of what is now known as North America share a common term for their leader?--Chief Dr Robert Joseph
Just a little fact for the people on this beautiful Thursday.
Oh, and no, I will not be changing my name. You can call me Chief or Ryan or really anything. Just don't load the pods and click the blogs.