June is National Indigenous History Month and on June 21, Canada celebrates the heritage, culture and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. During National Indigenous Peoples Day many communities celebrate their culture and heritage on or around the summer solstice — the longest day of the year. It also marks an opportunity to pause and reflect on the realities of our nation. Many Canadians are increasingly aware of the impacts the continuing legacy of Colonization has on society. The movement to re-dedicate ourselves to the promise of reconciliation is gaining momentum and organizations throughout Canada are looking to inspire their audiences as contributors. We’re proud to represent some of the leading Indigenous Speakers calling for a change in this area. In today’s blog, we’re highlighting one of these acclaimed presenters focused on a new way forward. Jesse Wente, the director of Canada’s new Indigenous Screen Office, advocates for inclusion and diversity in the representation of indigenous peoples in media. As a pop culture commentator on CBC’s Metro Morning and the former Director of Film Programmes, at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Jesse’s uniquely positioned to offer insights on our society through the lens of pop culture. In doing so, he serves to not only help us reflect but also guide us towards a more inclusive future.
Jesse’s Top-3 Audiences:
- Government & Municipalities
- Human Resources | Diversity & Inclusion
A New Way Forward
Jesse uses recent pop culture examples along with more historical references to illustrate his points: reconciliation must be considered for the success of the audiences’ future regardless of their organization, industry, and country. He believes diversity and inclusion in media is a huge part of that. Jesse’s message is one of hope. He empowers audiences to be change-makers through small acts that can have a huge positive impact. Jesse blends humour and self-awareness into his talks that are not about condemnation or grievance but focused on what can be accomplished by individual actions to improve the lives of marginalized communities of indigenous people.
Inclusion for Success | In North America, immigration and reconciliation are changing the face of society. Governments, organizations and individuals must prioritize empathetic engagement with a diverse group of people. This presentation positions inclusion as a benchmark and pathway to success for business, institutions and the broader culture. Jesse offers up key strategies to increase inclusion and diversity in respectful and realistic ways. He empowers audiences to take action: “Start small, don’t stop there, but at least start.”
On Indigenous Film
Jesse was recently featured on a panel of indigenous filmmakers where he discussed the importance of indigenous people reclaiming their ownership of their narratives – he pointed out “99% of films about Indigenous people have not been made by us. We deserve that opportunity as much as anyone does.” Watch the full segment below: