siyeýe Contracting Ltd., a partnership between Southwest Contracting Ltd. and members of the Musqueam Nation, launched today at the Fraser River Discovery Centre in New Westminster.
Founded by Musqueam members Kwes’ Kwestin (Jim Kew), Nolan Charles and Terry Sparrow, siyeýe is intended to give First Nations a voice in the heavy civil construction industry.
The members are partnering with Southwest Contracting’s ownership group, composed of Will Pauga, Jason Rook and Gary Veldman.
The Fraser River Discovery Centre has been working alongside siyeýe to provide education on reconciliation and what it means for construction along the Fraser River.
Promoted as the “go to place” to help companies partner with Indigenous contractors, siyeýe Contracting said it will bring together Musqueam and First Nations culture with the construction industry, according to a media release. This partnership will benefit stakeholders in their projects through the increase of Indigenous construction companies and utilizing “a wealth of experience in site preparation and servicing on a large scale,” said Terry Sparrow in the release.
The launch represents a bringing together of communities, said Nolan Charles.
“All we're doing is bringing the business community together to talk about what reconciliation means for all of us. There's no roadmap, there's no script, there's no right answer or wrong answer, wrong question, great question. It's about inclusivity,” Charles said.
The launch of siyeýe Contracting comes at a time when the City of Vancouver recently adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Included within UNDRIP are provisions that the city will ensure procurement policies in contracts include opportunities for business who are owned or partners with the three Nations.
“Part of that means that construction opportunities within the city need to be offered, or at least made available to Indigenous firms who could do that work,” said Stephen Bruyneel, external relations and development director for Fraser River Discovery Centre.
“The construction industry is not going to know where to go or how to do that. And so how do they find that out as part of reconciliation? siyeýe will help with that.”
The siyeýe model is intended to allow companies in heavy civil construction to engage in reconciliation with the Indigenous communities of the area. Available on their website is a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) that outlines specific actions and deliverables. The RAP is updated bi-yearly, according to the siyeýe website.
“The RAP will act as both a brief history record and a planning tool for the work of siyeýe to execute our vision of reconciliation. Our action plan will also directly address the 92nd Call to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” said the RAP.
According to Nolan Charles, siyeýe is bringing together communities and fostering conversation by making a difference and giving the industry a voice.