Day to Day
My co-op experience as a Junior Analyst at Crown Indigenous Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) has given me a new perspective on truth and reconciliation, and Indigenous issues in Canada. This position has allowed to me to gain a better understanding of the history of colonization in our country and ongoing impacts on First Nations.
The Specific Claims Branch of CIRNAC settles historic land claims that are brough forward by First Nations throughout Canada, the branch executes the important work of providing compensation for these historical land-takings from First Nations groups. Some of my most memorable experiences have been meeting with First Nations and hearing about their history and cultural connections to the land, these are perspectives that need to be heard and having a forum to reconcile the events of the past is very important to provide a resolution.
Working in the Vancouver office is a small but dedicated and team of people who are committed to maintaining a high level of due diligence in the settlement of claims and are adept at taking on diverse roles; from negotiation to research and project management.
Learning and Adaptation
Completing a co-op placement at the office has allowed me to gain exposure to many fields including historical research, indigenous law issues and financial analysis.
At Specific Claims the team is very focused on integrating students into projects and giving them a meaningful role. Students are highly involved and valued throughout the process of negotiations, and when analyzing or evaluating Specific Claims. Students with a multi-disciplinary orientation can succeed in this position as it often requires resourcefulness and creativity to produce solutions for complex tasks.
Accomplishments and Challenges
Some of the accomplishments or outstanding experiences that I have had over the course of my work terms with Specific Claims include providing work-up and feedback for a ministerial decision note, developing a financial compensation profile, and consulting with different departments to create research products to inform negotiations. The work that I was involved in with the team allowed me to gain exposure to current issues in Indigenous justice and to learn more about working with the federal public service.
Overall, working with Specific Claims was a great experience that developed confidence in my abilities and gave me a sense of direction for the career opportunities I wanted to pursue post-graduation.