Dean with both owners of DC Automotive Tooling Inc. (Dean and Chris) and Dean’s Father.
I have been Canadian my whole life but only now am I seeing the real Canada for the first time.
From day one we are taught to understand that Canada is a great place for everyone. Canada is the buddy you go play hockey with on a mild winter day; Canada is the stranger who bumps into you and excessively says sorry; Canada is the good guy, taking care of everyone when they are down and out. However, as I learned about the recent developments in Tk’emlups te Secwepemc, it reminded me of the emotional traumas faced by our community throughout history. My elders cautioned me about being judged because of the colour of my skin.
Luckily, the neighborhood I grew up in was a cultural melting pot. Black, White, Asian, Indigenous etc. we all got along, so I was clueless to how some people felt towards others that were different. There is certainly a reaction when people look different and perhaps speak differently. I encountered this when I just started in the Tool and Mould industry; an indigenous man with dreadlocks was a little much and I faced blatant racism for the first time. Yet I persevered and today, twenty-nine years later I own a successful Tool and Mould company and continue to rock dreadlocks!
When June was declared National Indigenous History Month in 2009, I made a point of telling people about my background. Having the entire country focus on learning and knowing the history of my people gave me a sense of pride in myself and my community. I started spending summers on Walpole Island to get to know my indigenous roots better and I read books such as The Road that Led to Somewhere that outlined my family’s history. I found out that my African American ancestors escaped slavery by coming to Canada and that my great-great grandfather married ‘Chief White Cloud’ of the Cherokee nation in Virginia, Thomas Hopkins’ daughter giving me my multiracial identity.
The history of treatment towards Indigenous people was something I had little knowledge of. Even today, our society is still working towards equality and I am hopeful for a brighter tomorrow.
On my part, I make it a priority to educate those on the struggles and history of my people. The more people who know about a problem, the easier it is to fix it. I’m proud to say my business, DC Automotive Tooling Inc., is a place of equal opportunity.
My business partner, Chris, and I ensure that it is a safe space for everyone. We try to create learning opportunities by bringing attention to the holidays and traditions of various cultures and we encourage anyone with a talent for tooling or machining to apply to our shop!
Link to website: https://www.dctool.ca/