A History of CAHRMA in Canada
The creation of CAHRMA started back in the mid 1990’s when Diane Carriere was recognized for her work with Aboriginal engagement within corporations. She was asked to create an Aboriginal Initiative within the Human Resource Management Association of Manitoba. The goal was to help the members become more knowledgeable about Aboriginal engagement and to promote the involvement of Aboriginal people within Human Resources.
An Aboriginal Initiative Needed
Diane accepted the challenge and asked David Wynne to work alongside her as a co-chair of the initiative. Over the next number of years, the initiative was moderately successful. More from the standpoint of educating HRMAM members about Aboriginal inclusion, but not in attracting Aboriginal individuals and communities to become involved in HRMAM. The main issue identified was the unique culture and traditions within the communities. This meant that traditional HR processes and practices would not necessarily work. Networking, which was one of the foundations of the initiative, did not work because non-aboriginal Human Resource practitioners did not fully understand the culture. Neither could they provide appropriate counsel or expertise to assist the communities to grow their Human Resource function. A second significant issue was many of the Aboriginal communities did not have a Human Resource department or practitioner in place. As a result, they did not understand or appreciate the need for Human Resources.
A National Initiative
So, in 2009, Diane and David, together with a number of high level Human Resource professionals, started working towards creating CAHRMA. CAHRMA is a national organization aimed specifically helping Aboriginal communities develop their Human Resource functions. It also serves to strengthen their business practices and position them to respond to the changing markets around them. This will then ensure they follow appropriate regulations and practices to eliminate challenges to their operations. It took a while, but the Canadian Aboriginal Human Resource Management Association was officially incorporated federally on May 26, 2011.
The Association is run by a group of volunteers dedicated to growing the Association and providing expertise and guidance to the Aboriginal communities across Canada.