Mary the Emissary
Mary the Emissary
In this installment of our multi-part Get to Know Us Better series, demonstrating how Goldcorp’s vision of Together, Creating Sustainable Value is more than job creation, career training and infrastructure, we share a story about how the exchange of knowledge and cultural perspectives can lead to social, environmental and local benefit. Here we introduce you to a Goldcorp future-changer who’s helping converge corporate innovation and ancient tradition.
Mary Boyden blazes trails. Aboriginal by birth, she grew up in Toronto, then moved to Elliot Lake, where she trained as a mine ventilation technician, eventually relocating to Timmins to become the first woman working underground at Pamour Mine (now owned by Goldcorp’s Porcupine Gold Mine (PGM)).
She joined Goldcorp in 2010 as Indigenous Community Relations Manager at PGM, cultivating partnerships with Cree, Ojibwe and Algonquin communities, while also reconnecting with her Aboriginal roots and Elders. Today she is a trusted conduit between corporate innovation and ancient tradition, weaving the past into the future for new horizons in mine planning and reclamation.
It’s a key role that underpins Goldcorp’s commitment to empowerment, environmental stewardship and a massive undertaking to rehabilitate 250 acres of PGM land as well as abandoned sites from yesteryear. Click here to read more in Above Ground Magazine.
“Before Goldcorp, mining had taken place here [in Timmins] for 100 years without Aboriginal or community group consultation,” says Boyden. “My job was to correct this oversight and encourage thought convergence for a new era of resource development. It has evolved organically into a balance of traditional and modern practices for the best of both worlds.”
From the outset, Boyden’s been a cultural emissary. At Dome pit, she and coworkers heeded the call of the moose and the wisdom of Traditional Practitioner Martin Millen, which catalyzed communion. (Click here to read the story). She facilitated Goldcorp funding for youth initiatives which built bridges with now-grown adults in Timmins, at PGM and on advisory groups. She fostered the cultural reclamation movement to amplify the voice of Elders and view the big picture as it flows laterally, not just top down.
On a personal quest west to a ceremonial gathering, Boyden and Millen met Josias Fiddler, renowned Elder and Traditional Healer for Sioux Lookout Health Authority, who they invited to PGM for input on reclamation plans. Upon seeing the scope and scale of the projects, Fiddler summoned his peers, which gave rise to the AMAK Institute.
An acronym for Anishanaabe Maamwaye Aki Kiigayewin (Ojibwe for ‘all people coming together to heal the earth’), the think tank comprises top Indigenous Knowledge Guardians partnering with Goldcorp as well as Social Innovation Generation, Golder Associates and several universities, including the University of Waterloo, which deems the learning circle a ‘social innovation.’
Over 100 delegates from government, academia and resource sectors attended an AMAK conference and witnessed the power of collaborative reclamation at the old Coniaurum site, which now features an Aboriginal Teaching Lodge, Healing Lodge and Ceremonial Teepees, where monthly events attract citizens of all ages and walks of life.
“It’s become a community gathering place,” says Boyden. “It’s also a point of pride for AMAK and Goldcorp. Both are gaining international acclaim for embracing spirit-driven collaboration and proving that profitable business can be grounded in honourable tradition. I’m thrilled to be part of it. I’ve got the best job in both worlds.”
Check back soon for future Above Ground Blog stories about AMAK.