CAMPBELL RIVER, BC – In its ongoing efforts to recognize the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the Province of BC’s Bill 41 and Canada’s steps towards reconciliation, Grieg Seafood BC has created a new position – the Director of Reconciliation.
Orland “OD” Hansen, who is of Inuit-Danish descent, recently accepted the position and joins the Grieg BC family with over 20 years of experience in Indigenous relations in the oil and gas industry.
“We are very excited to welcome Orland Hansen to the Grieg team,” said Rocky Boschman, Managing Director of Grieg Seafood BC. “His professional and personal experience in Indigenous relations and reconciliation will help us grow, not only as a company, but as people and partners going forward.”
“We appreciate the value and importance of our Indigenous partners in the territories where our farms are operating, but I think there are a lot more opportunities to learn from them, listen to them and grow with them. Having our employees recognize UNDRIP and our commitment to reconciliation will be a part of that, and this will be supported by the insight Orland has developed over several decades.”
As the Director of Reconciliation, Hansen will work with coastal Indigenous communities. He will then liaise with Grieg BC’s employees to help the company move towards better understanding of the importance and purpose of reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples, as well as UNDRIP.
“I thought that it was very interesting and forward-thinking for a company to appreciate that the climate is changing across the country in every industry,” Hansen said. “To me, it’s progressive for a company like this to realize, ‘Let’s be in front of the curve and lead by example, let’s become engaged now rather than because you have to, and take the lead.’”
“I think it’s going to be an educational tool so that everyone has an appreciation of where they are, why they’re here and that we should appreciate that we are allowed to be here. It’s important to have that appreciation because then they can build relationships and partnerships that work for everyone, as opposed to a process where you check off consultation and have no regard for the desires of the Indigenous peoples.”
This vision of approaching reconciliation from within the company is what sold Hansen on taking the job and is ultimately what is taking him away from Calgary and the oil-and-gas industry he’s known for 30 years.
Hansen “grew up in the bush” with his hunting and trapping family in Aklavik, Northwest Territories. He fondly recalls growing up in that small community and getting around via dog teams in the winter. He attended Residential School for four year in Inuvik as a teenager before entering the oil and gas industry in the 70’s.
In the late 80’s Hansen got married and grew interested in politics, first becoming a councillor for the Hamlet of Aklavik then the mayor, but when children entered the picture, Hansen chose his family over his roots and he and his wife relocated to Calgary to be closer to better health and education systems.
Hansen received his applied degree in Petroleum Engineering Technology from SAIT in 1997 and began travelling back and forth between Alberta and NWT. As the lead on many projects in NWT, Hansen became more involved with Indigenous engagement and consultation.
He realized that working with Indigenous communities was where his heart was and decided to go into Indigenous relations full time for energy companies. Prior to accepting the position with Grieg Seafood in February, Hansen “cut his teeth” in Indigenous relations with Schlumberger as the Aboriginal Affairs Advisor, then most recently for Husky Energy.
In his spare time, Hansen enjoys stone and bone carving and is looking forward to meeting some west coast artists, learning from them and possibly doing a collaboration.
“I’m really excited,” Hansen said about his role. “This is dear to me, and something I’d really like to do. It shows respect. It shows that the company and their ideals are such that they have an appreciation of where they are and of the people that are indigenous to that area. It’s in my job title, but I would have to gain appreciation from the communities here and what they think reconciliation means to them and what they think we as a company should be working towards.”
“The onus is now on industry as well as government to keep [reconciliation] going, to keep showing that you’re serious about working with communities, about listening to them and following up on it – taking their advice and requests and actually doing something about it.”
One of Hansen’s first tasks at Grieg is to help the Indigenous & Community Relations department host five members from three partner First Nations in Norway March 1 – 6 to tour farm operations, a hatchery and processing plant.
“I’m really excited,” Hansen said. “What excites me is a newer industry, new province, and a new world on the west coast. It’s beautiful here. I love it already and I’m excited to meet the community members – really excited.”