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Michael Grossman donated, and Vale matched it

October 13, 2021

Sudbury, ON-based Michael Grossman, senior mine engineer, is part of the T3 Mine team in Thompson, MB. Photo: Michael Grossman

When Michael Grossman thinks back to some of his high school experiences in Kitchener, ON, during the early 2000s – knowing what he knows now – he’s dismayed, and disappointed. 

“In history class, there was a chapter, no, it was just part of a chapter, on residential schools,” said the senior mine engineer and 10-year Vale employee who works at our T3 mine in Thompson, MB, but lives in Sudbury. “I knew maybe one Indigenous person at my high school. Our emblem and mascot had a headdress. I remember, one day, some kids were passing the headdress around, trying it on and taking pictures, and I felt really uneasy, it wasn’t right and so I didn’t participate. The year I graduated there was talk about changing the emblem, and I’m pretty sure it was. But, the school was located on Indian Road, and that hasn’t changed.” 

Michael went on to Queen’s University in Kingston, ON, and shortly after he graduated, he got a job at our operations in Thompson. He credits moving to Thompson for starting him on a personal journey to develop his awareness and knowledge of Indigenous history and culture. 

“In Manitoba, they celebrate Louis Riel Day instead of Family Day. When I first got to Thompson I remember thinking: ‘Wasn’t Louis Riel hung for treason? Why are we celebrating him?’” 

Riel was a hero who laid the groundwork for his vision of a Canada that included the Métis Nation and protected Métis rights, but in Michael’s history class, he was reduced to a soundbite from a chapter in a history book. 

Today, he knows so much more. “I’m educating myself so that I know the truth about what happened, and to fill in the blanks from the history books. This happened in Canada, and even though it’s uncomfortable, it’s part of our history. I think it’s important to have perspective on why things are the way they are, and to figure out ways of how we can do better.”

Another way Michael is doing better is by taking advantage of Vale’s Canada-wide matching program, which is available to all employees who wish to donate to a registered charitable organization benefitting Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Vale will match the individual donation up to $50,000. Michael chose the Indian Residential School Survivors’ Society (IRSSS) based on a recommendation from an Indigenous friend. For more recommended charitable organizations, scroll to the end of this story. 

“Any charitable matching program that is offered through the company is a great opportunity because your dollars go so much further, and it’s so easy to do,” said Michael. “With Truth and Reconciliation Day recently taking place, I thought it was a nice and appropriate gesture by Vale.” 

Going forward, he will continue to educate himself with audiobooks on Indigenous culture and stories; listen to Indigenous music, seek out Indigenous art and watch TV shows like Reservation Dogs on Disney+. 

“If you make the effort to learn about other cultures in Canada, you gain more perspective – which is always good.” 

If you would like to take advantage of Vale’s matching program too, the deadline is this Friday October 15

Just pick a registered charity (see list below of some recommended charities) and then send your receipt to employee.donation.match@vale.com, again by October 15, and Vale will arrange the match.

Newfoundland and Labrador:

Manitoba:

Ontario:

National Organizations:

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