Brockville, Cornwall, Kingston – Every college in Ontario is incorporating Indigenous knowledge into its programs and services, says a new report to the provincial government on the colleges’ response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
There is a dedicated counsellor for Indigenous students and an Indigenous education council advisory group at every one of the 24 colleges. As well, most colleges have implemented courses and learning modules specifically devoted to Indigenous issues.
“Incorporating Indigenous language, culture, identity and community in education is a key step towards reconciliation,” said Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development. “I want to thank colleges for joining us in supporting greater access to lifelong learning opportunities for Indigenous people.”
“We’re helping more Indigenous students successfully acquire a post-secondary education that will lead to a rewarding career,” said Glenn Vollebregt, President and CEO, St. Lawrence College. “Providing more opportunities for Indigenous students continues to be a priority at our college and throughout the province.”
There are more than 10,000 Indigenous students enrolled in Ontario’s colleges. The report to government, Addressing Truth and Reconciliation: Summary report of Ontario’s colleges, describes the findings of a 2017 survey of colleges on the programs and supports available to those students.
The survey was developed by Colleges Ontario, the advocacy organization for the colleges, and the Indigenous People’s Education Circle, a committee of college educators, counsellors and administrators.
“There has been significant momentum in the work we’re doing to address reconciliation,” said Carolyn Hepburn, the dean of Indigenous studies and academic upgrading at Sault College and chair of the Indigenous People’s Education Circle. “Clearly, there’s more to do, but colleges are committed to providing Indigenous students with the education and supports they need and deserve to be successful.”