It is a priority for Canadian universities to ensure that opportunities and space are available to Indigenous students, who often face barriers in postsecondary education. This National Indigenous History Month, learn how one Canadian institution is a trailblazer in bringing Indigenous Knowledges and culture to campus.
The First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) opened its doors in the fall of 1976 (as the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College) to nine students and has since grown to educate over 1,000 students per year at three campuses in Saskatchewan. Many of their students are from Indigenous communities.
First Nations-owned, FNUniv strives to integrate ceremonies, knowledge keepers, languages and traditions into education to preserve, protect and interpret the history, language, culture, and heritage of First Nations.
FNUniv has several unique initiatives aimed at providing opportunities for quality bilingual and bicultural education. The institution incorporates an Elder Council into their governance structure and an Elders’ office on each campus as a unique support service providing presence, wisdom and traditional counsel. Elders also lead ceremonies and cultural teaching on campus in the Ceremonial Tipi.
The institution is home to resources vital to their mission, such as the National Centre for Collaboration in Indigenous Education (NCCIE) and the Indigenous Continuing Education Centre, which offers a number of courses, micro-credentials and trainings open to students, organizations and the public. FNUniv also offers its own free course to the public, “An Introduction to Understanding Indigenous Perspectives in Canada”.
This June let’s recognize the contributions made by the First Nations University of Canada, whose mission is to educate Indigenous and non-Indigenous students alike within a culturally supportive environment—a mission achieved, according to recent graduate Mary Ledoux.
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Tagged: Indigenous education