The importance of continuing to strengthen Indigenization and decolonization efforts at Selkirk College has been laid out in a new document that will help the regional post-secondary institution work towards strengthening relevant programming and services for students, staff and the greater community.
In the last week of October, Selkirk College held a launch event at the Castlegar Campus that brought together those who helped create the plan: Elders, First Nation and Metis partner governments, students, scholars, and community leaders whose support will be key to a successful and remarkable future. The focus of the speeches, drumming, singing, inter-tribal dance, live art and music, and speaker’s panel was the 12-page Indigenization Plan 2019-2024.
The launch event for the Selkirk College Indigenization Plan 2019-2024 included traditional dancing and drumming presented by young people across the region.
“This living document brings together the vision of how Selkirk College can improve participation and success in post-secondary education for Indigenous students, continue the work of decolonizing the college, and attract more Indigenous faculty and staff to the college,” says Selkirk College President Angus Graeme.
The plan is the result of several years of consultation, relationship building, and research into best practices on decolonizing and indigeneity in post-secondary education. It focuses on five main areas that include governance and policy, curricula and programs, supports and services for students, employee development and tools, and facilities and infrastructure.
Important Step for Students and College Community
With learners at core, the plan provides a framework for action and desired results. The details of the plan are comprehensive with examples of measures that include further research on governance models and strategies, expansion of the Elders Program, exploring development of land-based learning in a variety of disciplines, professional development for staff, and Indigenous language being reflected in signage and campuses.
“Post-secondary is a place where discussion, dialogue, learning and leading social change really does make a difference,” Graeme says. “Selkirk College aspires to be a leader in the inspiring work of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Students expect post-secondary institutions to be invested in the work of decolonization and Indigenization. This is exciting work for all of us at the college.”
Selkirk College student Sophia Wuttnee spoke at the launch of the 12-page Indigenization Plan 2019-2024 that took place at the Castlegar Campus. The plan is the result of several years of consultation, relationship building, and research into best practices on decolonizing and indigeneity in post-secondary education.
Guiding documents like the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action, the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the recent decision by the Provincial Government to pass the BC Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (Bill 41), and several already existing memoranda of understanding signed between Selkirk College and Nation governments in the region are reflected in the overall scope of the plan.
“I am proud to be part of a college that is taking the steps to integrate Indigenous history and teachings into its curriculum,” says Sophia Wuttnee, a student in the Human Services Diploma Program. “It was an honour to watch the unveiling of Selkirk College’s Indigenization plan, brimming with true care and respect for all.”
The entire Indigenization Plan 2019-2024 is available online.