THUNDER BAY – “Each of our organizations has substantial expertise and leadership qualifications to deliver Indigenous studies that are well regarded. Working together will enable us to maximize opportunities and supports for Aboriginal learners and create purposeful pathways for learners to pursue post-secondary education,” stated Jim Madder, President of Confederation College in Thunder Bay.
Confederation College, Trent University and First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding at FNTI on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, formally recognizing an ongoing partnership between the institutions that brings together a strong alliance of critical resources in Aboriginal education.
Derek Sagima, FNTI President and CEO remarked, “We are pleased to contribute to the strengthening of Indigenous education programs by working collaboratively with our post-secondary partners. Whether pursuing college or university studies, this partnership will serve to benefit learners through innovative supports and pathway options as they move within the post-secondary system.”
All three partners deliver Indigenous Studies programming that is well established, innovative and recognized for academic leadership. This new relationship, which is the first of its kind in Ontario, will create pathways for Aboriginal learners across the three institutions. This initiative provides greater alignment for Aboriginal learners transitioning from a First Nations institute to a northern college to a university. Conversely, this relationship will enable university students to learn from colleagues in First Nation and northern Ontario college settings.
Trent University is highly respected for its offering of the only Doctorate program in Indigenous Studies in Canada. The First Nations Technical Institute was the first established facility among Aboriginal institutions and since the 1970’s, Confederation College has consistently delivered Indigenous Studies programming. All three institutions share a strong focus on educational pathways between college and university, a commitment to supporting student success, and a desire to build capacity and opportunities for Aboriginal leaners. Together, they will be putting their best resources together to encourage and support First Nation, Métis and Inuit learners to pursue post-secondary studies. The goals of the partnership will be to:
- Design, develop and implement academic programming and related initiatives.
- Identify and implement mutually beneficial opportunities to address the academic interests of First Nation, Metis and Inuit learners in post-secondary environments.
- Improve capacity in the areas of program development and delivery.
- Increase Indigenous participation in and access to current and future academic programs through pathways created in the area of Indigenous Studies.
- Increase input in consultations and policy development undertaken by FNTI, Trent and Confederation in the area of Aboriginal education and other programming that impact Aboriginal learners.
- Improve programs and courses offered by the parties including the perspective of FNTI, Trent and Confederation in all areas of teaching, learning and service delivery.
“Trent University is pleased to partner with Confederation College and First Nations Technical Institute on this exciting new project to support Aboriginal Learners,” said Dr. Leo Groarke, President and Vice-Chancellor of Trent University. “At Trent, we pride ourselves on being a leader in Indigenous education and an institution which is known for a strong focus on offering cultural and academic support to students of Indigenous heritage. We are pleased to continue to build on that tradition with this new partnership.”
Today’s signing was marked with a traditional Wampum Belt gift giving ceremony in which each of the three partners received a beaded Wampum Belt in a shadow box which showcased the logos of each of the three institutions. This gift giving ceremony is a longstanding communication tradition of Indigenous peoples and the exchange is rooted in notions of mutual respect and friendship. Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples, both represented within the partnership, have historically used beads as a tool to foster and strengthen relationships both with other Indigenous peoples as well as Settlers.
The partnership will be in effect for the next five years.