Canadore Honours First People
Canadore celebrated the grand opening of its newly-designed First Peoples’ Centre today.
The Aboriginal community is the fastest-growing population in Canada. Nearly 20 percent of Canadore’s total student population is of Ojibway, Oji-Cree, Cree Algonquin, Mohawk, Inuit or Métis decent from Ontario, Québec and nation-wide, one of the highest representations in the provincial college system.
“At Canadore, we pride ourselves on being welcoming, supportive and inclusive to all of our students,” said Mary Wabano, Director of the First Peoples’ Centre. “This Centre is truly a home away from home for our Indigenous students and is reflective of our culture, values and traditional teachings. This beautiful new space is functional and equipped with resources to help our students to succeed in their studies.”
The Centre’s new design and concept is inspired by the teachings of the Medicine Wheel. The Wheel’s cardinal directions representing vision, relationships, reasoning and movement, are depicted as significant attributes to a person’s learning journey. The location’s physical structure heavily incorporates natural elements to signify the important relationship the First People have with earth, fire, water, stone, wood and plant life. The Centre also boasts an Aboriginal student lounge and a multi-purpose meeting room that will enable the College to continue to develop flexible learning opportunities through the use of technology.
Over 350 First Nation, Inuit and Métis students on campus have access to an Elder in Residence, a focused Aboriginal Student Association, counselling, peer tutoring and mentorship over the course of their academic experiences. Wabano credits Canadore’s 80.6 per cent Aboriginal student retention rate, which is higher than the provincial average, to the support provided by these services and resources.
“Our goal is to offer and integrate cultural relevancy and Indigenous knowledge within our programs and increase opportunities and pathways for students to further their education to earn dual diplomas, graduate certificates and specialize in their chosen field of study,” said Wabano.
Indigenous Preparatory Studies and Indigenous Pre-Health Studies are two programs unique to the province that apply traditional culture to conventional education to make it more meaningful for Aboriginal students. In addition, 20 community-based programs are instructed across Ontario in partnership with five Aboriginal Education Institutes.
Following the morning grand opening, the seventh annual Welcome Powwow, hosted by Nipissing University and Canadore College, took place beside the Education Centre Pond.
Canadore provides access to over 60 full-time quality programs and has outstanding faculty and student services. The College confers approximately 1,000 graduates each year and has over 37,000 alumni.