The University of Winnipeg joined Manitoba’s five other universities, three colleges, and the Manitoba School Boards Association on Friday, April 14 to collectively reaffirm their commitment to making Indigenous education a priority in Manitoba.
A re-signing ceremony for the Manitoba Collaborative Indigenous Education Blueprint (Blueprint) was held at RRC Polytech’s Roundhouse Auditorium, Manitou a bi Bii daziigae.
UWinnipeg was represented by Dr. Todd Mondor, President and Vice-Chancellor; Angeline Nelson, Acting Lead, Indigenous, and Director of Community Learning and Engagement at Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre; Dr. Jino Distasio, Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and Acting Provost and Vice-President, Academic; and Colin Russell, University Registrar.
“At The University of Winnipeg, we are proud to reaffirm our commitment to advancing Indigenous education and supporting Indigenous students,” Dr. Mondor said. “We recognize that our work is ongoing and there is always more to do. Through collaboration and partnership with other institutions, we can continue to build upon our collective strengths, identify areas for improvement, and make progress toward our shared Reconciliation responsibilities and our goals to ensure equitable access to education and success for Indigenous students.”
First signed in 2015, the Blueprint created an official partnership dedicated to advancing 10 commitments informed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action.
“More is accomplished when educational institutions work together within a shared framework,” said Nelson. “Being able to regularly connect with other institutions on specific priorities within the Blueprint helps to share best practices, build strategic goals, and develop meaningful partnerships.”
Since first signing the Blueprint, the University has launched a variety of initiatives to support Indigenous students. These include: a Thematic Major in Indigenous Languages and three certificate programs (Indigenous Languages, Teaching Indigenous Language for Vitality, and Supporting Multilingualism and Indigenous Languages in Schools); adding a Métis Inclusion Officer to the Aboriginal Student Services Centre; an Indigenous Insights flexible education program for organizations wanting to understand the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; the Weweni Indigenous Scholars Speaker Series; and innovative programs to support Indigenous students pursuing advanced studies, such as the Pathway to Graduate Studies program and Indigenous Summer Scholars Program.
The University looks forward to continuing, in partnership with other institutions and Indigenous communities, to increase access to education for all Indigenous learners.