Painting Strategic Plan Paddle

Indigenous education at ĤƵ wins national award

ĤƵ won the 2024 CICan (Colleges and Institutes Canada) bronze award of excellence in Indigenous education. The award was presented at the CICan conference in Calgary on April 30.

ĤƵ CICAN Conference attendees with Indigenous Education bronze award

Indigenous Education at ĤƵ got national recognition at the Colleges & Institutes Canada annual conference taking place in Calgary

“This award is a great honour,” says Todd Ormiston (Tutchone & Tlingit), Executive Director of Eyēʔ Sqȃ’lewen, the Centre for Indigenous Education and Community Connections. “It is important that we paddle together in a good way and honour the many forms of Indigenous resurgence we are seeing in post-secondary education, and in communities.”

The CICan Awards recognize and promote excellence at Canadian colleges and institutes. The Indigenous education award recognizes colleges that contribute to learner success, reconciliation and to the socio-economic development of communities.

This award recognizes Camosun’s commitment to Indigenous education, our partnerships with Indigenous communities and perhaps most importantly the success of our students.

Lane Trotter, President of ĤƵ

“I’m proud of our work in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations,” says Lane Trotter, President of ĤƵ. “This award recognizes Camosun’s commitment to Indigenous education, our partnerships with Indigenous communities and perhaps most importantly the success of our students.”

The award recognizes Camosun for Indigenizing its strategic planning, governance, and leadership. The new Strategic Plan (2023-2028) is grounded in the four Rs of Indigenous education— relevance, respect, reciprocity, and responsibility. The plan is organized around six strategic priorities, each represented by a uniquely designed paddle.

The Indigenous Peoples in Trades Training program then took these six designs, and working with Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners, instructors and community members carved and painted the designs into the form of traditional Coast Salish War Canoe paddles. The paddles were presented in a ceremony to college board members, leaders, and elders, and are also displayed in college boardrooms and gathering places.  

“T Indigenous Peoples in Trades Training program exemplifies how Camosun is integrating equity into its mission,” says Larry Underwood (Coast Salish), Indigenous Trades Coordinator. “T paddles serve as a powerful reminder of the ongoing journey toward a more inclusive and equitable future, resonating with each of us as they emphasize a collective commitment to embedding shared values into the broader college community.”

Camosun’s commitment to Indigenous Education evolved over 30 years. Two new Indigenous studies programs, the Advanced Certificate in Ways of Indigenous Leadership & Learning and the Indigenous Community Wellness Certificate are now, or soon to be offered. Camosun seeks to weave Indigenous ways of being and doing into its practices, resources, and spaces. Over 700 Camosun employees completed the TELŦIN TŦE WILNEWL (TTW) course, which examines the legacy of colonization, and explores how Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing can influence teaching and learning.

“By prioritizing Indigenous education in skills training, strategic planning, and governance, institutions like ĤƵ ensure that all the talent we see in our cities and communities is provided an opportunity to contribute to our economies. It’s an absolutely critical element of Canada’s future prosperity and community well-being,” said Pari Johnston, President and CEO of CICan. “Congratulations on this well-deserved award.” 

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