With a budget of $ 15 million, Laval University will soon launch new training programs “in line with aboriginal realities” with the goal of breaking down barriers to First Nations graduation. Speaking of a “good starting point”, the two more students hope the rest of the university network will follow suit as well.
“Very often, when we choose our university studies, we feel like we are losing our culture or at least we are moving away from it. Adapted programs help us and motivate us to get there, ”said Jon Jerome, another geography student in the country.
Kanessa Mitchell, a student in graphic design, agrees. “It’s a start to my education so that we can eventually have our own university or at least make it like a circular, non – periodic aboriginal structure.” Programs educate our aborigines so that they can leave and do what they want. Most often, there are programs offered by the government or agencies imposed on us. We need to be able to better manage and get started in our own way, ”she argued.
The two students went through Kiuna, the first college study center dedicated to educating local people since the closure of Manitou College. University Laval did not hide the fact that it was inspired by this establishment approach to the Odonac Reserve in Center-du-Quebec.
Kiuna made me solidify my identity and tell her that I too was going to do something in my life, that I had dreams and goals.
Kanessa Mitchell, a graphic design student at the College Study Center dedicated to the education of indigenous peoples
Jon Jerome reminds us that more “traditional” baccalaureate do not often apply in the aboriginal environment. “These are often colonial concepts that, unfortunately, cannot be applied there in the reserve. Having more specific programs can lay a real foundation for our communities. And it can open the eyes of everyone in Quebec, too. [de] Create links. This will not only benefit the first countries, “he said.
Guardians of the Territory
Thus, the “Guardians of the Territory” program will be launched soon. It provides “field training” for tribals who want to work for the protection and management of lands and resources in their communities. About $ 4 million will go to this event. Up to $ 800,000 will be invested in the creation of an archeology microprogram for Aboriginal students. Others are also in development.
“We are going to add all of this together with the elders and the experts to add to the setbacks in the tribal communities. For us, it’s an opportunity to hear from young aborigines, to hear what they have to say to better meet their needs, ”explained Sophie D’Amers, Laval Rector at the University. Press. “I want to break down systemic barriers” by providing more support for language learning, she said.
It changes the feelings of tribal students. If things are to change, we must take action. Studying at a tribal university or an institution like ours should become a real opportunity in the minds of the people.
Sophie D’Amers, Rector of Laval University
His team plans to offer 10 postgraduate scholarships to indigenous doctoral students who are “interested in a career” as a university professor. Partnerships with Laval, the founder of the organization, are also on the table to “promote the business culture” among tribal students and “give them the opportunity to start a business while respecting their values,” the rector said.
This is the MasterCard Foundation, which finances the $ 15 million it pays to a higher education institution. Jennifer Brennan, director of the Canadian Programs Company, said she wanted to help young Aborigines “reconnect with their land” through education.
The experience is fraught with obstacles
Senator Michelle Adette, who recently took the oath of office in Innu Language – the first for the Canadian Senate – has also been closely involved in the development of these new programs as an advisor on reconciliation and indigenous education to Laval University.
“I sum it up in three words: gratitude, pride and emotion, because in my case my experience with post-secondary education was not so easy. It was mainly for reasons of my generation, yet there were many obstacles, pitfalls, racism. I was not well around,” he said. Summary of an experienced woman in an interview.
Speaking of the “shift” taking place, Mr.Me New study programs “will nurture the courage of departing members,” Audette said. [les] Communities or those who actually continue their training. “When I came to Laval University in 2019, yes, I had fears, apprehensions, uncertainties, but I quickly saw people who wanted to walk with us, really want to do more and do better,” she says.
“In my opinion, self-determination is one of the most powerful tools in education. It gives me satisfaction to know that people like Kanessa and Yon can get what I don’t have. I think we support many countries, many communities, ”the senator concluded.