Yukon College officials invited First Nations partners to sign the Canada Indigenous Education Protocol yesterday, a document designed to help the college better serve indigenous students.
The protocol commits the college to include First Nations traditions in their curriculum, increase the number of indigenous staff, and support local self-determination through education and research.
"It's so exciting to have it here in the Yukon," said Tosh Southwick, Yukon College's Director of First Nations Initiatives. "We can look at it every day, and say 'wow, we did something really great today, because we met this part of the protocol.
College president Karen Barnes, Gwitchin elder Annie Bernard, and Tosh Southwick, the college's director of First Nations Initiatives, traveled to Ottawa in December to commit Yukon College to the protocol.
"When I went to this meeting, I realized: 'wow. Yukon College is on the map everywhere," said Bernard. "We're in the limelight, we're shining, and we're going to continue to shine. Because there's wisdom here, there's understanding, there's strength."
"Yukon College is a leader in this," said Southwick. "I can tell you we are a leader in this, because we get educational institutions from across the country who call us, and say: 'how do we do this in a meaningful way? How do we make this real so our students experience it on the ground?'"
Yukon College signed the document in Ottawa with 25 other colleges from across Canada in December, and used yesterday's signing as a chance to share the document with First Nations partners and the greater college community.