Yukon College, First Nations develop online course, First Nations 101

Yukon's First Nations and Yukon College have teamed up to develop an online course focused on the territory's aboriginal history and culture.

4 hour online program aimed at businesses, NGOs

Yukon College worked with 14 Yukon First Nations to develop the online course, focused on the territory's aboriginal culture, history and contemporary issues. (Minnie Clark)

Yukon College has teamed up with territory's First Nations to make a course on Yukon aboriginal history and culture more widely available.

"Yukon First Nations 101" is already a mandatory program for students at Yukon College; a new online version is aimed at businesses, non-governmental organizations and other interested Yukoners.

"I think there is an explosion of interest in this area," said Joanne Lewis, of the College's Northern Institute for Social Justice, which is delivering the program.

'We sensed a growing interest in having it online,' said Joanne Lewis, of Yukon College's Northern Institute of Social Justice. (Yukon College)

Lewis said the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's work has helped build momentum. She said more businesses and organizations are recognizing the importance of building good relationships with First Nations communities, customers and clients.

"This is something they want to have their executives and the people in leadership positions in their organization start to take, so we're working with them," she said.

Ruth Massie, Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN), has recommended the program as a "starting point to understanding our history and our story in the Yukon."   

The online course is organized into five modules, each focused on a different aspect of Yukon First Nations — history, heritage and culture; governance; residential schools; contemporary topics; and world views.

The course is available to any businesses or service providers at a cost of $90 per person. Lewis said the first corporate client has already signed up — Northwestel.

"What we're hearing generally, and what we're sensing in the last two or three years, is an interest in knowing more about the environment in which people live and work," she said.