St. Clair College making aboriginal students a priority
College signs pledge to respect and promote Indigenous students on campus
St. Clair College has signed on to a protocol aimed at improving the relationship between Ontario's colleges and their aboriginal students.
Representatives from the local aboriginal community and St. Clair president Patti France signed the protocol Tuesday. The signing ceremony included aboriginal drumming, prayer and a smudge from an elder.
Drum circle marking the opening ceremony to the Indigenous Education Protocol signing at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/stclaircollege?src=hash">#stclaircollege</a> <a href="http://t.co/AeaLkqmpan">pic.twitter.com/AeaLkqmpan</a>—@StClairCollege
The agreement highlights seven concrete strategies that commit the school to making indigenous education a priority, ensuring aboriginal traditions are respected and increasing the number of aboriginal employees.
Acknowledging indigenous students
Maxine Nahdee, a councillor for First Nations, Metis and Inuit students at St. Clair College said the protocol will help the school recognize the needs of its indigenous students.
"It will help us be more aware of the indigenous people in the post-secondary system," Nahdee said. "Once the indigenous people are acknowledged and there's more awareness, they'll feel more comfortable."
The protocol has been making its way through colleges and technical institutes across Canada, with St. Clair being the 13th Ontario college to sign on.
Nahdee organized the project to have the protocol signed at St. Clair. She said every school needs to do more to make aboriginal students a priority.
"I'm pretty excited," Nahdee said. "It's quite a commitment made by our college president."