The Provincial Government is providing funding to answer the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
$6.15 million has been pledged to aid Indigenous students in British Columbia.
“We’re investing in the future of Indigenous students throughout British Columbia,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.
The money will be used by institutions to either develop or improve learning environments, as well as partnerships or programs to improve post-secondary educational experiences and outcomes for Indigenous learners – including supports to make post-secondary more accessible and that address systemic barriers.
“Students are our future. By improving Indigenous students’ experiences and outcomes in post-secondary school, we are advancing reconciliation and helping to build a brighter future for everyone,” said Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.
Programs and activities supported by the funding include:
- outreach activities and events that promote Indigenous cultures
- cultural training for faculty and staff
- support services including financial, academic and career counselling
- partnerships and engagement in Indigenous communities, such as through community liaison, peer mentorship or Elders-in-residence programs
These types of initiatives are especially impactful in the north, as the University of Northern British Columbia’s Aboriginal Service Plan states: “Northern British Columbia is unique in that 17.4% of its residents are of First Nations descent, compared to 4.8% for the province as a whole.”
UNBC currently has a First Nations Centre, an Elder-in-Residence Program, a First Nations Counsellor, and a Cultural Coordinator.
The institution also has a First Nations Studies department that offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs.