Indigenous Education

Indigenous Education


Celebrating the anniversary of Treaty No 1.

August 3, 2022

Today is the 151st anniversary of Treaty No 1, the original lands of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, a place many of us call home, including a majority of our Campuses.

Treaties were signed between Indigenous peoples and settlers based on principals of friendship, peace, and mutual thriving. They acknowledge inherit Indigenous rights to land, resources, and economy, and they remain in place “as long as the sun shines, the grass grows, and the rivers flow.”

As we know, in the past, Treaties were not honoured and great harms were brought upon Indigenous communities through policies and structures of assimilation and genocide; the lasting impacts still effecting Indigenous peoples today.

Treaty relationships did not grow and evolve with society, and that’s why it’s so important that concerted efforts are made to strengthen these relationships and define how we approach being in a Treaty relationship in the present and into the future.

Last year, RRC Polytech partnered with The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and the Indigenous Chamber of Commerce to extend the 4 Seasons of Reconciliation Education e-modular training program to the business community to support reconciliation efforts in Treaty 1 in honour of the 150th anniversary. We also held a virtual event for Indigenous students to learn and connect with Chamber business leaders. 

While institutions, government, and industry strive towards stronger and more equitable Treaty relationships, there’s many things we can do as individuals and groups to support our community towards reconciliation and greater understanding.

The College has made a public commitment towards advancing truth and reconciliation within its 2022-2026 strategic plan In Front of What’s Ahead. This includes addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action to advance Indigenous education in Manitoba, while also reflecting on the harms of the past, working to reconcile a broken trust in our education system and supporting the key role Indigenous peoples must play for our province to realize its fullest potential.

There are many ways to create action and movement towards reconciliation with the first being education and creating an open space for dialogue and inclusion.

A wonderful example is the initiative Paul Bourget, lead instructor in the Educational Assistant Certificate Program, took with the Origami Project with guidance from Elders. He connected the significance of the Japanese tradition of “Senba Zuru” and Indigenous teachings to his course content. The many layers of this project integrated creating 1,000 Origami cranes with students, the teachings of the Medicine Wheel, a traditional pipe ceremony and feast, and classroom assignments. One of the main takeaways for students is cultural safety as they work to enter the school system. You can watch the video on his project here.

Resources to learn about Treaties:

Stay tuned for the fourth annual RRC Polytech Truth and Reconciliation Week held during the last week of September.

Welcoming our new Navigation Coach!

July 6, 2022

We are proud to welcome Brittany Ross as our new Navigation Coach as part our Indigenous Student Supports team. She brings her extensive experiences to support Indigenous students on their learning journey.

Navigation Coaches are a first point of contact for current Indigenous students and can help with everything from finding your way around campus, problem-solving, sharing important resources and information, understanding College processes and accessing community services. They will also help connect you with other important support team members, who together, can ensure you receive the help you need.

Brittany has spent over 10 years supporting, advocating and mentoring Indigenous students in the adult education, and post-secondary education sectors. Through Brittany’s previous experience, she has a fundamental understanding of the importance of creating safe, respectful and positive environments. 

Click here to learn more about Brittany and connect.

Honouring Spring Equinox

March 24, 2022

Earlier this week, Miss Una Swan held a small pipe ceremony (watch her message) with students to honour and welcome in the Spring Equinox, a day where day and night are equal. Not only is the Spring Equinox recognized by many Indigenous cultures ceremoniously as new beginnings and rebirth, but there are many teachings and stories about Spring.

We’ve pulled together a few tales and teachings on the blog. (Click on the title to watch.)

Sisikwun: The Rattle by Wilfred Buck

Wilfred Buck is a local Elder who shares many teachings, including star teachings. Here he shares a teaching about Spring constellations and the rattle.

K’i Tah Amongst the Birch (National Film Board of Canada)

Filmmaker/activist Melaw Nakehk’o has spent the pandemic with her family at a remote land camp in the Northwest Territories, “getting wood, listening to the wind, staying warm and dry, and watching the sun move across the sky.” In documenting camp life—activities like making fish leather and scraping moose hide—she anchors the COVID experience in a specific time and place.

The Lake Winnipeg Project (National Film Board of Canada)

As our lakes and rivers begin to thaw and we all start to take advantage of these gifts, it’s important to know the context and history of our lakes and Indigenous communities. We also recommend viewing this series.

The Lake Winnipeg Project is a four-part documentary series that calls attention to stories of ingenuity and resilience in four diverse communities surrounding Lake Winnipeg, at a time when many external forces are imposing change.

Call for Participation in Indigenous Nursing Students and Alumni

March 18, 2022

Research Interviews with Red River College Polytechnic

We are looking for Indigenous students that are currently enrolled, or those who have recently graduated from the Pathways to Nursing, Nursing Baccalaureate, or Licences Practitioner Nursing programs at Red River College Polytechnic. Those who choose to participate will be asked to complete a short anonymous survey and participate in a 1-hour one-on-one interview with the researcher.

The Purpose of the Interviews

The interviews will assist in developing the parameters for the Bill and Shirley Loewen Indigenous Nursing annual bursary. The parameters will be co-developed by the Truth and Reconciliation – Indigenous Strategy and Business Development Department, Dean – School of Indigenous Education, Department of Advancement and Development, and the Student Financial Aid and Bursaries. 

The fund purpose:

This fund will support Indigenous students attending the Pathways to Nursing program and related Nursing programs at RRC Polytech. The fund’s goal is to ensure that Indigenous students who want to devote their careers to Nursing have all the support needed to graduate and gain their desired employment. 

The fund will support all Indigenous student needs, including but not limited to:

  • student support (educational and mental), 
  • equipment required for successful completion of the program, 
  • external accommodations, 
  • scholarship/awards/bursaries (the goal is to provide full tuition support), 
  • room and board.

Questions on the research or interested in participating?

Please contact Kyra De La Ronde

Matthew Monias performs at Directions 2021

November 9, 2021

Oji-Cree artist Matthew Monias, who goes by MattMac, recently performed at Directions 2021 powered by RBC Future Launch.

Directions is an annual business and applied arts conference showcasing Red River College Polytech students and local industry practitioners. Students spent the day in Breakout Sessions, in the Networking Lounge, and at the various Roundtables.

Hailing from Garden Hill First Nation, Manitoba, Mattmac has been blind from birth. He grew up surrounded by music both on the radio and singing in his community’s gospel choir. Mattmac began to struggle with depression at a young age and credits music for helping him cope. A fully self-taught artist, he first began to make beats and write songs when he was 13-years-old, and later taught himself how to play piano and guitar. He also has impressive skills with beat production software and equipment, and attributes his creative competencies to the support of the Blind & Famous group, a USA based collective of blind music artists who collaborate and connect with one another through the internet. Mattmac hopes to continue to use his platform to inspire others to know that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to.

Watch his performance here:

Meet our new Navigation Coach!

October 7, 2021

We are proud to welcome  Terri-Lynn Anderson as our new Navigation Coach as part our Indigenous Student Supports team. She brings her extensive experiences to support Indigenous students on their learning journey.

Navigation Coaches are a first point of contact for current Indigenous students and can help with everything from finding your way around campus, problem-solving, sharing important resources and information, understanding College processes and accessing community services. They will also help connect you with other important support team members, who together, can ensure you receive the help you need.

Terri-Lynn Anderson

Terri-Lynn Anderson is a proud, Métis woman and mother of four. Her passion is to continue helping Indigenous students become successful in their post-secondary studies and future careers.

Click here to learn more about Terri-Lynn.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 29, 2021

Content Warning: Residential Schools

Tomorrow, September 30, is a day we’ve come to know as Orange Shirt Day, a day that encourages conversation and education on all aspects of Residential Schools. It is an opportunity to create meaningful discussion about the intergenerational effects of Residential Schools and the legacy they have left behind that affect us all.

This movement was sparked by the story of Phyllis Webstad from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation. Phyllis was proud to wear the orange shirt her grandmother gifted to her for her first day of Residential School. The shirt was taken from her and she never saw it again. Phyllis represents the 150,000 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children who were forcibly removed from their homes and families and taken to Residential Schools. 

September 30 has now been declared as the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation by the federal government, and so the College will be closed tomorrow; giving us all an opportunity to listen, learn, reflect, and honour the victims and survivors of the Residential School System. As the College is closed tomorrow, we have invited staff and students to wear orange today as a symbol of recognition and support.

The work of reconciliation has just begun, and it’s important for all living on Turtle Island to know, understand and have respect for the truth before real change can take effect.

Tomorrow, there are events and activities you can take part in your community or online from many organizations including the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. You can also explore resources on our website, including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Actions, the Library and Academic Services Resources’ National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Book & Video Guide. You can also listen to Indigenous peoples and influencers online and share their content as well as talk to your friends and family about reconciliation and share what you have learned.

This day may be difficult for some, and we want to remind you to take care of yourself and take care of each other. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to those you trust, or to one of the supports we’ve listed below.

You can be a supportive alley by respecting boundaries as many Indigenous peoples experience this trauma and pain.

Supports and Resources:

National Indian Residential School Crisis Line 1-866-925-4419

Klinic Crisis line 204-786-8686 or toll free 1-888-322-3019

RRC student supports:


Mental Health Coordinator:

Elders in Residence:  

RRC Staff: Employee Family Assistance Plan:

Self-Care Suggestions:

 *   Call a friend you trust

 *   Go for a walk outside, exercise, do some light yoga, or move your body in a way that feels accessible to you

 *   Ensure you are getting good sleep and nutrition

 *   Connect with your culture, smudge

 *   Do a mindful meditation (find online)

 *   Have a warm bath or shower

Truth and Reconciliation Week 2021 will continue on Friday, October 1st with two live events. Click here to learn more and access events.

New training launched for goods movement and supply chain sectors

July 20, 2021


Are you ready to prepare for in-demand career opportunities in warehousing and distribution?

Red River College is launching a new six-week Material Handling 4.0 pilot program that provides industry-driven training, individualized student supports and hands-on work experience to those who face barriers to employment and education.

Participants will also enhance their soft skills, and be provided a full slate of wraparound supports, including opportunities for child care, all required personal protective equipment and supplies for work safety, and referrals to support services such as legal clinics, housing and health care.

The program builds on the successful training model used by Mohawk College’s City School in Hamilton, Ont. Upon completion of the training, participants receive a micro-credential and employment services to help them successfully transition into long-term, stable employment.

Red River College joins Mohawk College, Vancouver Community College and Nova Scotia Community College in piloting the new training, which is designed to help people transition into careers in the supply chain sector, while also supporting economic recovery in their regions. Funding for the pilot is provided by the government of Canada under the Future Skills program.

“Red River College is committed to building more pathways for our students — especially our Indigenous, newcomer and immigrant learners — to move from classroom to career with the human and technical skills they need to access gainful employment, all while helping to rebuild the Manitoba economy,” says Dr. Christine Watson, RRC’s Vice-President, Academic and Research.

What You’ll Learn

  • Supply chain logistics environment
  • Using technology in the material handling workplace
  • Product receiving, storage, packing and shipping
  • Important 21st-century workplace skills that employers are looking for


Applicants must meet all of the following criteria:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Legally entitled to work in Canada
  • Unemployed or working less than 20 hours per week
  • Not enrolled in full-time education

Course Details

  • Starts September 2021
  • Online and virtual delivery
    • Six weeks training
    • Two weeks paid work placement
  • Access to RRC student supports, including Indigenous supports Opportunity for child-care supports

If you would like to be contacted about the Materials Handling 4.0 program at Red River College, please visit

Family Strength Inspires Healing and New Career Path

April 29, 2021


Chasline Spence, a Pathway to Business, Creative Communications and Digital Technology Programs student at Red River College, has been selected to receive the 2021 Mínwastánikéwin Truth and Reconciliation Award, presented in partnership by RRC’s School of Indigenous Education and its Campus Store. The word Mínwastánikéwin is Cree, and means ‘to set it right.’

“Honestly, I felt really emotional because the story I wrote was really personal and I was able to talk about my father. It was good-emotional,” says Spence, the second student to receive the award.

Spence’s father is a Residential School survivor and she wanted to include his story in her essay, a response to the question “What does Truth and Reconciliation mean to you?”

“It was one of the first times we really talked about it,” she says. “Throughout the years he told me about what happened in Residential Schools, but this time he really opened up to me so I could write about it.”

In her essay, Spence shared the impacts the residential school had on her father, and in turn, her life.

“It wasn’t until I became an adult and then heard my dad’s stories that I realized what I have been going through in my life was a part of the effects of Residential Schools, and what stemmed from it.”

When she turned 18, she began her own healing journey. Now, after recently becoming a mom, she is on a path towards a new career in business.

“My daughter inspires me. I’m just ready for this change,” says Spence.

“For so many years I did carpentry, landscaping, I was a stagehand, I did a lot of physical labour, and when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter it was a sign it was a good time to change career paths. For me, it was all about timing and feeling ready and confident to take on the responsibility of post-secondary schooling. I feel ready now.”

Her daughter is now two and Spence has received her Mature Grade 12 diploma from Urban Circle Training Centre Inc., is completing the Indigenous Education Pathway program at RRC, and plans to go into the Business Administration program in the fall.

“I feel really blessed. I think because I have that gap in schooling, the program I’m in now is really preparing me for Business Administration and what’s to come next year. I’m really grateful.”

Spence says her education at Urban Circle helped her get a real understanding of Truth and Reconciliation.

“We really go deep into what TRC is, and what I want people to understand is that it wasn’t yesterday, it was recently. The Residential Schools and intergenerational trauma are affecting our Indigenous people and I’m just so glad that TRC started when it did so we can teach the new generation what it is and hopefully get some healing. It has lingered into our young people today and we are still being affected by it.”

Spence is the second recipient of the award, which seeks to advance Indigenous achievement and support Indigenous students at RRC. The grassroots initiative was created through the generous support of the College community during the first Truth and Reconciliation Week in 2019. Staff and students purchased T-shirts at the Campus Store that brought awareness to Indigenous issues and key dates such as Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Awareness Day.

“I’m just really happy that RRC considered me for the award,” says Spence. “I worked really hard on it and my dad is really happy about it. It’s about being recognized for it and it feels really good.”

Stay the Course Speaker Series: Derek McCorrister

April 12, 2021

Inspiring stories from RRC’s Indigenous Alumni

How do successful people get to where they are? What did that journey look like? What did they learn and how did they stay the course? What does it mean to be an Indigenous student in post-secondary?

The Stay the Course speaker series is a hand from one generation to the next, hosted by Carla Kematch, Manager, Truth and Reconciliation and Community & Engagement. Every month, incredible RRC Indigenous Alumni share their experiences on their journey to success. Advancing Indigenous achievement at RRC means listening to Indigenous stories. This is just one of the many ways we can embed the efforts of Truth and Reconciliation in our daily lives.

Derek McCorrister, Owner, Creative Director, Modern Clan

Originally from Peguis First Nation, Derek has extensive experience working with the federal government and Indigenous organizations in the private and not-for-profit sectors. He digs deep to build Modern Clan’s portfolio and uses his strategic savvy, technical knowledge and in-depth business understanding to navigate between client goals and end results.

Derek led the development of the strategic plan for Chief Peguis Investment Corporation, which has led to historic acquisitions for the Peguis First Nation. Derek continues to work in partnership with many clients through Additions to Reserves projects in Manitoba and still hones his graphic design and production artist skills daily.