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Red River College building pathways for Indigenous learners

July 15, 2019

As part of its ongoing commitment to advancing Indigenous achievement, Red River will launch a new preparatory program at the Exchange District Campus this fall: Pathway to Business, Creative Communications and Digital Technology Programs.

“We want to ensure Indigenous students have the opportunity to grow into all industry sectors,” says Rebecca Chartrand, Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy. “This new program will transition Indigenous learners into business, hospitality, marketing and communications, media production, and digital media design programs. We continue to look to community and industry to see where needs are and what we can do make Indigenous learners successful.”

Pathways are exploratory and preparatory programs that provide Indigenous Manitobans with the skills and supports required to transition into selected RRC programs by increasing their academic, personal, social and financial readiness.

When students have selected a career path and are ready to transition into a RRC program, Pathways offer the added benefit of reserved seats for Indigenous students, in an effort to remove the barrier of long program wait lists.

In addition to the newest Pathway, RRC’s School of Indigenous Education also offers a Pathway to Engineering Technology Programs (Civil, Electrical or Mechanical Engineering) and a Pathway to Health Programs (Dental Assisting, Nursing, Paramedicine, Science Laboratory Technology, or Veterinary Technology).

“Strong program development at the post-secondary level is key to growing Indigenous people into all industries,” says Chartrand. “Our role as a College is to enhance the environment supporting Indigenous learners, and to build the bridges that fill the gaps to support economic reconciliation by creating opportunities for training that will lead to meaningful employment.”

RRC is fully committed to providing the student-centred and culturally relevant wraparound supports required to help aspiring students successfully transition from community to classroom to career. Pathway students have access to the supports all Indigenous students have at RRC, including one-on-one counselling, assistance with day care and housing, financial literacy workshops, academic and resource coaching, coursespecific tutoring, access to Elders, and cultural activities such as ceremonies and teachings.

“When I first came to the College and was a Pathway student, they provided me a stepping stone with the academic supports and the peer tutoring, which I found really helpful,” says April Seenie, Pathway to Health graduate.

“It was very important. When our people see our people working in a field, it gives them a sense of pride. Seeing more and more representation gives hope because you can say, ‘If this person can do it, I can do it too.’”

Pathway to Business, Creative Communications and Digital Technology Programs is a nine month pathway to the following RRC programs:

  • Business Administration
  • Business Information Technology
  • Commerce Industry Sales and Marketing
  • Creative Communications
  • Digital Media Design
  • Hospitality and Tourism Management

For additional information, including fees and admission requirements, support with applications or academic advising, email or call 204.632.2483. Ask us about bursaries to cover the cost of tuition and books!

Students Meet and Greet with Industry at Careers in Construction

June 27, 2019

Future, current and graduated Indigenous students were invited to sit down with Red River College’s Indigenous Transition to Employment department and Akman Construction Ltd. for Careers in Construction, a round table discussion about Winnipeg’s growing construction sector. Held at the The Roblin Centre, the event also offered the opportunity to learn more about and RRC’s Indigenous Education programs and supports.

“These types of events are important because they create awareness for our industry partners as to some of the challenges they are going to encounter as they work through their Indigenous employment strategies: to know where Indigenous students are, what’s the skill level they have and what are some of the challenges they are having getting into the workforce,” says Frank Parkes, Transition to Employment Manager. “It also teaches our staff what the student’s perceptions of themselves are. To have these kinds of dialogues between our staff, students and industry partners really builds bridges that normally wouldn’t be there.”

The recently established Indigenous Transition to Employment department is part of RRC’s expanding Indigenous Student Supports and offers services such as resume and cover letter writing, and mock interviews to current and graduated Indigenous learners who are about to enter the workforce. The department also seeks to build relationships with industry to create a seamless transition from the classroom to career. Careers in Construction is one type of event they have hosted this year, along with industry specific job fairs.

“I think attendees got to see beyond the fear of the interview. They got to see the people who are behind the interviews and what motivates them. I find so many students are apprehensive about interviews or they don’t even apply for jobs because they really think that it’s beyond their skill level or they think or that person isn’t going to like them.”

“Events like this really tear down walls and will make students more comfortable when they go into an interview. I really enjoy seeing students understand the human side of the interview, the job and the career, and how it really is a people process and not just a system.”

Akman Construction Ltd. offered insight about the industry and what opportunities are available to Indigenous people in the trades. This event is just one example how Akman and RRC are partnering to advance Indigenous achievement.

With the Innovation Centre building project at the Exchange District Campus, RRC and Akman Construction have developed an Indigenous Training Program to grow Indigenous grads into the work force and build sustainability for generations to come. This program is a two prong approach: Akman will seek to collaborate with the trade base to ensure a certain percentage of the entire construction workforce are Indigenous workers or visible minorities, and partner with the existing RRC Indigenous educational programs in this initiative to provide further training opportunities for students and grads.

“Akman Construction has proudly partnered with Red River College to provide an Indigenous Employment Strategy at the Innovation Centre project,” says Jared Akman, Director of Operations, Akman Construction Ltd. “We are passionate about the program goals and committed to a successful outcome – ensuring lasting careers for our participants. We thank the College for their support in this important initiative.”

Akman has greatly surpassed their initial goal at the Innovation Centre site with 52% of the workforce self-declaring Indigenous. Grads of the Intro to Trades program, a 5-month preparatory sampler of the trades, are already reaping the benefits of this program with employment in the flag person position, an entry level position that is exposed to various positions and trades.

To connect with the Indigenous Transition to Employment department, contact Cari-Ann Page at or 204-632-2418.


Intro to Trades Students Receive Manitoba Hydro Bursaries

June 24, 2019

David Beaudin, Instructor and Program Coordinator; Sabrina Laroque; Polly Bergen, Manitoba Hydro; Maxine Critch, Instructor; James Slade, Instructor; Alexander Ring; and Thomas Bjorklund

Congratulations to Introduction to Trades students Thomas Bjorklund, Sabrina Laroque, and Alexander Ring!

On Thursday, June 13th, Manitoba Hydro visited RRC’s School of Indigenous Education to award the Introduction to Trades Award to support three students with their continued education.

“It feels great, like all my hard work is paying off. I can’t express my gratitude enough,” says Ring. “It’s going to make a huge difference for me. Everything helps and it’s all going towards my education.”

Introduction to Trades is one of RRC’s longest running Indigenous Education programs and provides students with the skills and knowledge to successfully transition into eleven different trades programs at Red River College. By creating specialized programs like Intro to Trades, the College is building bridges to advance Indigenous achievement so students can transition successfully from community to classroom to career.

“I learned a lot of fundamental job skills that I hadn’t learned before. It’s all applicable, and a lot of hands on work; there’s was a lot that I could put in my employment portfolio.”

Ring originally had plans of going into refrigeration, but through the Intro to Trades program he was able to explore all his options. He excelled in math and science so his instructor suggested a career in Engineering.

Now Ring is enrolled in the Pathway to Engineering Technology programs for fall 2019, another Indigenous Education program that prepares and transitions students into either Civil, Electrical, or Mechanical Engineering Technology programs.

“I could never even picture myself doing something like [engineering], but I definitely gained a lot of confidence and inspiration through this program. James, our teacher, definitely inspired me. I’ve gotten a lot more career minded in this program,” says Ring.

“I think it’s a great program, especially if you want to get into a trade. It’s a great way to get a head start. You get a better fundamental overview, not just one specific trade.”

For more information on RRC’s Indigenous Education programs, visit

RRC Launches New Cree Language Program

June 20, 2019

Indigenous Language student

In honour of 2019 being the International Year of Indigenous Languages, Red River College is expanding its Indigenous Language offerings by launching a new program aimed at preserving the Cree language.

The Indigenous Language – Cree program is part of the College’s ongoing commitment to advancing Indigenous achievement and supporting language revitalization.

“When you have a language, it’s like having gold in a vault. It’s very precious. It has a value,” says Ida Bear, a Cree instructor at RRC for 22 years. “It doesn’t have a monetary value, but it has a spiritual value.”

Originally from Norway House Cree Nation, Bear has been an instructor and Indigenous language advocate for over 50 years. She is a vivid storyteller who brings language instruction to life and uses many techniques to support language training, including art, music and land-based learning.

Recently, the University of Winnipeg bestowed an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree on Bear for her lifelong commitment to Indigenous language education.

“Everybody uses language; it has a function for communication, it’s a social institution, it’s a political institution, and it’s also personal for self-esteem,” she says.

For Bear, teaching Indigenous languages is very personal, and will become even more so this fall when she begins teaching her people’s first language as part of the newly launched program.

“Language needs to be protected,” says Bear. “In our societies, we were gifted with language as we were gifted with colour and our talents. For some, [that talent is] words, and I find that to be very spiritual.”

The Indigenous Language – Cree program will follow a similar model as RRC’s existing Indigenous Language – Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) program. Both will be full-time, year-long certificate programs that use land-based learning experiences and focus on the social, cultural and historical significance of Indigenous peoples in Canada and abroad.

“Strong program development at the post-secondary level is key to growing Indigenous people into all industries,” says Rebecca Chartrand, RRC’s Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy.

“We are committed to language revitalization, and our programs support language initiatives and train educators in the K-12 school system as well as community based programs. Our next step will focus on early childhood education, and as we move forward, we will continue to work with our elders, community partners and industry to see where the needs are and what we can do make Indigenous learners successful.”

Indigenous language programs are offered at RRC’s Notre Dame Campus, and include two three week practicum placements.

For additional program information, click here, email or contact our Indigenous Liaison Advisor at 204.632.2483.

National Indigenous Peoples Day 2019

June 18, 2019

This Friday, June 21, is National Indigenous Peoples Day!

There are many ways to celebrate and learn more about Indigenous culture. To start the day’s festivities, RRC’s Indigenous Student Supports department will give away Tobacco Plants at 10 am at the Ceremonial Grounds at the North West corner of Notre Dame Campus.

Tobacco is one of the most sacred medicines, and students and staff at the College use Tobacco as a gift for Elders or Knowledge Keepers to thank them for their time or teaching, as well as in ceremony. In an effort to be more sustainable, reduce costs, and to re-establish a spiritual relationship with the plant, the departments is growing their first crop of Tobacco in the Green House here at RRC. The plants are now 11 weeks old, and we have plenty to share! Come down, say hi, and get your own Tobacco plant this Friday!

National Indigenous Peoples Day Manitoba Events:

Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) APTN Indigenous Day Live 22-Jun 11am – 10:30pm 1 Forks Market Road, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Brandon Riverbank Inc. National Indigenous Peoples Day Celebrations 21-Jun 12pm – 8pm #1 & #8211; 545 Conservation Drive Brandon, MB
Childrens Museum Indigenous Peoples Day 21-Jun 11am – 3pm 45 Forks Market Road Winnipeg, Manitoba
Founding Nations of Manitoba Founding Nations Pow Wow 21-Jun 1pm – 9pm The Forks, Oodeana Celebration Circle
Immigration Partnership Winnipeg National Indigenous People’s Day 21-Jun 9am – 4pm Freight House, 200 Isabel Street Avenue Winnipeg, Manitoba
I am Love Project Chain of Love: Pop up Yoga in Honor of International Yoga Day and Indigenous Peoples Day 21-Jun 6pm – 8pm Camp Manitou Rink; 850 Green Oaks Lane Headingly, Manitoba
Indigenous Music Indigenous Day Live (In association with APTN Indigenous Day Live) 22-Jun 5:45pm – 10:30pm The Forks, Winnipeg, Maintoba
Lake Manitoba Treaty 2 First Nation Treaty Day Traditional Pow Wow 22-Jun


Grand Entry: 1pm & 7pm
Grand Entry: 1 pm
Hwy 68 Lake Manitoba First Nation, MB
Manitoba Metis Federation 14th Annual Indigenous Day 21-Jun 9am – 7pm Selkirk Park; 490 Eveline Street Selkirk, Manitoba
Morden, Manitoba with Habitat for Humanity Mordens 5th Annual Paddlefest 2019 + Indigenous Peoples Day 22-Jun 10am – 4pm Lake Minnewasta Recreation Area; Colert Cres Morden, MB
Northwest Metis Council Inc. National Indigenous Peoples Day 2019 (In association with MMF) 21-Jun 10am – 3pm 1st Street NW – adjacent to NWMC and WAC in Dauphin, Manitoba
Riding Mountain National Park Visitors Centre National Indigenous Peoples Day 21-Jun All Day 133 Wasagaming Drive Onanole, MB
The Pas Friendship Centre National Indigenous Peoples Day 21-Jun 5pm – 9pm MMF Hall, 1515 Gordon Avenue, The Pas
Thompson, Manitoba National Indigenous Peoples Day 21-Jun Sunrise Ceremony Starting at: 4:45am MacLean Park Thompson, Manitoba
Transcona Museum National Indigenous Peoples Day 21-Jun 1pm – 4pm 141 Regent Avenue West Winnipeg, Manitoba
University of Manitoba National Indigenous Peoples Day 2019 20-Jun 7:30am – 2pm University of Manitoba Campus; 745 Bannatyne Avenue Winnipeg, Manitoba
University of Manitoba U of M Teach-In For Reconciliation 21-Jun 9am – 4:30pm *All sessions will take place in 108 St. John’s College (Cross Commons Room) unless otherwise noted.
Treaty One Development Corporation & Canada Lands Company Kapyong Barracks Pow Wow 21-Jun 8am – 4:30pm Grant Avenue at Kenaston Blvd.

This list may not contain every event happening for National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Meet and Greet: Careers in Construction

June 10, 2019

Learn about Red River College’s Construction and Trades programs and meet with industry representatives from Akman Construction and the Manitoba Construction Sector Council to discuss Winnipeg’s growing construction sector. Akman Construction will present their exciting new Indigenous Employment Strategy.

Red River College students and trades alumni are encouraged to attend.
Please bring your resume and portfolio.

June 17, 2019 | 5 – 8:30PM
160 Princess Street, Exchange District Campus Dining Room – Main Level 

Door prizes available. Refreshments provided.

For more information, please contact Frank Parkes at

RRC Indspire Building Brighter Futures Bursaries Open Until June 15

June 5, 2019

Are you thinking about enrolling in one of Red River College’s Indigenous Education programs? You may be eligible to get your books and tuition covered by a RRC Indspire Building Brighter Futures Bursary!

Applications for the Indspire bursary are open until June 15, so don’t wait to apply! Start your education in a supportive environment grounded in Indigenous worldviews.

You can start your Indspire application online at, or contact Frank Parkes, Transition to Employment Manager, at or 204.632.2534 to start your bursary application. Bursaries are available on a first qualified, first allocated basis.

For additional program information or to start your College applications, email or contact our Indigenous Liaison Advisor at 204.632.2483.

Keep reading for available Indigenous Education programs.


NEW: Pathway to Business, Creative Communications and Digital Technology Programs

Explore your options and prepare to select a career path in business, hospitality, communications, marketing, journalism, media production, digital media design and more. Gain the skills to succeed in a supportive and inclusive environment infused with Indigenous culture.



Pathway to Engineering Technology Programs

Start your career in engineering today with the Pathway to Engineering Technology Program! This Pathway provides Indigenous Manitobans with preparation for the Civil, Electrical or Mechanical Engineering Technology programs at Red River College, by increasing their academic, personal, social and financial readiness.

Watch program video.



NEW: Indigenous Language – Cree
Learn the fundamentals of reading, writing and speaking Cree through a program grounded in Indigenous worldviews. Help support reconciliation and meet language revitalization needs within Manitoba communities by acquiring the skills to achieve successful employment.



Social Innovation

How do you want your world to be? Social innovation brings new perspectives to existing ways of decision-making in today’s world. In this program, you will discover the tremendous capacities of communities and individuals looking to initiate systems change. In your second year of studies, specialize in either Community Development or Social Entrepreneurship.



Indigenous Language Students Record Original Ojibwe Children’s CD

June 4, 2019

Learning a new language can be a daunting task, but RRC’s Indigenous Language (Ojibwe) students have found a way to not only make their own learning fun but to share what they’ve learned with others.

During their studies, students Dave Bird, Joy Phillips, Sherri Shorting and Gil Keeper came together to form their own musical group called Nagamoodaa!, which means “Let’s All Sing.” With support and guidance from their instructor Ida Bear, they created their own original children’s songs in Ojibwe – including lyrics, melodies, and accompanying guitar music. Although it was not required as part of their studies, these students felt they needed to record their songs and create a CD entitled Maajii’am (Start Singing).

“We found that it was important to record these songs as they are a fun and entertaining tool in language acquisition,” says Phillips. “Since we are on the journey to relearn the language of our grandparents, which was taken from us, we all felt it was important to do what we can to help in the language revitalization efforts. These songs have helped us learn Ojibwe as we have gone through the process of writing, recording and singing the songs.”

Phillips is an elementary school teacher and she hopes that the CD will be a helpful instructor tool for other language teachers.

“The songs are geared towards kids, because of the content and repetition, but we have found that these work great for any age and beginning level of fluency. Teachers can use the song structures to introduce phrases and conversation patterns, as a lot of the songs have proper grammatical tenses that can be used in everyday conversation.”

Phillips uses the Weather Song as an example.

“This songs talks about the weather for yesterday, today and tomorrow and includes the question and answer in the correct tense.”

Aaniin gaa ezhiwebag bijiinago? / What was the weather yesterday?
Da Gisina na? / Was it cold?

Aaniin wii ezhiwebag waabang? / What will the weather be tomorrow ?
Wii gimiwan na? / Will it rain tomorrow?

CDs can be purchased for $20 by contacting the group via their Facebook page Nagamoodaa – Learning Ojibwe through Song.

Maajii’am (Start Singing) songs include: Asabikeshin (Spider Song), Agindaaso/Awesin (Counting/Animals), Gaagweskaayaq (Seasons Song), Waawaatesi (Firefly Song), Colours Song, Aaniin Ezhiwebag? (What it the weather? / Weather Song), Aande Onjii’an? (Where do you live? / Directions Song), and Nibaa Ni-Abinoonjii (Sleep My Child – Lullaby).

The students would like to give special thanks and appreciation to their language instructor and mentor Ida Bear and Red River College.

For more information on RRC’s Indigenous Language programs, visit

Red River College Unveiled Indigenous Stoles at 19th Annual Pow Wow

May 15, 2019

At the 19th annual Graduation Pow Wow, Red River College unveiled a new Indigenous graduation stole to recognize the achievements of the College’s Indigenous students. The students were presented with their stoles by RRC’s elders and members of the College’s leadership.

The Graduation Pow Wow has grown by more than 25 per cent from last year and is one of RRC’s largest cultural celebrations.

“Advancing indigenous achievement is a key priority at Red River College, and the College recognizes the important role it plays in supporting reconciliation efforts across the Province,” said Rebecca Chartrand, Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy. “Presenting our students with these beautiful Indigenous stoles will give them a great sense of pride at the Pow Wow and as they walk across the stage at convocation. The Pow Wow is about celebrating our students’ success and this stole an important way of honouring who they are, their culture, and their achievements at the College.”

The stole was designed with symbols to represent The Seven Sacred Teachings, Métis culture, and Inuit culture. In the middle of the stole is the Red River College logo, which rests on the back of the neck. The Assiniboine and Red rivers are also represented throughout the design, which lays on red silk to proudly display the College’s brand colour.

“The Red and Assiniboine rivers are historically and culturally significant to Indigenous peoples; they are the reason so many groups came to reside on the land that Red River College campuses are located on. This geography has informed Indigenous history and is our College’s namesake, so it was really important to incorporate the rivers symbolically into the design,” said Chartrand.

Students who received a stole at the Pow Wow are encouraged to wear their stole at the College-wide Spring 2019 Convocation ceremonies on June 4 and 5, 2019 at the Centennial Concert Hall. The stoles will also be available at convocation for Indigenous students.

Click here for more photos from the 19th annual Graduation Pow Wow. 

The Culture is in the Language

April 5, 2019

As we gain a deeper understanding of the ininīmowin, we find the history, the teachings, and the world view of the inino embedded in the words. As an oral language, this ensures the continuation of the culture from one generation to the next. The Elders are telling us that we can’t just translate our language into English; we have to look more closely in order to better understand our ininīwin. In this session, we will examine concepts of child raising and education based on words in ininīmowin and explain the history and teachings that are contained within each word.

The Culture is in the Language with visiting Cree Elder Ron Cook
April 15, 2019 | 12pm to 1:30pm
Indigenous Support Centre
(F205, Notre Dame Campus)
Lunch will be provided.

About Ron Cook
Ron Cook was a fisherman on Lake Winnipeg for 15 years and lived a traditional lifestyle with his wife and five daughters. In 1992, his interest in his first language (nehinawewin) inspired him to enter BUNTEP when they offered a program for training Native Language teachers, graduating in 1997 with great distinction. He taught Cree at Grand Rapids School for five years before he moved to Thompson to teach at Wapanohk Community School in the Cree bilingual program. He was the Cree Language/Indigenous Perspectives Coordinator for the School District of Mystery Lake from September 2006 until he retired in June 2018. He is currently the consultant for the Centre for Aboriginal Langauge and Culture at the University College of the North.