Indigenous Education

News and Events

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.

Indigenous Culinary Skills students open first pop-up short order restaurant at Red River College

March 11, 2019

Red River College’s inaugural Indigenous Culinary Skills program is cooking up opportunities for students and re-opening the doors to the College’s Prairie Lights restaurant at the Notre Dame Campus.

The College’s first-ever pop-up short order restaurant will see this inaugural group of students cooking made-from-scratch breakfast and lunch starting March 12th to April 17th, with a menu featuring a new take on some delicious Indigenous dishes.

“A key priority for the College is to advance Indigenous achievement and elevate student success. Our role as a college is to ensure we create the programs, supports and opportunities that allow Indigenous peoples to demonstrate their leadership and innovation in all facets of our society,” said Rebecca Chartrand, Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy.

The students will operate the restaurant as a real short order kitchen, which won’t only give students practical experience that they can use when they enter the workforce but it will also touch on power skills like team work, communication, time management and problem solving. This initiative demonstrates the College’s commitment to support Indigenous learners on their journey towards education and successful employment as well as growing Indigenous peoples successfully into all industries.

“By offering traditional Indigenous dishes such as bannock tacos and 3-sisters soup, these students will be sharing their culture with the rest of the College and members of the public who come to dine at Prairie Lights. That really fits into the work we are doing with Truth and Reconciliation through celebrating Indigenous culture and advancing Indigenous achievement in our communities. You can really see the sense of pride students have by sharing the food they make that is part of their history.”

The restaurant will also give employment experience to students enrolled in College Transition, a one-year exploratory certificate program. The College has hired these students to run the “front-of-house” operation and as part of their new role also received First-Aid Training and their Food Handler’s certification.

“Red River College is dedicated to finding innovative opportunities to build a better future for students,” says Chartrand. “There is a compelling need for financial assistance for Indigenous students who want to pursue post-secondary education, so we will find solutions and remove barriers to education and employment wherever we can.”

The Prairie Lights restaurant will be open to the public from March 12th to April 17th and offers made-from-scratch breakfast, lunch and daily specials. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday; 9 am to 10:30 am for breakfast, and 11 am to 12:30 for lunch. Seating is limited and is first-come, first-served.

Aspiring Indigenous Student Enrolment Fair

February 26, 2019

Please join us for Red River College’s Aspiring Indigenous Student Enrolment Fair to learn about exciting new programs, as well as a new award opportunity that could cover the cost of your tuition and books.

Tuesday, March 5 | 1 pm – 7 pm
Notre Dame Campus
Indigenous Support Centre, Building F, 2nd Floor, Room F209

Red River College, Indigenous Education is pleased to announce the creation of the one million dollar Building Brighter Futures: Bursaries, Scholarships, and Awards in partnership with Indspire. This is our demonstrated commitment to Indigenous Achievement at Red River College and to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action.

The first deadline to apply is March 15, 2019 for programs that start in September of 2019. We encourage aspiring students to apply early as funds will be distributed on a first-come first-serve basis.

Indigenous Education staff will be on site at the Aspiring Indigenous Student Enrolment Fair to answer questions and assist students with the bursary application process. To qualify, students will need to do the following:

  1. Complete the on-line bursary application
  2. Provide proof of Indigenous ancestry (Status Card, MMF Card)
  3. Demonstrate financial need
  4. Provide valid social insurance number
  5. Provide official high school transcript(s)
  6. Must meet admission requirements for their chosen program.


Finally, we are guaranteeing a certain number of seats in the following Indigenous Education Programs. These programs are exploratory, preparatory, transitional or specialized. They are designed to help students who are still uncertain about a career path but have a general understanding of where they might want to end up:

  1. ACCESS Pathway to Health Programs (10-month exploratory and preparatory program)
  2. ACCESS Pathway to Engineering Technology Programs (10-month)
  3. Indigenous Culinary Skills Certificate (10 months)
  4. Indigenous Social Enterprise Diploma Program (2 years)
  5. Indigenous Language Certificate Program –Ojibwe and Cree (10 months)
  6. Introduction to Trades (5-month)
  7. College Transition Certificate Program (10 month program)
  8. Community Development/Community Economic Development Diploma (2 years)

For more information please contact Wade Parke, Indigenous Education Aspiring Student Manager, at 204-632-2175 or email:

For a full list of program options, visit

Graduation Pow Wow

February 5, 2019

On behalf of the School of Indigenous Education, we are pleased to host the 19th Annual Pow Wow honouring Indigenous graduates on Friday, May 3, 2019 at the Notre Dame Campus (2055 Notre Dame Ave.) in the North Gym.

Pow Wow Schedule – Friday, May 3, 2019

10:00am Pipe Ceremony in the North Gym

12:00pm Grand Entry

2:00pm Honour Indigenous Graduates – gift giving

5:00pm Feast, North Gym

Dancers, drum groups and community members are welcome to attend. Crafters please contact the Pow Wow Coordinator to book a table. Free parking is available in the parking lot labelled West 4 (see map). We hope you will join us in honouring our students as we send them off on a continued journey to success.

Should you have any questions, please contact Morgan Paul at 204-632-3773 or email

Graduate Registration

Indigenous students who are graduating from a Red River College program in 2019 can register to be honoured at the 19th Annual Pow Wow Honouring Indigenous Graduates on Friday, May 3, 2019.

Please select a valid form

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

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