Indigenous Education

News and Events

Sparks fly for College Transition student in Women of Steel™: Forging Forward Program

July 11, 2023

Usually, students look forward to a break in the summer between classes – time to relax and decompress, forget the pressure of deadlines and obligations, maybe stretch out on the sand at the beach or trudge mountain trails.

Tessa Cochrane’s respite from class lasted barely a week. She finished the 10-month College Transition program and intended to apply for Introduction to Trades to eventually secure her spot in the Welding program but when Women of Steel™ presented a tuition-free, fast-tracking option starting in May, she jumped at the opportunity – sacrificing some summer fun to effectively cut down her time in post-secondary by a whole year.

Cochrane graduated high school in 2018 and bounced around various fields from retail, to construction, to peacekeeping. At first, she didn’t see the importance of post-secondary education, but after experiencing employment competition in multiple industries, she decided upgrading would be beneficial.

After high school, she describes her academic level as fairly moderate, but College Transition helped boost her faith in her abilities and her straight ‘A’ grades in the first term reflected her drive and potential. By adding experience to her earnestness, Cochrane was confident she’d find employment but still wasn’t exactly sure what she wanted to do – for her, the best approach was taking it one day at a time to find her passion.

Growing up, Cochrane recalls, she set her sights on becoming a doctor, a veterinarian, a natural resource officer, a firefighter – and countless other things that a kid’s attention might latch onto. She came from a line of firefighters and grew up on a farm, so handiness was inherent in her family. She’d seen her father and grandfather welding on the farm but said she hadn’t considered the trades until she met some influential tradeswomen at the College and was inspired by their success.

“I’ve picked and settled on so many things over the years, my parents ask, ‘Is she going to stick with welding?” Tessa said with a laugh. “Yeah, I think I’ll stick with welding.”

In the College Transition program, one of Cochrane’s assignments was to conduct a career exploration in preparation for the January 2023 Indigenous Career Fair. While researching fields and careers that interested her, Cochrane realized that most of her previous pursuits were influenced by the things she thought people needed her to be – to fill a role that needed filling.

College Transition allowed her to really tap into her potential and discover things that would not only challenge her and put her skills to use, but that she could love doing and be good at. At the Indigenous Career Fair, Cochrane had the chance to explore different opportunities around the province and connected with several employers. She was eventually offered a job placement with an organization closer to home in the Interlake Region.

Cochrane intended to take the summer position at that point but when RRC Polytech posted the Women of Steel™: Forging Forward Program in January, she was among the first in line to apply – taking advantage of the immediate opportunity served up on a ‘stainless steel’ platter by the CWB Welding Foundation, using Federal funding to attract more women to the trades.

When she completes the intensive 15-week program and two-week job placement Cochrane is hoping to have earned four Canadian Welding Bureau qualification tickets making her readily employable for basic manufacturing and prepared for additional post-secondary training or apprenticeship.

Cochrane credits identifying her passion and establishing her career path to the growth she experienced while in College Transition. Although she grew up in a Christian family, the program provided a safe space for her to learn more about her ancestors’ traditional ways and gave her perspective on cultures and the many similarities between Indigenous people all around the world.

Her favourite part, she says, was the fact that support was everywhere for everything. As an aspiring welder she appreciates the bonds that she’s created with classmates and instructors at RRC Polytech and hopes she inspires others to invest in themselves and pursue education.  

“There’s no judgment, there’s a strong purpose here that students find, and that foundation really helps you find what it is you want to do,” said Cochrane.

2023 Mínwastánikéwin Award Recipients

June 27, 2023

The Mínwastánikéwin Award, named for the Cree word that means ‘to set it right’, was created in 2019 in partnership with RRC Polytech’s Campus Store during the first Truth and Reconciliation Week. Applicants were asked to write a one-page essay on what Truth and Reconciliation means to them as residential and day school survivors and children of survivors.

To set it right.

When we talk about Truth and Reconciliation, we mean that we want to set it right.

To set right the damage that Indigenous Peoples have endured over the last few centuries.

To set right the broken bones, so they might heal properly, to heal stronger.

To set right the history and perception of Indigenous Peoples, so the world might know the truth, to come together stronger.

This year, two recipients earned the Mínwastánikéwin Award: Rebecca Choken and Wendy Monias.

Rebecca Choken came to RRC Polytech unexpectedly. She’d been considering the future with her three-year-old daughter, who has Autism. Rebecca knew that she didn’t want to continue living off Employment and Income Assistance—she wanted to give her daughter stability. Her love and dedication for her daughter motivated Rebecca to seek new avenues to improve herself.

Rebecca applied for Business Administration and the College notified her of an opening at the Exchange District Campus for January 2023, which she readily took. Rebecca was in a whirlwind within the first few weeks of accepting the offer—she scrambled to find a daycare that could provide specialized care for her daughter, secured funding from her band, and gathered the necessary supplies to succeed in the program. The last time she’d been in school, it was pencils and paper. Everything happened so quickly, but she was ready for that first week of classes in January.

“I never thought I would get this award, at first. Sharing my story and my past trauma—it made me stronger as a person. The healing, just to be here… I sometimes think of my brother, and those that have passed on; they’d want the best for me,” said Rebecca.

Rebecca Choken.

The feeling of being undeserving, of being unworthy, of not having it as hard as others, is one of many symptoms of the intergenerational effects the residential school and day school legacy has had on survivors and children of survivors.

To heal, and to recognize when you need help healing, is a lot of lonely work. When much of your life has been painted with strokes of trauma and blots from loss, seeing an end to the cycle can be difficult. The work trauma creates doesn’t end with the trauma itself; the responsibility to heal is also thrust upon you. The mess trauma made in your home is one you task yourself with cleaning up.

Wendy Monias.

Two years ago, on her 36th birthday, Wendy Monias joined the Red Road—a way of life dedicated to spiritual growth. She woke up that morning and decided that enough was enough and she was going to start a new chapter of her life. Wendy, who’d attended Indian day school, had moved to Winnipeg from Garden Hill First Nation in northern Manitoba when she was 12. The distance the move created was not only physical, but cultural and spiritual. Now, she’s actively reclaiming her culture and working towards her diploma in Business Administration. Last fall, Wendy went on her first hunting trip, caught her first moose, and attended her first medicine walk.

“It’s backwards. Elders are saying goodbye to so many young people, when it should be the young people sending off our Elders,” said Wendy. “I want to be a good example to my kids; to show them you can be strong at home, you can be graceful with yourself. I am accountable to my own healing.”

Wendy’s late kookum, Kelly McKay, was a residential school survivor and graduate of the same Business Administration program at RRC Polytech many years ago. Wendy credits her inspiration to her kookum, whom she recounted as kind, funny, and hard-working: everything Wendy wants to be for her kids and the people she’ll help in the future.

“Her attention to detail, organizational skills and drives inspires me every day. She knew how to keep her home tidy, study regularly and always had time for me. In times where I think I can’t balance everything, I think of her,” Wendy recalled.

The risk of applying for a bursary is not only, “What if I don’t get it?”, it is also, “What if I am taking it from someone who needs it more?” These doubts are echoed all throughout the submissions this year. Despite this, over 25 Indigenous students still applied – more than any other year. Over 25 Indigenous students still bore their teeth and their hearts, and told their stories.

Rebecca says the award was well-timed for her. She’d started her program just days after the new year and with a deadline of January 31, she was able to submit her application just under the wire. The award, she says, will ease the financial strain that’s come with the rapid-fire changes in her life, and help her spend more time with her daughter.

When she’s finished with her diploma, Rebecca says she wants to start her own business. She has friends in the Indigenous hip hop scene with whom she could potentially partner with in business. In the future, she wants to build a fashion apparel brand where she can integrate her beliefs, culture, work systems, and ancestors into the brand. She used to do beadwork as a hobby and has ideas to work accessories into the brand.

“Receiving this award means a lot to me, I’m very honoured,” said Rebecca. “It represents a lot of resilience in Indigenous People, it’s not only just me—there’s a lot of people that have been through similar things. You can overcome that. You can still pursue your dreams as long as you put your mind to it.”

For Wendy, the award helped her to make more time to spend with her kids. Between the time it takes to get to and from school, pick everyone up and head home, cooking meals and prepping for the next day, precious little time was often left in the days for Wendy to spend with her five kids. With the bursary, it freed up cumulative time that allowed her and her kids to sit down to full dinners and connect with each other after their long days.

“We’re really tight, me and my kids. The award’s helped me to catch up on things that needed catching up, and a huge weight has been lifted. I want my kids to have all the opportunities they can; you know, bible camps, winter retreats, school trips. My eldest, he’s 18; we’re fundraising for his band trip to Edmonton,” said Wendy.

Wendy hopes to have an office job when she’s finished with her diploma. She’s majoring in Marketing but might switch to Human Resources. She wants to open more doors and help other Indigenous women see where they can go.

For survivors and children of survivors, confronting your past is like screaming out into the sky, alone: baring your teeth and your heart and telling your story, tearing through your raw emotions and the weight of the things past. And it is, without fail, surprising to hear the sky speak back.

RRC Polytech recognizes the role it has as an educational institution in Truth and Reconciliation, in making it right. When Indigenous learners choose to become students at RRC Polytech, the College seeks to ease the burdens that resonate intergenerationally within survivors and the children of survivors of residential and day schools, while showing the rest of the community why this work is important through the stories of the Indigenous People this work affects.

To learn more about the Mínwastánikéwin Award, see the Awards, Bursaries and Scholarships catalogue.

National Indigenous Peoples Day Bus Tour 2023

June 23, 2023

Every year, RRC Polytech has recognized National Indigenous Peoples Day with an in-house event: a gathering which takes place in the Indigenous Support Centre, with the Elder-in-Residence hosting a pipe ceremony, teachings and storytelling, and breaking bread with a feast for the College community. Our celebration recognizes both National Indigenous Peoples Day and the summer solstice. This year, the School of Indigenous Education and the Indigenous Students Support Team came up with an exciting new approach: a bus tour to participate in various Indigenous events in and around Winnipeg.

National Indigenous Peoples Day is an opportunity for Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, Dené, Métis and many other Indigenous peoples to celebrate and connect with their cultures, and is an invitation for the wider community to participate in the celebration together.

The response from the College community was so strong that the 29-seat bus filled up quickly with an additional waitlist of at least 10 people. The team decided to book an additional bus to accommodate the waitlist and invited a few more participants. Many RRC Polytech community members took the opportunity to experience their first National Indigenous Peoples Day at the wonderful events hosted in Manitoba.

The first stop on the bus tour was at Selkirk Park for the Manitoba Métis Federation’s National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration. Participants enjoyed a free pancake breakfast and explored the many booths presented by the Manitoba Métis Federation and their partners, including the Infinity Women Secretariat where they offered to paint attendees’ faces. One tent hosted a workshop where participants learned how to weave sashes.

For the afternoon, the bus shuttled participants through downtown Winnipeg to The Forks for the Wa-Say Healing Centre’s National Indigenous Peoples Day Pow Wow in the Parks Canada Field. Vendors and artists gathered around the park while singers and drum groups clustered around the main stage for their performances. Dancers in regalia and dancers in everyday attire assembled in the circle for Inter-Tribal songs and dance categories.

Close to 4pm, Pow Wow participants joined together for the Friendship Dance, holding hands and rotating around the circle in a demonstration of inclusion and relationality. Free hotdogs, drinks and ice cream were offered throughout the day courtesy of the Southern Chiefs Council, and live music performances extended well into the evening.

Terri-Lynn Anderson, the Events & Facilities Rental Coordinator for the School of Indigenous Education, said the bus tour was an incredible success and she looks forward to hosting more bus tours in the future to offer staff and student more opportunities to explore and engage with the Indigenous community.

“The quiet summer months made me want to venture out into the community to see all the wonderful events that were taking place to celebrate our people and culture. The bus tour was a great way to experience that, especially with the few folks that were experiencing their first National Indigenous Peoples Day ever,” said Anderson.

In addition to the bus tour for Indigenous Peoples Day, RRC Polytech released the new virtual tour of Manitou a bi Bii daziigae to demonstrate the flexibility of the new building and its deep connection to Indigenous art, culture, and entrepreneurship.

Thank you to all who participated in this year’s National Indigenous Peoples Day Bus Tour, and we look forward to next year’s celebration. Miigwech!

Summer Solstice and Strawberry Moon 2023

June 21, 2023

June 21 is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year and, despite the beautiful weather for the last few weeks, the official start of summer. After this day, the Earth begins its slow retreat away from the sun.

Many Indigenous nations around Turtle Island recognize the significance of the season through ceremony and celebration, Pow Wows, feasts and cultural gatherings. Many communities and organizations proudly host events showcasing vibrant Indigenous cultures from dawn until dusk.

June is the Strawberry Moon, in recognition of the strawberries that have sprung from the ground and the orange moon that transforms to red. Ode’imin, the heart berry, the strawberry in us, is reflected in the month of June. As the year ripens, June ushers in July’s Berry Moon, miinan.

Elder-in-Residence Paul Guimond says that this time of year, we acknowledge the connection between all things through the strawberries, the plants, the trees around us. Everything is fully grown and life is in full swing.

“The tree we stand with, celebrate and appreciate—it is rooted to the ground. We acknowledge all the Earth, the plant life. Its roots reach all the world, its branches reach out towards the Sky World, to the moon and the stars, the sun and the planets. The Tree World: it’s never just one group of trees growing somewhere. Many different trees take up space together. It shows us that we can grow together, shows us how we can exist together.”

Elder-in-Residence Paul Guimond

RRC Polytech in years past has hosted ceremony with the Elder-in-Residence and staff and students at Notre Dame Campus to celebrate the summer solstice and Indigenous Peoples Day. This year, the Indigenous Student Support Team tried a new approach; the team, with Elder Paul, organized a bus tour for staff and students to participate in events in Winnipeg and the surrounding region. Two buses will shuttle participants to the Manitoba Métis Federation celebration in Selkirk for the morning and the Wa-Say Healing Centre Pow Wow at The Forks for the afternoon. Check back here later this week to read how it went!

Student trio enters federal mentorship program focused on increasing female representation in science fields and integrating Indigenous knowledge

June 16, 2023

Three students from RRC Polytech’s Social Innovation and Community Development program have been accepted into Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)’s Sistering Indigenous and Western Science Program (SINEWS), one of eight national teams accepted for 2023.

SINEWS provides mentorship and supports to pairs of students or recent graduates to increase engagement with Indigenous and non-Indigenous women in scientific disciplines, and one team member must be Indigenous.

The program made an exception for the RRC Polytech team of three: Sharon-Rose Bear, a Cree woman from Muskoday First Nation in Saskatoon, Brooke Hardling-Boboski from Winnipeg, and Tayla Fernandes Agostinho, an international student from Brazil.

“It’s a major step up to be working with government scientists on a real community research project,” said Bear. “The three of us know our different passions, strengths, and weakness and we are much more confident to take this on as a full team.”

Supporting Indigenous communities

The team is responsible for proposing, developing, implementing, and reporting on research projects over four to eight months and integrating traditional Indigenous knowledge and research practices into western science for a more holistic approach to their research. The RRC Polytech team will focus their project on researching solid waste management practices.

“I’m really keen to work with Elders to learn how solid waste is affecting their community, and how their waste management practices have changed over time,” said Bear. “We also want to discover the impact that these practices are having on the environment.”

The students receive hands-on support and guidance from the SINEWS secretariat, Elder-in-Residence, NRCan scientists, and community Knowledge Keepers. SINEWS provides each student group with a $10,000 budget for research expenses and a $4,000 training allowance. All resulting research will be owned and used by the Indigenous community partner.

Jamie Wolfe, SINEWS Program Manager, noted the “reverse mentorship” that the students provide to existing employees and mentors.

“They often bring fresh perspectives on how to approach the research in culturally appropriate ways, as well as establishing respectful relationship-building practices and ethics protocols while engaging with communities,” said Wolfe.

Indigenous education and mentorship at RRC Polytech

Bear – a single mom of two – just finished her second year of Social Innovation and Community Development and plans to enter the Indigenous Social Entrepreneurship program next year.

On top of her academic studies, Bear volunteered with RRC Polytech’s Indigenous Student Support & Community Relations R-Crew over the past year, where she supported and encouraged other Indigenous students while assisting with various duties.

“With R-Crew, I’ve been able to interact with Elders and advisors on a regular basis who, along with several influential instructors, have been mentors or role models for me,” said Bear. “They’ve given me the support to be a successful student and the confidence to take on an opportunity like SINEWS and be excited for my career.”

One of those role models has been Indigenous Education instructor and official SINEWS mentor Ginger Arnold, who identified the opportunity and supported the students in applying for the program.

“This is such an exciting opportunity for students to elevate their skills and experience while getting their foot in the door with the federal government and making a real impact on an Indigenous community,” said Arnold.

Practicing Truth and Reconciliation

Bear acknowledged that it is not uncommon for non-Indigenous students to have negative pre-conceptions about Indigenous people, “but usually once they learn the historical Indigenous context, such as what is taught at RRC Polytech, it opens their eyes.”

Bear believes reconciliation is a two-way street.

“Personally, working with people who come from different cultures with different worldviews has really benefited me – it helps me open my mind to see from other perspectives, and see the bigger picture.”

RRC Polytech’s Strategic Plan 2022-2026 prioritizes Indigenous achievement with its second strategic commitment: Embedding Truth and Reconciliation and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in everything the College does.

“Indigenous knowledge is integral to approaching research holistically and ethically, especially when it affects Indigenous communities; Indigenous RRC Polytech students are actively changing the way we do things and think about things, and it’s amazing to see that extend to industry and community,” said Jamie Wilson, VP, Indigenous Strategy, Research, and Business Development at RRC Polytech.

Identifying these opportunities and encouraging students to pursue them are just one facet of supporting Indigenous achievement. As a polytechnic, RRC Polytech provides students with the training and experiential learning opportunities they need to start making an imminent difference before they even graduate and make the impact they want to see in the world.

Flag Raising Ceremony of the Treaty One Flag, Red River Métis Flag, and the RRC Polytech Pride Flag

June 7, 2023

Red River College Polytechnic (RRC Polytech) raised the three flags in an act of unity, pride and inclusivity to mark the beginning of National Indigenous History Month and Pride Month. The Treaty One flag, Red River Métis flag and RRC Polytech’s new Pride flag will now fly year-round at the Notre Dame Campus in Winnipeg to acknowledge the history of the land, respect for the treaties made on the land, and representation of the people who live here.

“RRC Polytech is committed to enacting Truth and Reconciliation and equity, diversity and inclusion in everything we do. A large part of that is creating representation and inclusive spaces on our campuses,” says Fred Meier, President and CEO of RRC Polytech. “By raising these three flags we are demonstrating to staff, students and community members that this is a place where you belong. We know that there are still institutions and situations where 2SLGBTQIA+, Indigenous and Métis people don’t feel welcome or recognized – but at RRC Polytech we are giving a firm message that everybody belongs and is welcome here.”

The three flags were raised with support from Joan Ledoux, Minister of Provincial Education at the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) – the National Government of the Red River Métis; David Beaudin, Associate Minister of Provincial Education at the MMF; Knowledge Keepers Barbara Bruce and Albert Mcleod, Vic Savino, Director of Communications at Treaty One and Elders and Knowledge Keepers from Treaty One Territory; and members of the RRC Polytech community.

Treaty One Flag

Treaty One represents Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) and Nehiyaw (Cree) original peoples of the territory of present-day southern Manitoba, including the Forks at the Assiniboine and Red rivers which was a vital trade and gathering site.

Treaty One Nation is composed of the seven First Nations who are signatories to the first of the numbered Treaties, originally signed on August 3, 1871, at Lower Fort Garry after several days of discussions and ceremonies.

“I am extremely proud to see RRC Polytech raise our Treaty One flag on their campus today. Despite the spirit and intent of the Treaty, which has benefitted the people of Manitoba for over 150 years, we were continuously denied of our rights, our titles, our jurisdictions, our culture, our language, and our children,” said Chief Gordon Bluesky of Brokenhead Ojibway First Nation and Treaty One Chairperson.

“Despite our darker periods of history, we are still standing strong, and each one of these flag-raising ceremonies is a concrete, tangible expression to our Treaty Partners that we are still here. Today, we can all look forward to a brighter future for the next generations, and feel the pride in sharing the history of Indigenous peoples on this land. Through these actions of reconciliation, our young Indigenous learners have a very bright future ahead.”

The Treaty One Nations flag was designed to incorporate the original spirit and intent of the Treaties: green, to represent the grass; blue, to represent the waters; and yellow to represent the sun. The red represents the circle of life and the red people who inhabit this land. Lastly, the seven points around the sun represent the seven signatory First Nations of Treaty No. 1.

RRC Polytech recognizes in its land acknowledgement that the land we use is the land of the Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené and that Treaty One is the agreement that allows us the live the way we do.

Red River Métis Flag

The Red River Métis have a rich and important history, language, and culture. The Red River Settlement – now Winnipeg – is the heart of the Red River Métis Homeland and the birthplace of the Nation.  

“The Red River Métis have been fighting to have our rich culture, heritage and history recognized and respected for over 200 years. Manitoba is the only province in Canada to have been brought into confederation by an Indigenous Nation with the signing of the Manitoba Act in 1870, intertwining the history of the Red River Métis with the history of Manitoba. Today, the MMF, the National Government of the Red River Métis, has made great strides in advancing our Nation and regaining our rightful place in Canada’s confederation. This flag-raising today is one small step toward a brighter future for our Red River Métis Youth, ensuring that they know their identity is recognized and celebrated as they achieve their educational goals at this institution,” said Minister Joan Ledoux, Minister of Provincial Education and Associate Minister of Métis Employment & Training at the Manitoba Métis Federation.

RRC Polytech recognizes the impact that the Red River Métis had in the formation of this city, province, and country. The Red River Métis were instrumental in confederation and fought battles to retain their rights throughout history – in the courtroom, in houses of government, and on the battlefield. 

RRC Polytech Pride Flag

Last year RRC Polytech revealed the design of its new Pride Flag, which was painted on pedestrian walkways at the Notre Dame Campus, Exchange District Campus, and Portage la Prairie Campus. Moving forward, the flag will also be raised at RRC Polytech’s Paterson GlobalFoods Institute throughout the month of June.

The College’s Pride design is an evolution of the Progress Pride flag that includes representation for all 2SLGBTQIA+ (Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex and Asexual) community members, and includes specific Indigenous elements.  It was created through engagement with RRC Polytech’s Knowledge Keepers Council, with a strong lead from Two Spirit and Métis Elder Barbara Bruce, and Two Spirit and Cree/ Métis Elder Albert McLeod.

RRC Polytech’s Pride design includes the following elements:

  • The triangle represents the badge LGBT prisoners were forced to wear in Nazi concentration camps.
  • Moving the triangle to the bottom maintains this meaning, but also forms a tepee, which is a shelter shape historically used by many First Nations people in Manitoba and shows the upward momentum of the movement.
  • The Medicine Wheel incorporates traditional Indigenous knowledge and teachings.
  • The purple and yellow circles around the Medicine Wheel recognize intersex folx.

By combining these elements and colours and displaying them in prominent locations, the Pride design has been created to represent all human beings, and welcome everyone on Indigenous lands.

“The Pride design was developed collaboratively across the College, carefully considering the meaning of all elements of the design, such as the colours, location of the chevron, and centering and orienting the Medicine Wheel”,” says Vera Godavari, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist. “At RRC Polytech we are committed to our reconciliation journey as we walk the path of understanding, respect and advocacy with the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. As learning organization, we celebrate our progress and continue our dedication to this important work through these ongoing initiatives.”

In addition to consulting with RRC Polytech’s Knowledge Keepers’ Council, Students Association, and its Gender and Sexual Identities working group, RRC Polytech also worked with the Rainbow Resource Centre on the evolution of the College’s Pride design.

The flags can now be seen flying on the front lawn of Notre Dame Campus.

Moose Hide Campaign Day: A day of ceremony to end gender-based violence in Canada

May 2, 2023

Thursday May 11, 2023

The Moose Hide Campaign began in 2011 when Paul and Raven Lacerte were hunting moose along the Highway 16 between the cities of Prince George and Prince Rupert in British Columbia, a stretch of road otherwise known as the Highway of Tears. Though the number is disputed, many women have gone missing or were murdered along this highway, many of whom were Indigenous.

The father and daughter felt deeply connected to the Carrier land around them and considered ways they could act, ways they could prevent future violence against women and girls. That morning, Raven caught a moose.

Since that hunting trip, the grassroots Moose Hide Campaign has bloomed into a national movement to raise awareness of the violence against Indigenous women and children and a solemn promise to not perpetuate that cyclic violence and grief.

“When we ask men and boys to become involved, we want them to feel like we’re calling them in rather than we’re calling them out.”

– National Youth Ambassador, Sage Lacerte

This year, people from all walks of life are invited to participate in the Moose Hide Campaign Day on May 11, in-person in Victoria, B.C. or virtually from anywhere. The Moose Hide Campaign has scheduled a sunrise ceremony livestream, a general plenary livestream, multiple live virtual workshops, a livestream of the Walk to End Violence Against Women and Children in Victoria, B.C., and a fast-breaking ceremony livestream. Participants can register here.

“Healthy, loving masculinity; that’s the antidote.”

– CEO of Moose Hide Campaign, David Stevenson

As of this year, the Moose Hide Campaign has given out its four millionth pin. Raven Lacerte says the moose hide represents a piece of medicine from the land and signifies a commitment to honour, respect, and protect the women and children in your life.

Staff and students can pick up moose hide pins from either Indigenous Support Centre (F209 at NDC and P407 at EDC) to wear to show support of the campaign and as symbol of their promise to not perpetuate violence against women and children.

Indigenous entrepreneurship in Food, Fashion and Music collide for RRC Polytech’s second annual RBC Reaction by Collision Community Event.

April 27, 2023

This week, hundreds of staff, students, industry partners and community members came together to celebrate Indigenous Food, Fashion, and Music at the second annual RBC Reaction by Collision Community Event. Hosted at RRC Polytech’s Manitou a bi Bii daziigae, the event showcased Indigenous culture and arts in Manitoba and highlighted the importance of creating space for Indigenous entrepreneurship.

“The longstanding friendship between RBC and RRC Polytech and the spirit of community and collaboration connects us back to our strategic commitment of reconciliation, our shared journey, where Indigenous leadership and guidance take the lead and work with us to guide us on the best way forward, together,” said Fred Meier, President and CEO of RRC Polytech, during his speech to start the event.

The event treated guests to delectable cuisines from local chefs, a haute couture fashion show featuring student models, a crafters’ market with local artisans and businesses, a panel discussion, and a drumming performance from student-led Indigenous culture group OGICHIDAA. Juno-award nominated Indian City capped off the spectacular event as the grand finale.

“What each of our partnering initiatives and programs have in common is that they drive human connection,” Herb ZoBell, Vice President, Commercial Financial Services, Indigenous Markets at RBC, said. “They provide unique channels for people to connect with their ideas, and most importantly, with one another.”

Herb ZoBell, Vice President, Commercial Financial Services, Indigenous Markets, RBC.

RBC Reaction by Collision is designed to converge industry, academia, and students to grow networks, seek advice, and launch careers. RBC Future Launch found that 85 per cent of all jobs are found through the strength of a network and not through the resume.

RRC Polytech students volunteered to model some of the pieces featured during the event. Kylla Harper, from the Pathway to Health Programs, was one of the students who modelled Gayle Gruben’s Inuit designs.

Kylla Harper, Pathway to Health Programs student.

“It was very nerve-racking waiting backstage for my turn, but as I walked on the catwalk, my confidence grew,” Kylla said. “I loved seeing different Indigenous cultures represented. It goes to show that we have so much to explore still within our own communities.”

Since the event, Kylla has received an outpouring of support from her circle, which she said has made her “smile with pride.”

Miranda Harper, an RRC Polytech alumni and drummer in the local rock band Venus Man Trap, took part in the event’s panel discussion and shared her experience as an Indigenous musician with students and community members.

“For me, I make music to feed my soul. I never look at the fame and fortune of it because I feel like it can take something away from what you do,” Miranda said. She reminisced during the panel about one of the best gigs she’s ever done:  National Aboriginal Day in the early 2000s at The Forks, where she played to just five people.

Miranda Harper, drummer for Venus Man Trap and RRC Polytech Alumna.

The event was held at Manitou a bi Bii daziigae, a building named by Elders-in-Residence and translates to, “Where Creator Sits – Brings Light.” The building was designed with the intent to bring together the community, to build connections and create bridges. The College commissioned Indigenous artists Jackie Traverse, who attended the event, and KC Adams for artwork on the fourth-floor ceiling and the Roundhouse Auditorium, respectively.

With RBC’s support of RRC Polytech’s In Front of What’s Ahead comprehensive Campaign, the College has been able to provide students with the Indigenous Pathway to Information Technology Program, access to Ten Thousand Coffees Mentorship program, and projects like the Reaction by Collision events series. Collaborative events with RBC like Reaction by Collision have helped more than 5,000 students network with industry professionals and community leaders in Manitoba.

Indian City performing at Manitou a bi Bii daziigae.

R-Crew Paint Night: Thursday, April 27

April 24, 2023

Join R-Crew in F209 on Thursday, April 27 from 5pm-8pm for a Paint Night with local artist Cheryle Dreaver.

“I haven’t taught the moccasin one as a paint night, but I would like to in acknowledgement of all the little ones recovered at residential schools across Canada. The rooting and flowering is about grounding and life. I could see this as a powerful teacher and meaningful to all participants.”

Cheryle Dreaver

Paint supplies and light refreshments will be provided.

When: 5pm-8pm, Thursday, April 27

Where: F209, NDC

To register, please email Terri-Lynn at

2023 RBC Reaction by Collision Lineup: Music

April 18, 2023

Indian City

Indian City is a fusion of pop, folk, and rock with an ever-rotating roster of talent. The Winnipeg-based band features different Indigenous superstars with each album, bringing together a masterful mix of energies to every recording and each live performance while expressing the modern conscience of Indigenous People. The band was founded in 2012 by the late Vince Fontaine.

Indian City’s fourth album and Fontaine’s final project, Code Red, is a 2023 Juno Nominee for the Contemporary Indigenous Group of the Year Award. In the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #83, Indian City invited non-Indigenous artists like Jim Cuddy, Chantal Kreviazuk, and Chris Burke-Gaffney to collaborate on Code Red.

In the spring of 2022, Warner Music Canada signed with Indian City shortly after Fontaine’s passing in January. The band pre-released “Star People”, “Wannabe”, and “The Path” each with their own music videos before Code Red was re-released on September 30, 2022, to coincide with the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Indian City has been recognized on the international stage since its founding in 2012, and has been honoured with several awards, including the Western Canadian Music Award, the Indian Summer Music Award, the Native American Music Award, and the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Award, among many others.

On April 19, 2023, Indian City’s lineup at Manitou a bi Bii daziigae will feature Jay Bodner, Neewa Mason, Gabrielle Fontaine, Pamela Davis, Lawrence “Spatch” Mulhall, and Rich Reid. Join us for Indigenous Food, Fashion, and Music: an RBC Reaction by Collision Community Event and witness Indian City’s stellar energy onstage. For more information, check out the program post for the 2023 RBC Reaction by Collision.

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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