Indigenous Education

Truth and Reconciliation

RRC Polytech is committed to ensuring that First Nations, Métis and Inuit knowledge, cultures and traditions are embraced and reflected in the pursuit of its mission. 

An acknowledgement of these lands that we are on today, and of the RRC Polytech commitment to Indigenous peoples and communities, now form part of the foundational statements that define RRC Polytech.

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.

We respect the Treaties that were made on these territories, and we dedicate ourselves to move forward in partnership with Indigenous communities in a spirit of reconciliation and collaboration.

RRC Polytech is committed to a renewed relationship and dialogue with Indigenous people based on the principles of mutual trust, respect, and reciprocity. 

Welcome to Truth and Reconciliation and Community Engagement at RRC Polytech (RRC Polytech) .

We strive to transform spaces, to weave together distinct cultures, and to improve relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. RRC Polytech’s goal is to become the premier choice in post-secondary education for Indigenous learners across Manitoba and beyond.

RRC Polytech has actively embedded the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action into everything we do, and made Truth and Reconciliation commitment #2 of our Strategic Plan. A signatory to the Manitoba Collaborative Indigenous Education Blueprint, RRC Polytech publicly pledged to advance Indigenous education in the province by enhancing culturally-inclusive supports  strengthening partnerships with Indigenous communities. 

At the heart of reconciliation is the need to create strong relationships built on trust, respect and inclusion. Reflective of these values, the Director of Truth and Reconciliation and Community Engagement has focused on building strong relationships between non-Indigenous and Indigenous students, staff, faculty and communities.

As our Truth and Reconciliation Strategy continues to evolve, we are focused on training and education, curriculum development, and College-wide community engagement. Industry partnerships ensure that Indigenous students transition to safe, culturally-inclusive workplaces and the new Indigenous Strategy, Research and Business Development area is always exploring new ways to incorporate industry participation into our education models.

Truth and Reconciliation belongs to and is the responsibility of every person in Canada. By working together, we will move forward in a way that’s mutually beneficial to all peoples.

Learn About TRC and Get Involved

  • Read our FAQ, watch our Truth and Reconciliation video series, and access the resource section below to get a greater understanding on Indigenous culture, Truth and Reconciliation, and key terminology.
  • Participate in our upcoming events. To stay up to date on Truth and Reconciliation and Community Engagement, and Indigenous Education news and events, subscribe to receive our newsletter.
  • Read and use RRC Polytech’s land acknowledgement. The full land acknowledgement is available at the top of the page to use as a foundation—depending on where and the context of your acknowledgement, you may want to incorporate more relevant elements or remove elements that don’t apply to the situation. A condensed version for use in staff and student email signatures is available under the tab “Condensed Land Acknowledgement”.

Diversity on Campus

At RRC Polytech, we are dedicated to providing a respectful atmosphere that is diverse, inclusive and equitable to our students, staff and external partners. Our diversity is our greatest strength and our goal is to provide a barrier-free environment for individuals to succeed in their academic, employment and research goals. Reconciliation is just one piece of the puzzle.

Learn more about Diversity on Campus ›

Condensed Land Acknowledgement

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.

Pronunciation and Reference Guide

NationPronunciationAnglicized Reference

Truth and Reconciliation FAQ

What is Truth and Reconciliation?

Truth and Reconciliation is a term used all over the world to describe the two-fold response to the lasting impacts colonization has had on Indigenous Peoples. First, to educate society on the truth of the past and present, and second, to make the societal, economic and structural changes required to move forward in a way that is mutually beneficial to all peoples.

The truth-telling and reconciliation process began as Canada began to recognize the destructive legacy of the Canadian Indian Residential School System.. The Canadian Government formed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in June 2008 with a mandate to inform all Canadians about  the effects Indian Residential Schools had on survivors and their families, the stories of whom many Canadians did not previously know. The Commission documented statements from student survivors, families, and communities and compiled this knowledge into reports that culminated in the TRC’s Final Report in 2015 and the 94 Calls to Action. These Calls to Action address all areas of Canadian life. Many Calls address categories like education, child welfare, language and culture, health, justice, media, sport and recreation, business reconciliation, newcomers to Canada, and many more.

Most educational institutions committed to ensuring their students, staff and faculty understand Truth and Reconciliation, the impacts of Residential Schools and colonization, and what can be done going forward and why.

What is Reconciliation (in this context)?

Reconciliation is about restoring balance and respectfully forming and renewing relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. In order to move forward and reconcile, we must also understand the truth about Canada’s past and present, and the colonial policies that were and still are in place today. Educational institutions, like RRC Polytech, have a particular responsibility to examine their own places in reconciliation and move to a place in which Indigenous perspectives and histories are incorporated, understood, and accepted.

Why are the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) calls to action important to Canadians?

Indigenous people have suffered as a result of the Canadian Indian Residential School System and the colonial policies the government created. These policies and the intergenerational impacts of Residential Schools on survivors and their communities continue to prevent Indigenous peoples from participating in equal opportunities socially, economically, and culturally.

To create equitable space in which Indigenous people can thrive is to repair the relationship Canada has with Indigenous peoples. Healing and repairing this relationship will require education, awareness, and increased understanding of the legacy and the impacts that involve all Canadians. 

The TRC’s reports and the Calls to Action clearly outline strategies to address barriers that affect Indigenous peoples that institutions, like RRC Polytech, can use to inform their approaches to reconciliation.

Why is Truth and Reconciliation important for RRC Polytech?

Manitoba has the highest percentage of Indigenous peoples in Canada, almost 17% of the provincial population. At present, 38% of Manitoba’s Indigenous people aged 25–34 years do not hold a post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree.

RRC Polytech has a significant and growing Indigenous student body and  taking active steps to ensure Indigenous student success is important to address historic barriers.

Reconciliation is an ongoing individual and collective process and requires commitment from all Canadians. A key priority for the College is to strengthen our partnerships with Indigenous communities and continue to advance Indigenous achievement.


Blanket Exercise

RRC Polytech began offering the Blanket Exercise for staff to learn more about Canada’s history and Indigenous culture. The full-day workshop is named for the blankets participants walk on that represent Turtle Island (North America).

During the exercise, participants role-play as Indigenous peoples as they are guided through a simulation of the colonization of Canada. It begins with what Indigenous worldviews are and what life and governance looked like before European contact. The exercise takes you through the first treaties, laws and policies the government enacted and the church endorsed, the Canadian Residential School System, the Sixties Scoop, all the way up to current issues. The exercise is designed to share information and key events in a way that is safe, supportive and non-judgmental.

Elders are an essential part of the exercise as they start the day off in a good way, share Teachings, and contribute to creating a safe environment. Every offering of the Blanket Exercise will be a little different as the College has a number of facilitators and lead Indigenous facilitators, all of whom will bring their own Teachings and different life experiences to the exercise; which is fitting, as no two Indigenous communities are the same.

4 Seasons of Reconciliation Education

4 Seasons of Reconciliation is a new professional development e –modular training program offered as part of the College’s commitment to embed Truth and Reconciliation education. This multi-media PD initiative has been developed for post-secondary workplaces through collaboration and co-creation with the First Nations University of Canada, its Indigenous Advisory Circle, and Indigenous contributors.

The training program creates an understanding on the history of colonization in Canada and how it impacts current issues and Indigenous Peoples today through engaging slideshows, short videos, documentary films, and mini quizzes. 4 Seasons provides the knowledge required for informed, respectful and effective engagement in the classroom and workplace. This knowledge helps combat personal biases and preconceptions about Indigenous people. Only through education can we build a stronger future for all Canadians. 

4 Seasons of Reconciliation is mandatory training for all staff and faculty and must be completed by March 31, 2023. The training is not required for students, but faculty are welcome to incorporate the training into their content delivery, and a separate package is available with instructions on how to add the course to the LEARN curriculum.

Staff can learn more and start the program ›

Mínwastánikéwin Truth and Reconciliation Award

RRC Polytech’s School of Indigenous Education partnered with the Campus Store to create the Mínwastánikéwin Truth and Reconciliation Award.

The word Mínwastánikéwin is Cree and means ‘to set it right.’ This new award that seeks to advance Indigenous achievement was a grassroots initiative, created by the generous support of the College community during the first Truth and Reconciliation week in 2019. Staff and students purchased specially designed t-shirts at the Campus Store that bring awareness to Indigenous issues and key dates Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Awareness Day.

Applications for 2023 are closed.

Engagement and Events


Indigenous Education is stronger at RRC Polytech with the support of our Elders and Knowledge Keepers and through partnerships with the broader Indigenous community. Elders have always held positions of high esteem and importance; they are the living libraries that hold the wisdom, history and cultural knowledge of our Nations. Our Elders-in-Residence support education through Indigenous ways of teaching, learning and leading. They play an important role in student and staff health, wellness, and cultural and spiritual development.

Learn more and meet our Elders-in-Residence ›


Throughout the year, we host various events such as ceremonies, guest speaker presentations, workshops, seasonal solstice and equinox celebrations and we conclude the year with our annual Pow Wow honouring Indigenous graduates and students.

Truth and Reconciliation Week in the fall is a collaboration with the Students’ Association and begins with Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters on September 30) and closes on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Honouring and Awareness Day on October 4. The week is dedicated to learning about Indigenous culture and history and starting a conversation around Truth and Reconciliation and the 94 Calls to Action. All are welcome to participate in special events and to join the conversation.

See the latest news and events ›


This series of original RRC Polytech videos touch on local Indigenous cultural themes and practices that are embedded in the College.

What these videos have in common is that they touch on what all human beings need to survive: language, culture and family.


Elders-in-Residence program ensures staff and students have access to Elders as well as playing an important role in the College’s senior leadership. Elders-in-Residence offer cultural teaching sessions, one-on-one appointments, classroom visits and lead ceremonies.


RRC Polytech’s Indigenous Support Centres, both at the Exchange District and Notre Dame Campuses, are equipped with air exhaust systems so students can smudge. The Indigenous Student Supports and Community Relations department also ensures students have access to the medicines that they need to smudge.


Language is fundamental to culture. The UN declared 2019, the International Year of Indigenous Languages and there concentrated efforts on preserving and revitalizing these languages.


To connect with Carla Kematch, Director, Truth and Reconciliation and Community Engagement, email

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.

Learn more ›