As part of its commitment to advancing Indigenous achievement while strengthening ties between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, Red River College has appointed its first Manager of Truth and Reconciliation and Community Engagement.
Carla Kematch will lead the College in its commitment to Manitoba’s Indigenous Education Blueprint, a pledge to advance Indigenous education in the province — and to make Manitoba a centre of excellence for Indigenous education, research, languages and culture.
As one of nine post-secondary signatories to the Blueprint — which takes action on recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada — the College recognizes it has an important, proactive role to play in supporting reconciliation efforts in the province.
“A key priority for the College is to strengthen our partnerships and continue to advance Indigenous achievement in our communities, and education is the key to improving the lives of Indigenous people and to improving Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations across Canada,” says Rebecca Chartrand, RRC’s Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy.
“Our role as a college is to ensure we create the programs, supports and opportunities that allow Indigenous people to demonstrate their leadership and innovation in all facets of our society. We are looking forward to the skills, experience and perspective that Carla will bring to the team as we address Truth and Reconciliation throughout the College.”
Kematch arrives at RRC with 30 years’ experience working within Indigenous communities in a variety of capacities, including the development of training programs for staffs, community clients, board members and other partners, in areas such as policy development, needs assessment, implementation plans, and evaluation and delivery of group training.
As part of her work in program development, Kematch developed and launched Art City. She also did policy work at the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs for five years, and later served as the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Project Winnipeg Site Coordinator and as the United Way’s Capacity Building Director.
In addition, Kematch has experience developing recruitment and retention plans for government, private sector and non-profit organizations, among them Valard Construction and the Red River Expansion Project, both examples where Indigenous communities were engaged and processes developed for hiring and training Indigenous community members.
“I know it’s a big project, but I’m looking forward to the challenge,” says Kematch of her new role at RRC. “The 94 Calls to Action cover all aspects of everyone’s lives: health and wellness, government policy, and educational institutes — so it’s all-encompassing. It also recognizes the history of Indigenous people and their challenges, as well as celebrating their culture.
“Ideally, we will embed, instil and recognize the Calls to Action within every area [of the College]. I think everybody is doing it already, they just haven’t been able to identify what it is they are doing, and how it correlates to the specific calls. So if staff and students recognize that they are already doing it, it will be easier to embed it and instil it in how they work every day.”