RRC Polytech welcomes Knowledge Keepers Council to further Truth and Reconciliation commitments

January 13, 2022

Red River College Polytechnic is proud to welcome its first Knowledge Keepers Council.

Allen Sutherland, Barbara Bruce, Albert McLeod and Martha Peet will join Elders-in-Residence Paul Guimond and Una Swan to provide guidance and diverse Indigenous perspectives throughout RRC Polytech’s work to embed truth and reconciliation.

Earlier this fall, RRC Polytech released its 2022-2026 Strategic Plan, In Front of What’s Ahead. The second of the plan’s three commitments is to commit to Truth and Reconciliation by pursuing equity, diversity and inclusion in everything the College does.

“Our needs for consultation and engagement are expanding as we work towards advancing truth and reconciliation and embedding Indigenous perspectives across RRC Polytech. This is a vital piece of ensuring we are on the right track, that we are being intentional,” says Fred Meier, President and CEO, RRC Polytech.

“We are so fortunate to have such esteemed and respected Elders and Knowledge Keepers joining together to support strategic planning and execution across our organization, which will impact all areas, from academic programs and culturally appropriate supports to applied research, fostering relationships with Indigenous communities and businesses, and being a prominent workplace in Manitoba. I look forward to seeing this group strengthen the efforts outlined in our new Strategic Plan.”

The new Council will advise senior leadership on strategic initiatives as the College responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 Calls to Action. The formation of the Council also aligns with the Commission’s principal number seven to support reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, which states the perspectives and understanding of Indigenous Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers of the ethics, concepts and practices of reconciliation are vital to long-term reconciliation.

“One of the most beautiful things about Indigenous cultures is that they are so diverse and there is an understanding of value and respect, despite different customs, traditions and languages,” says Carla Kematch, Director, Truth and Reconciliation at RRC Polytech.

“Within this Knowledge Keepers Council, we have individuals who are proud Cree, Inuit, Métis, Dakota, Oji-Cree, Ojibway and Two Spirit. It’s very inclusive, and each brings a lifetime’s worth of knowledge, teachings and experiences. We need to hear these voices as we move forward and make decisions.

“The formation of this Council and its close relationship with senior leadership highlights the priority of the knowledge and viewpoints they will bring to support the wide range of work at RRC Polytech. I think we will see the Council strengthen Indigenous knowledge throughout the College, inform consultation processes and contribute to a safe working space for Indigenous and diverse staff among many other areas. It will be exciting to see where we go from here.”

Knowledge Keepers Council

  • Elder Paul Guimond, Okonace (Little Eagle Bone), RRC Polytech Elder-in-Residence, is part of the Turtle Clan and from Sagkeeng First Nation.
  • Ms. Una Swan, Black Eagle Woman, RRC Polytech Elder-in-Residence, is from Fisher River Cree Nation.
  • Allen Sutherland, Waabishki Mazinazoot Mishtaatim (White Spotted Horse), is Anishinaabe, of the Bizhiw Doodem (Lynx Clan), Skownan First Nation, Treaty 2 Territory.
  • Barbara Bruce is a citizen of the Métis Nation — Michif aen Otipemisiwak, and Two-Spirit. Her beliefs in Métis and other Indigenous traditional teachings are reflected in all the work she takes on.
  • Albert McLeod is a Status Indian with ancestry from Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation and the Métis community of Norway House in northern Manitoba. He has over 30 years of experience as a human rights activist and is one of the directors of Two-Spirited People of Manitoba Inc.
  • Martha Peet is an Inuit elder and storyteller from Taloyaok, Nunavut, for whom telling stories is about sharing her own experiences and the traditional Inuit way of life.

Explore the Council members’ full biographies.