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Indigenous Education

Elder Mae Louise Campbell awarded honorary diploma for lifetime of advocacy

November 18, 2020

Elder Mae Louise CampbellElder Mae Louise Campbell is a healer, teacher, grandmother and advocate who has made it her life’s work to support and strengthen Indigenous women — both individually and collectively.

Today, Red River College is proud to recognize her contributions to the community by awarding her an Honorary Diploma in Indigenous Social Enterprise, with a focus on Community Development and Social Innovation.

“In an organization as large as Red River College, it’s special to find someone who is known, respected and beloved by an entire community, and Elder Mae Louise is all of those things,” said RRC President Fred Meier.

“During her 14 years with the College, she was invited by all 110 academic program areas to conduct and lead countless workshops, ceremonies and teachings. She is known and celebrated for her stories that underscore the importance of harmony, respect and resilience.

“Elder Mae Louise’s leadership has left an indelible mark on the College and the province of Manitoba, and we are pleased to award her this honorary diploma and recognize her important contributions.”

Cambpell’s knowledge and experience have been embraced by many. Her life lessons and unique ability to educate and share knowledge around Indigenous worldviews — creating dialogue outside of textbooks — has been imperative to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of the community.

She has been an instrumental figure supporting many initiatives and committees, both nationally and across Manitoba, including: Grandmother Moon Lodge, Clan Mothers Healing Village and Knowledge Centre, the Mayor’s Indigenous Advisory Circle, the Grandmothers Council of Manitoba (as a Wisdom Keeper), and the First Nations Advisory Committee to Canada’s Prenatal Nutritional Program. She served as an Elder and advisor for the Canadian Women’s Foundation on matters concerning the sexual exploitation and human trafficking of women and girls, and was the recipient of the 2016 Indspire Award in the category of Culture, Heritage and Spirituality.

The College announced and presented Campbell’s Honorary Diploma yesterday at the first ever Virtual Fall Convocation ceremony, during which more than 900 graduates from every RRC campus celebrated the milestone achievement. Read More →

Red River College to host Virtual Indigenous Celebration

June 5, 2020

Today at noon, Red River College will host a Virtual Indigenous Celebration on Facebook Live to recognize Indigenous students and their accomplishments. The event will be held in lieu of the annual Pow Wow to ensure staff and students maintain social distancing and safety during COVID-19 restrictions.

“RRC’s annual Pow Wow has been a point of pride for the College for nearly 20 years and has been a tremendous way to honour, celebrate and make Indigenous culture more accessible for the College community. Although we are not yet able to be together physically, we still are, and will always be, dedicated to advancing Indigenous achievement and embedding Indigenous ways of knowing and being,” says Isabel Bright, Acting Dean, School of Indigenous Education.

“We are excited to create a place online that makes our students feel special, acknowledges their achievements, and holds space for Indigenous culture and teachings.”

The virtual event will feature messages from community leaders and dignitaries, senior leadership, instructors from the School of Indigenous Education, Indigenous Support Staff, and even some special performances that highlight the diversity of Indigenous cultures.

Students of First Nation, Métis and Inuit ancestry were invited to register to be recognized in the Celebration and receive a mailed gift, which includes the Indigenous stole they would have received at Pow Wow.

“It’s really important that we do what we can to help students mark this important moment in their lives,” says Bright. “The RRC Pow Wow is a powerful experience for those of us who work in Indigenous Education because it’s a space where Indigenous culture, knowledge, ceremony and protocol lead.”

“It’s important to show our students that these things hold a high value, and in turn celebrate those values within themselves. It says your achievements matter, and who you are matters. We want to ensure we are doing what we can to help students celebrate important milestones and remind them that they are part of a community.” Read More →

Fall 2020 term to be delivered online

May 20, 2020

Red River College announced today that academic programs and services for the Fall 2020 term will be delivered online. This cautious but agile approach will allow RRC to continue providing high-quality educations to students, while preparing graduates to help Manitoba’s economy emerge from the current global pandemic.

“I remain incredibly grateful to our faculty, staff and students as they adjust to our new way of teaching and learning,” says interim President Dr. Christine Watson. “As we prepare for the fall term, our approach will put the safety of our staff and students first, while providing meaningful, high-quality learning experiences for students at every step of their academic journeys.”

While the College is focused on online delivery for the fall, planning is also underway to quickly pivot should public health directives change, to allow for the delivery of some courses on campus. Priority will be given to hands-on learning that was delayed due to the pandemic, in order to help students who are close to graduating get caught up and complete their programs.

“Over the past few months, we’ve learned a great deal from our experiences transitioning to online program delivery,” says Aileen Najduch, acting Vice-President, Academic. “We’re building on that foundation to ensure Red River College continues arming our graduates with the skills, knowledge and experiences they need to help support our partners in industry and rebuild our economy.

“Online learning will help prepare our graduates for a new age of disruption by providing them with the tools they need to succeed in industry and in workplaces that are undergoing a digital transformation.” Read More →

College to continue alternative delivery of programs and services; on-campus classes remain suspended until fall

April 3, 2020

Red River College will continue providing alternative delivery models for programs and services for the upcoming spring and summer terms, which means there will be no on-campus classes or public events until September.

Work integrated learning (practicums, clinical, work experience) will continue to be suspended except for those instances that can be completed using online or alternative approaches. Co-op/industry placements will continue at the discretion of the workplace employer.

Today’s announcement extends the timeframe that students, faculty and staff are expected to work off-campus in order to meet increasingly stringent public health directives aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Manitoba.

“We know this is a challenging time for students, faculty and staff,” says Dr. Christine Watson, interim president and CEO of RRC. “With public health advice changing regularly, we felt that it was important to make a decision that allows for planning certainty throughout the rest of spring and summer.”

Watson lauded the hard work, commitment and creativity of faculty and staff in making the transition to alternative delivery over the past few weeks.

“We have seen our faculty and staff re-imagine their work via technology in a way — and at a pace — that we never thought possible. I also know that we have students who are struggling to adapt to this new reality. We are thankful for all of those who are working together to find a way through this unprecedented situation.

“We would love to be able to re-open our doors and go back to the hustle and bustle of our vibrant campuses. But that simply isn’t an option. We also know that when we begin to rebuild our economy, Manitoba will need Red River College — students will need training to get jobs and launch their careers, and industry will depend upon our grads to fill their workforce needs. Read More →

Red River College welcomes students back — to virtual learning and delivery

March 24, 2020

This week, Red River College and its students took their first steps into new territory as courses resumed following a week-long study break.

The same social distancing practices public health authorities are asking everyone to follow to combat the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic — including cancelling all gatherings — make it impossible for students and instructors to gather in classrooms, workshops and other facilities where learning normally takes place. So, the College has turned to virtual program delivery to get the job done.

“Luckily, three of our greatest strengths as a College community are resilience, agility and innovation,” says Aileen Najduch, Acting Vice-President, Academic. “RRC leadership, faculty and staff came together last week to put those strengths to work in developing alternative forms of program delivery.”

Each program is different, and so is each approach to virtual program delivery. Some instructors are using online meeting platforms such as WebEx and Microsoft Teams to facilitate virtual classes and chats. Others are using Skype, Zoom, and YouTube group forums to connect and discuss course topics. Still others are sharing narrated PowerPoint presentations with students.

“I’ve already heard from an instructor who says the WebEx class they held for one of their Marketing courses this morning had full participation,” says Kirk Johnson, Dean, Business and Applied Arts, and Hospitality and Culinary Arts.

Many of RRC’s virtual program delivery tools were already in use before the COVID-19 outbreak. They’re simply being deployed more extensively now, says Johnson. For example, Business Administration students are using a networking app called Riipen to connect with real-world clients on projects.

As well, all RRC students have free access to LinkedIn Learning, an enormous database of online courses — a virtual asset Johnson says instructors will rely on more heavily in the months ahead. Although the College cancelled all practicums to protect the safety of its students, some programs are developing virtual practicum activities and experiences, including case studies with industry partners. Read More →

RRC recognized as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers

March 9, 2020

Canada's Best Diversity Employers logoRed River College is proud to have been named as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2020.

The College joins 74 other Canadian organizations recognized by Mediacorp Canada Inc. for leadership in creating inclusive workplaces for employees from five diverse groups: women, visible minorities, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) peoples. Today’s award marks the fifth year RRC has been recognized with this distinction.

“This award is an honour because equity and inclusion are at the heart of our workplace culture,” says Melanie Gudmundson, RRC’s Chief Human Resource Officer.

“Red River College is home to thousands of staff and instructors from all backgrounds and virtually every corner of the globe. Each brings unique perspectives, experiences and connections to our classrooms and work spaces. That diversity is one of our greatest strengths — and it’s why we work so hard to provide a welcoming, safe and equitable work environment for all members of our Red River College family.”

Over the past year, RRC advanced a number of programs and initiatives to encourage diversity and inclusivity at the College, including a Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy that will serve as a roadmap to fostering a safe campus environment by ensuring everyone has the chance to work, learn and access services in an inclusive and welcoming manner. The College hired Priyanji Mediwake, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist, to execute this strategy.

To kick off this initiative, a College-wide Diversity Matters poster and communications campaign promoted diversity as one of RRC’s greatest strengths. The campaigns invited staff and students to self-identify as belonging to one or more designated groups: women, racialized persons, Indigenous peoples, persons with a disability, and people of all gender identities. Read More →

Design for mural celebrating Indigenous traditions unveiled

February 12, 2020

A canvas of colour representing traditional Indigenous teachings and local history was unveiled today at Red River College.

The painting, created by Anishinabee artist Jackie Traverse, will be one of the main design features of the College’s new 100,000 square-foot Innovation Centre, currently under construction on Elgin Avenue in the Exchange District.

The piece will span approximately 1,000 square-feet across the inside and outside of the building’s fourth floor ceiling, and will be visible from blocks away.

“I’ve been wanting to tell that story about Indigenous people having a right to be in the downtown area for so many years,” says Traverse (shown above, third from left). “If you just wait long enough, your visions, and your beliefs in your heart will find a way to come to fruition. And I’m thankful Red River College picked me to do this.”

Traverse is a multi-disciplined Anishinaabe artist who works predominantly with paint on canvas. She was born in Winnipeg and knew she wanted to be an artist from the time she was four years old. A graduate of the University of Manitoba’s Fine Arts program, Traverse is known across Canada for her powerful art, which speaks to the realities of being an Indigenous person.

The piece is inspired by The Forks — where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers meet. It will incorporate the 13 moons (which could be interpreted as rocks to represent the Grandfathers), people, bear paws, and the Oodena Celebration Circle. She hopes that each person who views the painting can find their own interpretation or meaning.

“I think it’s really important to have it in downtown Winnipeg,” she says. “A lot of people don’t know the history and don’t understand why there are so many Indigenous people in the Portage Avenue and downtown area. Our people have had a history with this place for thousands of years. It’s in our blood memory and our DNA. We’re drawn to the place of our ancestors and the footsteps they left behind.” Read More →

New art installation for Innovation Centre celebrates Indigenous history

December 18, 2019

When Jackie Traverse was 13 years old, she would sneak out of school to watch an artist paint a Jackson Beardy mural on Selkirk Avenue. Now, 37 years later, she’ll be creating the artwork for a prominent corner of Red River College’s new Innovation Centre, a 100,000-sq.-ft. building in Winnipeg’s Exchange District.

“As a kid I remember thinking, ‘Just wow.’ It was such a big deal for me to see a building with Native artwork being put on it. It was the first time I had seen something like this, on this scale, that felt like it was for me,” she says. “So for me to be doing the same thing now, it makes me proud.”

Traverse is a multi-disciplined Anishinaabe artist who works predominantly with paint on canvas. She was born in Winnipeg and knew she wanted to be an artist from the time she was four years old. A graduate of the University of Manitoba’s Fine Arts program, Traverse is known across Canada for her powerful art, which speaks to the realities of being an Indigenous person.

The College collaborated with the Winnipeg Arts Council in the search for an artist for the project, which will be featured both inside and outside the building’s fourth-floor ceiling, spanning approximately 1,000 sq.-ft. The large overhanging parapet, a gesture to the historic warehouse architecture, was a perfect canvas for a piece of public art to be seen from blocks away, and to act as a lantern atop the new building.

Out of the five artists who were shortlisted to present, Traverse’s concept and story won over the panel.

“The concept she presented was very powerful and resonated with us,” says Patrick Kuzyk, chair of RRC’s selection committee. “One of the goals of the Innovation Centre is to create a hub where students, businesses, entrepreneurs and community members can come together and collaborate on ideas. Her concept depicts a traditional gathering place and we were inspired by the connection.” Read More →

College appoints new Truth and Reconciliation Manager to lead in commitments to Indigenous Education Blueprint

February 7, 2019

Carla Kematch, Red River CollegeAs 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. Read More →

RRC to welcome Bear Clan Patrol founder for presentation on personal safety

November 21, 2018

James Favel, founder and executive director of Bear Clan Patrol Inc., will host a presentation on personal-safety best practices this Fri., Nov. 23, at Red River College’s Exchange District Campus.

The presentation will also explore the role and function of the Bear Clan Patrol, and how students and staff can get involved in their communities. It’ll be hosted by RRC’s Indigenous Education department, and will provide a safe, inclusive environment in which attendees can learn from Favel’s growing — and widely celebrated — volunteer-based organization.

The College is committed to the safety of all its staff and students; engaging community experts like Favel is just one of the ways RRC is working to enhance and maintain personal safety.

The initiative also falls under one of the College’s strategic goals: to strengthen partnerships with Indigenous communities and advance Indigenous achievement.

Operating out the Ndinawe Youth Resource Centre in the city’s North End, the Bear Clan Patrol is comprised of volunteers who work with the community to increase security in the inner city in a non-threatening, non-violent and supportive manner. The Patrol is a community-based solution to crime prevention, one that provides a sense of safety, solidarity and belonging to both its members and the communities they serve.

Favel’s presentation takes place at noon in Room P107 at the Roblin Centre.

Photo credit: Nardella Photography