Indigenous Student Supports is hitting the road and bringing their Support Centres to Indigenous students.
The Indigenous Support Centres at the Notre Dame and Exchange District campuses offer a home away from home with kitchen amenities, access to counselors and Elders, special events and cultural ceremonies, and a place to build community.
“We offer a safe place where students can smudge, use a computer, ask questions, have a casual conversation with staff, or if they to need to, a more serious conversation,” says Maria Morrison, Director, Indigenous Student Supports & Community Relations. “During this time, it’s so important that we continue to offer all of our supports while keeping everyone safe.”
Once the College moved classes to alternative delivery formats, the ISS team quickly activated to ensure Indigenous students were supported virtually, and had what they needed to continue to learn from home.
“The Indigenous perspective is always about helping each other and creating community, and our staff have that natural inclination to want to help.”
They organized deliveries of computers and emergency food hampers, and are also preparing traditional medicines such as sage and cedar so students can smudge at home and made cedar tea.
“In an Indigenous worldview, the mind, body, spirit, and heart work in balance. We want to encourage students to keep doing the things that connect them to their culture and spirituality, as much as keeping up with their academics, so ensuring they have access to Indigenous medicines and knowledge is a priority for us. Elder Paul has also been adapting to sharing his teachings virtually through video on our Facebook, and we couldn’t be more grateful.”