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Keyano College: A place where traditions and culture are honoured and respected

Keyano College has a long-standing connection to the Indigenous Communities in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB).

We should always strive to be more inclusive, after all, Keyano was named after the Cree word, kiyânaw, which roughly translates to “your, mine, ours”, a way of expressing the sentiment of sharing. On February 18, 2020, Huskies Athletics revealed their new jerseys designed by Emma Voyageur, a Denésoliné Indigenous artist from Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

“We are so honoured to be adding these beautiful Indigenous works of art to our regular Huskies jersey rotation. These jerseys will instill a strong sense of pride in our Indigenous student-athletes as well as they will also strengthen the connection between our entire Athletics department to the strong Indigenous heritage in the Wood Buffalo Region,” said Jonathan Lambert, Director of Athletics & Recreation.

Emma was finishing her last year of high school when she heard about the College’s desire to have Indigenous-designed jerseys.  Now she is working on her fine arts degree at the Alberta University of the Arts in Calgary.  She indicated there were many influences in her designs from her culture, teachings, and past experiences as an Indigenous woman. Her artwork reflects the stories and beauty of First Nations peoples in Alberta. (Meet the artist)

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Jay Notay, President & CEO indicated “Keyano College is one of 67 college signatories across Canada committed to prioritizing Indigenous people access to post-secondary education to create and to promote learner success, inclusion, and community development.”

It is to that point that Keyano College offers customized training designed at the request of Indigenous communities.

Some examples of customized programs are:

Community-Based Environmental Monitoring (CBEM): The objective of this program is to provide classroom and land-based instruction leading to the attainment of the CBEM Certificate to ready, willing, and able First Nations, Inuit, and Métis participants. The CBEM Program provides environmental monitoring training through a holistic approach that reflects Indigenous perspectives and worldviews. Although this program is not being offered this academic year, partners are actively looking for funding, and the program is being brokered to Blue Quills this year.

Indigenous Youth Exploration of the Trades: Students are given the opportunity to explore trades that are in high demand based on collaboration with local industry. Students will also practice math and science skills that will support their entrance into the Trades.

Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care: The 32-week online program gives students practical experiences in early learning and child care at each stage in a child’s development. This includes learning how to create programs for children and give lessons through problem-solving. Online learning makes this opportunity more accessible to people in rural and Indigenous communities. This program has been redesigned to reflect Indigenous worldviews in childcare and education.

These programs are all offered through our School of Continuing Education.  For further information please contact Indigenous.ed@keyano.ca

An integral part of successful programs is collaboration. Indigenous Education cannot achieve what it does without the participation of partners such as Athabasca Tribal Council, Rupertsland Institute, the Government of Alberta, leadership from regional communities, and local industry. It is through collaboration and innovation that we can meet the education and training needs of the RMWB.

On-campus we have the Indigenous Student Centre (ISC) which promotes a respectful and welcoming environment for all students, faculty, and staff. It acts as a central hub to gather and find a sense of belonging. Several events take place in the ISC throughout the academic year, providing Indigenous teachings, crafts, guest speakers, music, etc.

This all speaks to the College’s desire to move forward in the process of reconciliation and create a space where all students feel welcome and represented.  A place where we honour and respect the traditions and culture, and we are proud as an institution to celebrate the Indigenous history of the region.

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