On October 24 TakingITGlobal brought together 7 post-secondary institutions and 10 youth for our Future Pathways Virtual Summit. We invited post-secondary institutions to speak to some of the ways the institution is ensuring the success of Indigenous students in pursuing and succeeding in their post-secondary endeavours. We were joined by the University of Saskatchewan, Nunavut Sivuniksavut, Red River College, Vancouver Island University, Nova Scotia Community College, Center for Indigenous Theatre, and the University of Toronto.
Following an opening song shared by Kevin Myran at Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre, we heard a summary of findings highlighted by Indigenous Scholar Nicole Ineese-Nash who worked with TakingITGlobal to prepare a report released at this gathering. Key themes include:
We were also joined by TakingITGlobal team members Dallas Pelly and Jade Roberts from Treaty 6 (Saskatoon) and a group of Indigenous students from different communities gathered in Toronto as part of a special Create to Learn summit in partnership with ImagineNative. Participants had an opportunity to share inputs based on their experiences and expectations for post-secondary campuses as part of the dialogue.
We asked the youth to reflect on the question “what are the top ways you have been supported, or would like to be better supported, by post-secondary institutions?” Sam Mukwa, a student at Ryerson University talked about how his program is a partnership with the First Nations Technical Institute based out of Tyendinaga. They also have elder supports, access to traditional medicines, and community.
After we had heard from the youth, we asked the post-secondary institutions to reflect on the ways that their institution is ensuring the success of Indigenous students in pursuing and succeeding in post-secondary endeavours. Chris Scribe, the Director of the Indian Teacher Education Program at the University of Saskatchewan said “the institutions are colonial institutions, so what are they doing to support Indigenous people? They are doing what they can do, be colonial. What we do in our programs is create bubbles of Indigenous success within these colonial institutions. We create these spaces within them, but it’s not always easy.” With alumni from ITEP on our program, this sentiment rang true throughout our staff and youth.
With the report in the hands of the schools, it is our hope they will be able to take the suggestions and try to better the way they support Indigenous students. This was the first report released from our Future Pathways Summits, in partnership with the RBC Foundation. Our next steps include hosting a virtual career fair for our Connected North schools to attend. For more information on Connected North please visit our website.