Carleton University announced today that it has created an Aboriginal Education Council to ensure that its long-term co-ordinated strategy on Aboriginal issues is implemented.
The 33-member council, which reports to Carleton President Roseann O’Reilly Runte, is tasked with providing knowledge and guidance on programs, courses and services that have an Aboriginal focus and it will be the main resource on educational and support needs of Aboriginal students, staff and faculty.
The council includes Carleton students, staff and faculty, as well as several representatives from First Nation communities, including Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, Ahkwesahsne and Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn. It will be chaired by Anita Tenasco, Kitigan Zibi’s director of education.
“Carleton University is a real leader in the Ottawa area in regards to creating an environment where Aboriginal students and Aboriginal communities feel welcome and a part of a university,” said Tenasco. “The Aboriginal Education Council wants to help provide all Aboriginal students every opportunity to learn and expand their horizons. Education is the key to First Nations, Inuit and Métis people moving forward in a positive way.’”
“I have high hopes that the council will guide the university to create new Aboriginal initiatives,” said Mallory Whiteduck, an Aboriginal Cultural Liaison Officer at Carleton. “I am particularly encouraged by the enthusiasm of the community organizations and community members who have agreed to sit on the council; it demonstrates a real commitment to ensuring that the Carleton community is open, accessible and relevant to Aboriginal students and their families, communities and nations.”
Faculty member Rodney Nelson called the council “another step forward for Carleton” in its commitment to working with Aboriginal leaders and communities.
“The council is there to help connect the university to communities and work within the university to support indigenous students and research.”
Carleton has been making steady progress on enriching the experience for Aboriginal students on campus by providing more academic opportunities and services. Last month, the university opened a new Aboriginal centre, a gathering place for all students designed by architect Douglas Cardinal. Called Ojigkwanong, it means morning star in Algonquin.
The centre was initially proposed by a longstanding Task Force on Aboriginal Affairs, the precursor to the new council. Members of the Carleton community provided input into what the centre might look like before the project was handed over to Cardinal.
Ojigkwanong will be a hub for more than 600 Aboriginal students and faculty, as well as Elders and non-Aboriginal members of the Carleton community, as the university moves forward on new initiatives.
About Carleton University:
Carleton University has adopted an Aboriginal Coordinated Strategy that defines the fundamental values governing our relationships with Aboriginal peoples and communities. We will employ these values as we seek to become a noted centre for Aboriginal learning and innovative research, welcome more Aboriginal students to campus and increase our partnerships. Read the strategy here.
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