Rebecca Chartrand appointed executive director of Indigenous Strategy

Rebecca ChartrandRed River College has announced the appointment of Rebecca Chartrand as its new Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy, to lead in the enhancement of Indigenous education.

Chartrand will oversee a planned expansion of student supports, the creation of new academic programming, and the expansion and deepening of partnerships between RRC and Indigenous communities.

“We are thrilled to add Rebecca to our senior leadership team,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “The College is moving forward with a plan to add transition and mentoring services to support the success of Indigenous students across the College, and new programs designed to provide the skills needed in Indigenous communities. Rebecca will lead the process in consultation with our elders and our dedicated and experienced faculty and staff.”

Chartrand, who will start in August, comes to the College from Seven Oaks School Division, where she spent the last seven years as Division Lead, Aboriginal Education. Chartrand is also a sessional instructor at the University of Manitoba, the president of the Indigenous Peoples Commission for Manitoba, the founder and professional development chair of the Council for Aboriginal Education in Manitoba, and an education advisor for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

“Education is the key to improving the lives of Indigenous peoples and to improving Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations across Canada,” says Chartrand. “We need to create the programs, supports and opportunities that allow Indigenous peoples to demonstrate their leadership and innovation in all facets of our society. I am excited to be joining a strong Indigenous education program at RRC and a College that is committed to doing even more for Indigenous students.”

With 15 years’ experience in education, Chartrand has created several ground-breaking programs from scratch, including an Ojibwe Kindergarten-to-Grade 3 language school, the first of its kind developed with an urban school board. She also has experience in developing and implementing transitional supports for Indigenous secondary students moving to Winnipeg to attend high school, which in turn has supported their transition to post-secondary institutions.

Advancing Indigenous achievement is one of the four priorities of RRC’s Strategic Plan (2016-2021). The College is also one of nine post-secondary signatories to the Manitoba Collaborative Indigenous Education Blueprint, which is based on the Calls to Action issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Recent milestones in Indigenous Education including the opening of RRC’s new Sweat Lodge at the Notre Dame Campus and a record number of graduates registering for last month’s Graduation Pow Wow.

There are also a number of new initiatives underway or being planned, including:

  • Developing new academic programming in Indigenous culinary, Indigenous entrepreneurship, restorative justice, social enterprise and Indigenous languages, and redeveloping current ACCESS programs that will provide pathways to a broader range of careers.
  • Creating a more comprehensive Indigenous student support unit to address a range of factors critical to student success – including the transition to college, cultural supports, and mentors.
  • Including Indigenous culture, knowledge and history in academic program areas across the College, to reflect the fact Indigenous students are taking courses in virtually every school and on every campus.
  • Continuing to invest in cultural supports such as the new Sweat Lodge – with early planning underway for the development of a new Indigenous Meeting Place at the heart of the NDC.
  • Increasing support for and access to RRC’s two Elders in Residence.
  • Working with the College’s new Indigenous Achievement Strategic Council and building stronger partnerships with Indigenous communities.