Elder Mae Louise Campbell carries the gift of women’s medicine. All her life, she has shared her knowledge of Indigenous culture and traditional teachings to help empower the women around her.
And while Campbell (shown above, at left) is a familiar face at Red River College — where she’s served as a mentor for more than a decade — it’s her work with women in the larger community that led to her being honoured over the weekend with an Indspire Award in the category of Culture, Heritage and Spirituality.
“The thing that I look forward to the most is for our women to be able to see it and say, ‘Well, this Grandmother got this award, and the reason she received it is because of all the work she’s doing to heal women,’” says Campbell. “That message to me is more important than anything else.”
Campbell’s desire to see Indigenous women empowered was born out of her own personal journey of self-awareness, healing and spiritual awakening. Like many Indigenous people, Campbell says she struggled to find her identity. Her refusal to accept the difficulties of being a young wife and mother in a controlling relationship set her on the path of discovery.
“I knew that I had to find my voice and believe in the fact that I have the strength and the wisdom to be well in my mind, body and spirit, and to continue to grow,” says Campbell. “And I knew I would have to do that by discovering our traditional ways of women’s knowing, and understanding women’s roles in the community.”
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Red River College helped make history last week, joining with every post-secondary institution in Manitoba — as well as the Manitoba School Boards Association — in signing the Indigenous Education Blueprint, an unprecedented commitment to advance Indigenous education in the province.
The transformational framework is the result of a new partnership between Manitoba’s public school boards and the post-secondary education sector, now united in their efforts to enhance Indigenous education and reconciliation, and to make Manitoba a global centre of excellence for Indigenous education, research, languages and culture.
The Blueprint takes action on recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and will translate into success for Indigenous students and their families, thereby enriching the lives of all Manitobans.
“Indigenous youth are one of the fastest growing populations in Canada,” said RRC President Paul Vogt. “They are our future — our future leaders, entrepreneurs and builders — and the next generation of our country. As colleges, we have a responsibility to work with other partners to continue to build upon our diverse range of post-secondary programs that support Indigenous learners on their educational journey.”
Next steps include such action items as establishing a steering committee with all signatories, creating a collaborative website and social media platform, and hosting a conference on Indigenous education.
The partners who met Friday to sign the historic Blueprint include RRC, the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg, Brandon University, Université de Saint-Boniface, Canadian Mennonite University, University College of the North, Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology, Assiniboine Community College and the Manitoba School Boards Association. Read More →
Applications are still being accepted for the College’s new Seven Generations Award, available to any Indigenous student who’s the descendant (or dependent) of an RRC alum.
Launched last fall by RRC’s Aboriginal Student Support & Community Relations team, the award seeks to create a seamless educational pathway for the next seven generations of learners. Two awards worth $500 each are available each year.
Application requirements include:
- Must be a full-time student (and provide enrolment/registration letter)
- Must be of Aboriginal ancestry
- Must fill out a general RRC awards application
- Must submit a 500-word essay, which includes an explanation of your relationship to the RRC grad in question, as well as a description of your career goals, community involvement and cultural awareness
Application packages can be dropped off at RRC’s Aboriginal Centre (F209, Notre Dame Campus). The deadline for submissions is Fri., Oct. 30.
For more information, please contact Joan Machendagoos at 204.632.2363 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shown above: Recent RRC grad Tynan Selkirk (at left) joins his father, fellow RRC grad Rob Selkirk, in announcing the launch of the Seven Generations Award at an Aboriginal alumni event in 2014.
If ever an award’s name was a match for that of its recipient, it’s the recently announced Indspire Award being presented to Elder Mae Louise Campbell in 2016.
An advocate for traditional teachings (and an Elder in Residence at Red River College for the past 10 years), Campbell is one of 14 outstanding Canadians who’ll be honoured next year by Indspire, the country’s largest non-governmental funder of Indigenous education.
She’s one of two recipients earning awards for Culture, Heritage and Spirituality.
An Ojibway Metis Elder, Campbell has dedicated her life to teaching the values of kindness, humility and love — leading thousands of sharing and healing circles across Canada, and serving as keeper of Winnipeg’s Grandmother Moon Lodge, which provides spiritual healing and growth to women in need.
Earlier this year, she was appointed to the City of Winnipeg’s new Mayor’s Indigenous Advisory Circle, which aims to build bridges between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities in Winnipeg.
The highest honour bestowed by (and on) Indigenous people in Canada, the Indspire Awards have for 23 years celebrated the contributions of recipients with the discipline, drive and determination to set high standards and accomplish their goals.
The 2016 awards gala will be held next February in Vancouver.
Red River College is proud to welcome Dr. Mark Aquash, our new Dean of Indigenous Education and Community Relations.
Aquash is a member of the Council of Three Fires, Walpole Island First Nation, Aazhwaakwaa Territory, Ont., Nimkeeg Indodem (Thunder Clan), Potawatomi/Ojibwe Anishinaabe. He has been married to his wife, Verna, for more than 26 years, has five children, many grandchildren, and a large extended family.
He credits his success in education and his career in Indigenous knowledge of Anishinaabe to attending and graduating from the Red School House, a culturally-based American Indian school in St. Paul, Minn., during the 1970s.
Aquash holds an undergraduate and Master of Education degree from the University of Minnesota, and completed his Doctor of Education degree (in Education Administration) at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.
He began his career as a K-12 teacher, and later moved into curriculum development and administrative positions (coordinator, principal and director). He has been teaching at the post-secondary level for over 15 years; most recently, he’s taught courses in educational administration and leadership for aspiring principals and superintendents, and courses focusing on Indigenous teacher education. Read More →
Elder Mae Louise Campbell, currently approaching her tenth year as an Elder in Residence at Red River College, is among the 20 members of the City of Winnipeg’s newly-struck Mayor’s Indigenous Advisory Circle (MIAC).
Campbell (shown above, with Mayor Brian Bowman) was present at a press conference yesterday in which Bowman officially debuted the new Circle, explaining its members will advise the city on policies aimed at building awareness, bridges and understanding between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.
“The circle is a symbol of unity,” Bowman said. “To create unity and equality, we must build understanding. Through MIAC, much of the important work building strong bridges in our community will continue.”
Wab Kinew, local broadcaster and Associate Vice-president for Indigenous Relations at the University of Winnipeg, will serve as chair of MIAC.
“I’m looking forward to working with the mayor to advance the project of reconciliation,” Kinew said. “I look forward to ushering in an era when First Nations, Metis and Inuit cultures are celebrated by all Winnipeggers.”
An initiative determined through the hundreds of submissions received through Bowman’s website 1winnipeg.ca, MIAC was created to help “establish a means to educate and create awareness of the rich Aboriginal culture, people and heritage that are at the roots of the city and nation,” according to a city press release. Read More →
A group of Red River College employees are taking back-to-school season quite literally this year — having returned to the classroom to take part in a new degree program for staff.
The College recently entered into a memorandum of understanding with the University of Winnipeg, to offer RRC employees a Bachelor of Arts degree in Indigenous Studies.
The program is being delivered through a part-time cohort model over six years, making it perfect for employees seeking a meaningful degree with a flexible delivery schedule. Content was developed and is currently being delivered by Dr. Julie Pelletier, Chair of Indigenous Studies at UWinnipeg.
“If it weren’t for flexible scheduling during my own studies, I wouldn’t have been able to pursue higher education,” says Pelletier. “UWinnipeg and the Department of Indigenous Studies so value our relationship with RRC, and this approach gives us another opportunity to work together.”
The degree will provide students with a holistic background in the field of Indigenous Studies, with a particular focus on Canadian contexts, as examined through multi-disciplinary coursework.
“We can all benefit from exploring indigenous ways of knowing,” says April Krahn, Director of Aboriginal Student Support & Community Relations at RRC. “As members of the RRC community, our enhanced knowledge and cultural competence informs how we view ourselves and others. In our work, it impacts how we develop and deliver services, programs and educational instruction, and how we form and maintain our working relationships with colleagues and with students.”
The program’s first cohort comprises 25 students — 22 from RRC and three from the community. Of those, 13 are self-declared Aboriginal students.
“This is an important number to celebrate, as we collectively search for new initiatives by which to increase Aboriginal advancement through education and inclusion,” says Krahn.
Red River College’s Aboriginal Student Support & Community Relations team will host a Welcoming Celebration for students on Thursday, September 4, from 11:15am to 1pm, at the Notre Dame Campus.
Students have a lot on their minds when going back to school — like housing, buying textbooks, and just finding their way around campus. The Welcoming Celebration offers a break from it all — complete with a free lunch and the chance to meet other students while being entertained by comedian Don Burnstick.
Date: Thursday, September 4, 2014
Time: Doors open at 11:15am; Don Burnstick’s comedy show starts at noon
Place: F209, Aboriginal Support Centre (Notre Dame Campus)
For more information, please call 204.632.3773.
Aboriginal students from the Interlake marked some high-voltage achievements in the latest regional offering of Red River College’s Pre-Employment Electrical program, netting a combined average grade of 89.24% in classes delivered at the Peguis – Fisher River Campus.
The 10 students — eight young men, and two young women — celebrated their success at a special celebration on Wed., July 30 in Peguis.
The five-month Pre-Employment Electrical certificate program develops the knowledge and skills required for employment in the electrical field, including fundamentals of electricity, electrical codes, wiring practices, and trade safety awareness.
The program is made possible through funding from Apprenticeship Manitoba, and creates a terrific opportunity for students with no previous experience to become apprentice electricians.
“Red River College’s community partnerships prove to be invaluable,” says Darlene Bouvier, Manager of RRC’s Interlake Campuses. “As part of our community strategic planning, the Peguis – Fisher River Campus is providing preparatory courses prior to program delivery, that engage students in building self-esteem, while facilitating teamwork and providing participants with the essential skills and knowledge necessary for continued learning success.”
For more information on RRC programs and services in the Interlake, including at the Peguis – Fisher River Campus, call 1.204.785.5328 (toll-free 1.866.946.3241) or visit rrc.ca/interlake.
Career-camp season is already in full swing at Red River College’s Winnipeg campuses, where middle-schoolers are broadening their horizons through summer sessions on trades, technology and the culinary arts.
Now RRC’s Portage Campus has unveiled plans to extend the season a little longer, announcing the launch of a new trades camp for Aboriginal youth that makes its debut next month.
This August, Portage Campus hosts its inaugural Trades Exploration (Tr.Ex.) camps for kids in Grades 6-8, offering a fun and informative five-day mix of trades-based learning, culture and recreation.
“The Portage Campus is very excited to be delivering their first-ever Tr.Ex. camp in partnership with Apprenticeship Manitoba,” says Lori-Ann Grenkow, RRC’s Interim Director, Regional Services. “Camp participants will have fun exploring three skilled trades areas: Carpentry, Chef/Cook and Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. In addition, they’ll have a great time participating in a variety of recreational activities and crafts, and learning about traditional Aboriginal teachings.”
Participants can take their pick of two sessions this summer — the first runs Aug. 18-22, the second from Aug. 25-29. Both are open to status, non-status and Métis youth, and both are free of charge (though a refundable $50 deposit is required to register).
Each camp can accommodate up to 16 participants. Programming will be coordinated by Portage Campus staff, with the help of two newly-hired camp assistants who’ll complement their efforts. Read More →