Indigenous Education

Elder Mae Louise Campbell earns national award for cultural contributions

September 22, 2015

May Louise HeadshotIf 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.

Dr. Mark Aquash appointed new Dean of Indigenous Education and Community Relations

July 28, 2015

MarkAquash-0826-webRed 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 →

Longtime RRC Elder in Residence appointed to Mayor’s Indigenous Advisory Circle

June 22, 2015

MIAC June 2015Elder 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, 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 →

RRC and U of W launch new Indigenous Studies degree for staff

September 26, 2014

Indigenous Studies 2014A 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.

Welcoming Celebration for RRC students: Thursday, Sept. 4

August 21, 2014

Welcoming PartyRed 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.

Peguis Pre-Electrical grads celebrate high-voltage success

August 6, 2014

PeguisAboriginal 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

Portage Campus to host new skilled trades camp for Aboriginal youth

July 17, 2014

10727138914_e8b5e794d3_bCareer-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 →

RRC offers summer camps, work experience co-ops to connect youth to careers in skilled trades

June 10, 2014

From left: Apprenticeship and Certification Board Chair Leonard Harapiak; Minister of Jobs and the Economy Minister Theresa Oswald; RRC alum Nina Widmer (Bricklaying Apprentice); Reg Toews, Coordinator, Red River Technical Vocational Area High School Apprenticeship Program; RRC President Stephanie Forsyth.

More than 230 youth will gain awareness and exposure to the skilled trades through the province’s new Building for Tomorrow summer program – a series of educational camps and work experience programs delivered by Red River College and a network of other business, community and educational partners

"This summer, many of our children will have new opportunities to have fun while learning about a potential future career in various trades, including construction and transportation, trade and technology, hospitality and the culinary arts," said Jobs and the Economy Minister Theresa Oswald. "Our government is focused on helping families and youth in exploring the many paths to good jobs and rewarding careers right here in Manitoba, and starting that conversation while kids are still in school."

The province will support more than a dozen new camps during the summer, including RRC’s Girls Exploring the Trades and Technology (GETT) camps, which gives girls aged 12 to 14 the opportunity to design and build their own go-carts, while learning about the importance of science, math and industrial arts-based courses in high school.

Other camps include:

  • RRC’s Portage Campus will offer two one-week programs, introducing 32 Aboriginal youth (Grades 6 to 8) to various skilled trades; Assiniboine Community College will offer 15 participants introductory experiences in carpentry or culinary arts.
  • Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport and Recreation Association Inc., in partnership with RRC, will offer 15 Aboriginal youths (Grades 9 and 10) with opportunities to experience different trades, with a special focus on the culinary trades, while learning about the apprenticeship training model; participants will receive certified food-handler training and workplace hazard information system training.
  • University College of the North will provide 80 Aboriginal youth in Flin Flon with the basic skills needed for a successful career in the skilled trades.
  • Career Trek Inc., in partnership with the Manitoba Construction Sector Council and Winnipeg Technical College, will provide 24 Grade 9 youth with exposure to the carpentry trade.

Read More →

RRC signs new agreement benefiting Métis students in Manitoba

May 23, 2014
From left: Levinia Brown, RRC elder-in-residence; RRC President Stephanie Forsyth; MMF President David Chartrand; Joan Ledoux, Minister of Education, Louis Riel Institute.

From left: Levinia Brown, RRC elder-in-residence; RRC President Stephanie Forsyth; MMF President David Chartrand; Joan Ledoux, Minister of Education, Louis Riel Institute.

As part of its commitment to improving opportunities and outcomes for Métis people in Manitoba, Red River College has entered into a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Manitoba Metis Federation and Louis Riel Institute.

Signed this morning at RRC’s Roblin Centre, the new MOU creates a joint working group with representation from all three organizations — one that focuses on education, business and growing industry partnerships to increase economic prospects for Manitoba’s Métis populations.

In addition, a new $400,000 bursary for Métis students was announced — one made possible through matching $200,000 investments by the MMF and RRC.

“[Today] signals an extremely satisfying phase of accomplishments for Red River College,” says RRC President Stephanie Forsyth. “Driven by the mission of the College and that of our Strategic Plan, [this] announcement reflects our goal of serving the educational needs of Aboriginal students.”

“The collective efforts of those involved … will benefit Métis people in Manitoba [by] improving access to training and employment opportunities,” says David Chartrand, President of the Manitoba Metis Federation. “We applaud Red River College for their leadership and contributions towards today’s announcement.”

Your future is 'trending' at the 2014 Rotary Career Symposium

March 17, 2014


Join us at the 2014 Rotary Career Symposium, taking place Tuesday, March 18 and Wednesday, March 19 at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg.

Explore the hundreds of full- and part-time degree, diploma and certificate programs available at RRC. Instructors and academic advisors will be on hand to answer questions and provide insight on the many career and educational options awaiting RRC students.

Billed as the largest and most comprehensive career symposium in Canada, the Rotary event runs 9am-3pm and 6-9pm on Tuesday, and 9am-3pm on Wednesday.

This year's theme is "Your Future Trending"; click here for more information, including exhibitor and speaker lists, and registration forms.

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