Students, including First Nation, Metis and Inuit (FNMI) will now have access to an Indigenous student support specialist at Medicine Hat College (MHC).
This newly created position is in response to the institutions commitment to indigenous education, as well as a means to support the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada’s findings.
“In the spring of 2015, we signed the Indigenous Education Protocol [an agreement through Colleges and Institutes Canada], which affirmed our commitment to making indigenous education a priority,” says Irlanda Price, associate vice-president of student development. “We are excited to have a position on campus that will support FNMI students and help us achieve some of the call to actions put forth in the TRC.”
Kristen Jordan, who was recently appointed to the role explains that she is optimistic about the potential the position has.
“We are here to provide support to FNMI students. That support can range from helping them transition into college and find funding, to accessing career and employment counseling and referring them to other services,” says Jordan. “We want our students to be a critical part of helping to build this office, which includes hearing what they think our strengths are as an institution and where our challenges exist.”
Jordan stresses however, that her role is all-inclusive and branches into various departments throughout the college.
“One of our priorities is to raise awareness amongst all students, staff and faculty about the FNMI culture and to answer any questions that they might have. We have already been working with departments like financial aid, recruitment and student services to see how we can better support these students and bring them to MHC,” says Jordan. “We have also started to meet with instructors to help them implement indigenous teaching and awareness into their classrooms.”
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