The University of British Columbia greets with great interest today’s announcement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister Bernard Valcourt and Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo on the dedication of additional federal government resources for First Nations’ education.
The allocation of additional funding and the commitments to escalated funding and First Nations control are important factors in fostering a stable system that can reflect the unique diversity and range of K-12 education delivery throughout the country.
“UBC has a strong commitment to Aboriginal education at all levels,” says Professor Linc Kesler, senior advisor to the President on Aboriginal Affairs. “We recognize that progress depends on strong collaborative relations with First Nations, Aboriginal organizations, and educators. In British Columbia, where considerable progress has been made in recent years, we look forward to ongoing engagement with our community partners as further details follow this announcement.”
Canada’s young Indigenous population is growing rapidly and many are making remarkable contributions as leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists, professionals, critical thinkers, and educators. By improving K-12 education outcomes for First Nation students we are working to ensure that all First Nations, Métis and Inuit students can achieve educational success and have the potential to have a positive impact on communities, provinces and our country.
UBC and Aboriginal education In Place and Promise, UBC’s official strategic plan, the University has made a strong commitment to Aboriginal education and engagement. This includes an Aboriginal Strategic Plan and related initiatives to integrate understandings of Indigenous cultures and histories into its curriculum and operations. Further, the University acknowledges that the Vancouver and Kelowna campuses sit on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded lands of the Musqueam First Nation and Okanagan Nation. The University offers a variety of programs and courses focused on Aboriginal communities and topics. These include Canada’s oldest Aboriginal law program, an Aboriginal residency program for medical students, the First Nations Languages Program, and the interdisciplinary First Nations Studies Program. Over the past 39 years, the Indigenous Teacher Education Program NITEP has graduated more than 360 students who have gone on to successful careers as teachers, administrators, and other highly valued positions in Aboriginal education. Further, the University has partnered with Langara College on the innovative Aboriginal Transfer Program, which includes guaranteed admissions to UBC Faculty of Arts, scholarships and awards, and student community development. The University also offers the First Nations Longhouse to serve as a home away from home for UBC Aboriginal students, where they can study and learn in a surrounding that respects Aboriginal cultures and traditions. For more information, visit: http://aboriginal.ubc.ca/