Northern Lakes College responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action

(June 2017) – Northern Lakes College is taking an active leadership role by hosting cultural awareness training for staff, students and the general public. On June 8, 2017, Northern Lakes College (NLC) hosted the workshop “Residential Schools, The History and Its Effects on Indigenous Peoples” at the Slave Lake Campus.

The workshop was facilitated by Ms. Charlene Bearhead, who is a mother, grandmother, community member, experienced educator and education innovator with 30 years of regional, national and international experience in the field. She currently serves as the co-chair of the Downie-Wenjack Fund Board of Directors and is a member of the Pathways to Education Canada Indigenous Education Advisory Circle. Most recently Ms. Charlene Bearhead served as the first Education Lead for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba and is currently working with the Alberta Joint Commitment to Action: Education for Reconciliation.

Photo: (L to R) Louis Bellerose, Elder and Charlene Bearhead, Facilitator. (Photo Supplied)

The Residential School workshop at NLC was opened with a prayer by local Elder Louis Bellerose and his niece Fern Welch. Ms. Bearhead who facilitated the workshop said, “I am not an expert. I am a person with one lived experience, my own. Today we will learn together.” She encouraged the audience to ask questions, tell their own stories or add information which made the workshop interactive. Ms. Bearhead’s hopes are that people will actively engage in the reconciliation process and educate each other on the collective history of Canada to support and facilitate the building of positive and respectful relationships between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal people in Canada.

Northern Lakes College continues to demonstrate a commitment to local Indigenous cultures through the ongoing operation of the Native Cultural Arts Museum located at the Grouard Campus as well as hosting two major annual events, the Metis Celebration and the Round Dance. These events bring the region together to celebrate Indigenous cultures and recognize the significant role of the Indigenous peoples from the area.

Northern Lakes College is a multi-campus college located in northern Alberta and is focused on providing relevant, quality programs through a distributed learning model, serving over 6,000 students annually. NLC offers a wide range of certificate and diploma programs in Business, Health Sciences and Allied Health, Human Services, Technology, Trades, University Studies and Academic Upgrading to meet regional needs.The College collaborates with Campus Alberta partners to offer degree completion opportunities throughout its service region, including a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Social Work.

Northern Lakes College also provides a wide variety of professional accreditation and certificate programs through its Continuing Education and Corporate Training Department. Northern Lakes College houses the Woodland Operations Learning Foundation (WOLF) to provide Forestry and related post-secondary and professional development programs.

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