St.Clair College president Patti France and Aboriginal leaders sign the Indigenous Education Protocol, September 22, 2015. (Photo by Adelle Loiselle)

College Signs Indigenous Education Protocol (Gallery)

St.Clair College is the latest post-secondary institution in Ontario to sign the Indigenous Education Protocol.

College president Patti France and aboriginal leaders, including Caldwell First Nation Chief Louise Hillier and Bernita Brigham-Jacobs of the Bkejwanong Territory on the Walpole Island First Nation, signed the document.

It includes seven principles including “Implementing intellectual and cultural traditions of Indigenous peoples through curriculum and learning approaches”, and a commitment to hire more Indigenous employees including senior administrators.

Work on the protocol picked up last summer, and France says it’s the next logical step for the college.

“We currently have aboriginal centres at our Windsor and Chatham campuses. We have an Aboriginal counsellor that spends time on all of our campuses. We just added an aboriginal or indigenous learning advisor onto our team.”

Vice-chair of the Provisional Council of the Metis Nation of Ontario, Sharon McBride hopes it’ll begin to address gaps in education for Canada’s aboriginal population.

“Gaps still exist between Metis learners and the general population,” says McBride. “We need to continue work to ensure Metis learners can see their communities and culture reflected within post-secondary institutions.”

The protocol was signed during an elaborate ceremony at the college’s main campus in Windsor. Students at the Chatham campus were encouraged to watch the ceremony via Skype.