THUNDER BAY – June 29, 2021: Thunder Bay's Confederation College, and Toronto's Humber College and Seneca are collaborating to develop an Indigenous Leadership degree program.
The inspiration for the new program is the institutions' collective response to the continued, critical need to advance Indigenous learning and contribute to a process of decolonization and reconciliation.
Designed to restore and revitalize customary Indigenous leadership, the proposed degree program will prepare graduates to build capacity in community, economic, social and cultural development.
Content for this degree will be informed by an Indigenous Leadership degree program established by Confederation College in the early 2000s. Curriculum will be based on Indigenous Knowledge, customs and practices reflective of the diverse Nations in northwestern Ontario, central and southern Ontario.
It will be jointly designed, developed and offered by the three institutions in a partnership founded on Indigenous principles of relationship building, sharing and respectful, reciprocal engagement.
The collaboration outlined through a signed Letter of Intent will address shared priorities of creating learning opportunities that are accessible, flexible and responsive to the needs of Indigenous students and their communities.
Partners will engage Indigenous Peoples and communities throughout the program's development with the goal of understanding their priorities, interests and aspirations. Confederation, Humber and Seneca will begin work immediately to develop the degree program, with the goal of having it ready for approval by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities in winter 2023.
Once developed, curriculum and related materials will be made available to any publicly-funded college interested in adapting and delivering all components. It is also anticipated that the degree will facilitate new pathways for Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners.
"Confederation College is pleased to partner with institutions who share our vision of breaking down systemic barriers to create a better future for us all," said Kathleen Lynch, President, Confederation College.
"Confederation was the only college to offer an Indigenous-specific degree program in Ontario when it first introduced the 'Indigenous Leadership and Community Development' program in 2003," said S. Brenda Small, Vice President, Negahneewin Research Centre, Confederation College. "The revitalization of this program symbolizes hope for our communities and indeed, all of Canada. Together with Humber and Seneca, we are taking concrete action to preserve Indigenous Knowledges and ways of knowing, while supporting Indigenous Peoples and communities to practice self-determination."