February 8, 2016
Ontario Helping to Expand Postsecondary Options for Indigenous Students
Ontario is helping to improve access to culturally appropriate postsecondary education and training opportunities for Indigenous learners by making it possible for Six Nations Polytechnic, an Aboriginal Institute, to offer a standalone degree program.
For the first time, the province will make it possible for an Aboriginal Institute, an organization that is run and governed by Indigenous communities, to offer a standalone degree program. As of January 2016, students at Six Nations Polytechnic Aboriginal Institute in Ohsweken can obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ogwehoweh (Cayuga and Mohawk) Languages.
This degree will help promote and protect Ogwehoweh languages and make it possible for students to complete their degree at one institution, closer to home. It also will help students build on their linguistic skills and cultural knowledge as well as expand their opportunities to participate in the labour market. This standalone degree also supports the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which called for postsecondary institutions to create degree programs in Indigenous languages.
Investing in the talent and skills of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit learners is one of many steps on Ontario’s journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. It reflects the government’s commitment to work with Indigenous partners, creating a better future for everyone in the province.
- Aboriginal Institutes provide opportunities for students to start and complete postsecondary education credentials in a culturally appropriate and safe learning environments close to home and are completely run and governed by Indigenous communities.
- The Ogwehoweh (Cayuga and Mohawk) Languages degree builds on the strong foundation of the current language diploma program offered in partnership with McMaster University.
- Six Nations Polytechnic is an Aboriginal postsecondary education and training institute located in Ohsweken, a community on Six Nations of the Grand River Territory near Brantford, Ontario.
- Six Nations Polytechnic applied for and was granted consent to offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ogwehoweh (Cayuga and Mohawk) Languages.
- Ontario provides $1.5 million in annual funding through the Aboriginal Student Bursary Fund to help Indigenous learners with financial needs participate in postsecondary education and training.
- In June 2015 the province committed stable funding of Indigenous postsecondary education totaling $97 million over three years, including an additional $5 million to support the sustainability of Ontario’s nine Indigenous-owned and operated postsecondary education and training institutes located throughout the province. In 2013-14, about 16,036 self-identified Indigenous learners attended college and university in Ontario, an increase of about nine per cent or 1,472 learners since 2009-10.
“Our government has made a clear commitment to learn from the past, build on our success stories, and increase our efforts to help Indigenous learners get the education and training they need. Six Nations Polytechnic is committed to creating an Indigenous environment that is grounded in culture and community, language, research, and academic quality, and this new degree program will help improve Indigenous learners’ access to, participation in, and completion of postsecondary education and training programs in Ontario.”~ Reza Moridi, Minister of Training Colleges and Universities
“I want to thank Six Nations Polytechnic for the leadership and guidance they have provided. Today’s announcement provides a tangible illustration of Ontario’s journey along the path of reconciliation. We will continue to rely on Indigenous partners as we chart a way forward that will produce tangible results.”~David Zimmer, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs
“Language preservation and protection are at the core values of Six Nations Polytechnic. That’s why we have always had the intention of having our Ogwehoweh Language Diploma Program become a language degree program.”~Rebecca Jamieson, President Six Nations Polytechnic
“Congratulations to Rebecca and her entire team. They have worked tirelessly to bring about the expansion of Six Nations Polytechnic programming. Education is the cornerstone of the future successes of our local Indigenous students.”~Dave Levac, Member of Provincial Parliament, Brant