North Island College is being recognized once again this year for its Indigenous-serving international education program.
The Office of Indigenous Education (OIE) and the Office of Global Engagement (OGE) at North Island College have been chosen as the recipient of this year’s national Reconciliation & Internationalization Award of Excellence by the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) for the College’s plan, Journeying Together.
This award recognizes leadership and initiative in advancing reconciliation with Indigenous communities through international education on campus.
“Guidance from diverse Indigenous-community partners globally provides rich perspectives on what it means to be Indigenous-serving. These partnerships facilitate exchange of ideas, experiences and mutual support with the aim to advance a sense of solidarity among Indigenous communities and like-minded institutions worldwide,” said Mark Herringer, executive director, international education, Office of Global Engagement. “Implementation of Journeying Together truly needs to be centred on the journey rather than the destination, as we transform international education from a process founded in colonial principles to one guided by the knowledge, cultural traditions and aspirations of Indigenous communities.”
Partnerships make this work possible. One such partnership to which NIC owes a great debt of gratitude is with Nawa’a Napolean, vice-chancellor of Kapi’olani Community College, and the Hawaiian community. Their support has been pivotal in developing the concept of what it means to be Indigenous-serving and in delivering the Indigenous Language Revitalization Field School.
The CBIE Excellence Awards were given at this year’s CBIE Annual Conference during an in-person ceremony and reception Nov. 28 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
In attendance from NIC were president Lisa Domae, team members of the OGE and OIE including Elders in Residence Fernanda Pare (K’ómoks) and June Johnson (We Wei Kai). Indigenous learning facilitator Sara Child (Kwaguł), one of the architects of the plan, was unable to attend. CBIE is the national voice advancing Canadian international education by creating and mobilizing expertise, knowledge, opportunity and leadership.
Earlier this year, Journeying Together was honoured with an award at the College and Institutes Canada World Congress. In April in Montréal, the College and Institutes Canada World Congress gave NIC a bronze award.
The vision of the plan to weave Indigenization with international education is rooted in North Island College’s collective commitment to become an Indigenous-serving institution. The goal, as outlined in the plan, is to leave a legacy of hope that aligns with the beliefs and aspirations of the Indigenous people and the communities they serve.
“We are responsible for fulfilling the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action,” said Lisa Domae, NIC president and CEO. “This responsibility is deeply meaningful to all of us at NIC and throughout the communities we serve. Journeying Together is an important element of fulfilling this profound responsibility.”
NIC’s plan is considered the first of its kind in Canada. It was developed starting at a symposium in 2022 with guidance from NIC Elders, Indigenous community members on the Indigenous Education Council at NIC, which includes representatives from 35 Nations of the Nuu-chah-nulth, Coast Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw traditions, and Indigenous leaders within NIC.
“Our Elders have really enjoyed the opportunity to engage deeper with incoming international students and to ensure that part of their experience here at NIC is learning about the unceded territories, the nations, the people, the culture, the languages,” said Kelly Shopland, NIC executive director, Indigenous education. “I hear often from our Elders how lovely it is to see international students out in the community and to know them by name and to have really had those opportunities to engage in a more meaningful way.”
To watch a video about Journeying Together, see our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0SdFngWTrc.