College of the Rockies serves the communities of the East Kootenays. All of the College's campuses are located in the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa people which is also home to the Kinbasket people. Five First Nations bands are located in the regional boundary of the College: Four of which are Ktunaxa and one is Shuswap. Additionally, the College partners with the Kootenay Regional Office of the Métis Nation, BC.
We are thankful for all our Indigenous partners and are constantly seeking new ways to support the development of our community.
Creating opportunities for our students to feel supported, safe, included in curriculum, classrooms, and student life is important to us. Providing opportunities for our students to share their cultures and traditions is an excellent way for us to learn as well. The Indigenous Education Department offer Elder support, meals, knowledge sharing gatherings and traditional crafts.
College of the Rockies has affirmed its partnership and commitment to education for each of the Indigenous groups served within our region by signing the Indigenous Education Protocol for Colleges and Institutes (IEP).
The protocol agreement outlines principles to ensure that College of the Rockies continues to make Indigenous education a priority! All Indigenous students will gain opportunities to achieve their greatest educational success as the College follows through on the commitments in the IEP.
In partnership with KNC Education and Employment we host career fairs. Students from high school and middle school are able to learn about various program areas to get an interactive and experiential opportunity to explore various education and career pathways.
Prior to our Convocation Ceremony the College hosts an annual Honouring Ceremony for all of our Indigenous students which includes a feast and a traditional honouring ceremony led by Ktunaxa Nation leaders and Elders to honour their educational successes. This provides the opportunity to celebrate our students’ commitment to their education.
Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement
On National Aboriginal Day 2017, we gathered with community members, leaders, elders and education partners to sign the updated school districts' Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement at the Tobacco Plains arbour. As a result of this agreement we meet 3 times a year and discuss how we are meeting the agreement. Our focus is on easing the transition and building relationships with Indigenous students into post secondary. We have SD5 Indigenous student activities often being hosted at the Aboriginal Gathering Place and we have spent a lot of time meeting with individual Indigenous students and groups to provide them with information and academic advising to support their transition to College of the Rockies.
Indigenous Language Revitalization
The College is supportive of all traditional languages. We currently offer language courses in Ktunaxa and have also hosted shorter workshops.
Aboriginal Gathering Place (AGP) Lower Level
The lower AGP is designed as a student lounge and is a busy place. You are welcome to use this space to complete your school work, visit, seek support, and enjoy a meal. Check the college portal, the Events Calendar, or our Facebook page for dates and times.
Orange Shirt Day
Orange Shirt Day is well supported at the College with activities designed to remember Residential School Survivors. Shirt sales raise funds for the KNC Traditional Knowledge and Language Sector. Orange Shirt Day brings awareness that every child matters and is an acknowledgement of Indigenous people who survived and were lost to the residential school system.
We have two Ktunaxa Elders in Residence on-site at designated times and events, as well as numerous knowledge holders who can join our students in their programs and classes, sharing their wisdom and knowledge.
Jo Ann Smith