Image shows two women smiling outside College of the Rockies' Aboriginal Gathering Place

Ki’suk kyukyit (Greetings)

June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day, a day for Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and valued contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people. National Indigenous People’s Day is held on the summer solstice as acknowledgement of the many generations of Indigenous people and communities who have celebrated their culture and heritage on or around the longest day of the year.

At College of the Rockies, we are honoured that our campuses are located in the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa people, which is also home to the Kinbasket people. Five First Nation bands are located within our College region – four of which are Ktunaxa, and one Shuswap. We also partner with the Kootenay Regional Office of the Mètis Nation, BC.

The College is committed to creating opportunities for our students to feel supported, safe, and included in curriculum, and to allow Indigenous students to share their cultures and traditions as a way for us to learn as well.

The Indigenous team at College of the Rockies works closely with representatives from the Ktunaxa Nation Council Education and Employment Sector to help make the College experience an enjoyable and successful one for our Indigenous students.

Team members include:
Karen Smith – Director of Indigenous Strategy & Reconciliation (right in photo)
Jo Anne Smith – Indigenous Education Coordinator and Advisor (left in photo)
Taryn Kuhne – Indigenous Student Navigator

These team members work alongside Resident Elders and student mentors to provide a variety of services, including: helping with funding and program applications, education advising, advocacy, referrals to resources and services, hosting of cultural events and gatherings, and more.

Interested in learning more about your Indigenous neighbours and how to have a better conversation in the age of Truth and Reconciliation? We are proud to offer a unique, online course that can be taken from the comfort of your own home. KTUN 100 – Introduction to the Ktunaxa People provides an opportunity for you to learn about the Ktunaxa people, directly from the Ktunaxa people. Nation elders, fluent speakers, and other cultural consultants all participated in the development of this course, which includes video of Ktunaxa people discussing their culture and experiences in their own words.

For those interested in taking their knowledge of the Ktunaxa people even further, the College also offers two Ktunaxa language courses: KTUN-101: Introduction to Ktunaxa Language, and KTUN-102: Basic Ktunaxa Language.

Whether you take a course at the College, read books by Indigenous authors, watch a move from an Indigenous director, or conduct your own personal research, we encourage you to learn more about Canada’s Indigenous peoples.

Photo: Jo Ann Smith (left) and Karen Smith (right). File image from 2019.