College of the Rockies hosting Indigenous Speaker Series

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Indigenous cultures and reconciliation are focus of the virtual series

College of the Rockies will be recognizing National Indigenous History Month in June with virtual presentations by three esteemed Indigenous speakers: Alfred Joseph, Michele A. Sam, and Marlin Ratch.

National Indigenous History Month was established in 2009 to honour the history, heritage, and diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada, and to recognize the strength of present-day Indigenous communities.

“We look forward to this opportunity to learn from the insights and perspectives Alfred, Michele, and Marlin will bring to this Speaker Series,” said Robin Hicks, Vice President, Academic.

Each presentation will be viewable online, free of charge. Details and pre-registration, can be found on the College’s website.



Alfred Joseph
June 2, 2:00 p.m.

Joseph, a Ktunaxa Elder, will lead a unique conversation about reconciliation. Born in Invermere, Joseph lived his entire life in the region. He attended the St. Eugene Residential School before going on to complete middle and high school in Cranbrook. After graduating in 1970, he completed Olds Agricultural College’s Livestock Production Technology program before returning to the region. He began working for the Reserve community in 1971 and was elected onto Band Council, holding the position of chief several times. For the past 10 years, Joseph has lived in his community and is involved in the preservation of the Ktunaxa language.





Michele Sam
June 7, 11:00 a.m.

Sam, who has who has familial ties across all six Ktunaxa/Ksanka communities will explore the Indigenous peoples’ intellectual sovereignty and cognitive justice issues inherent in ‘indigenizing’ and ‘decolonizing’ approaches, from a Ktunaxa perspective, according to Ktunaxa knowledge systems, relationships, and roles and structures as she experiences them. A member of ʔaq̓am, Sam returned home to the Ktunaxa homelands as a survivor of the 60s scoop. She has earned graduate and undergraduate degrees in Social Work, English Literature, and Indigenous Learning and is working toward a PhD with a focus on Indigenous Peoples’ place-based reattachment to landscapes and waterways in light of intergenerational trauma and stress. Sam was elected to the Native Courtworkers and Counselling Association of BC’s Board and sits as the vice-president of the Executive Committee and the Governance Committee.




Marlin Ratch
 June 15, 6:30 p.m.

Ratch, a citizen of the Métis Nation and Red Seal Chef, Career Counsellor, and Apprenticeship Specialist will discuss Métis culture, traditions, and history and explore how the Métis people are unique from First Nations and Inuit people. Ratch has been involved in the cultural, political, and operations of the Métis Nation BC since 1995, first as a career counsellor and as the community’s executive assistant. He worked his way up to the top job of provincial director while simultaneously holding the role of manager of the Métis Skills Employment Centre trade school. For the past seven years, he has been employed as an Apprenticeship Advisor with the Industry Training Authority while remaining a volunteer in the Métis community as president and secretary/treasurer.



About College of the Rockies

For more than 45 years, College of the Rockies has provided post-secondary education that meets the needs and aspirations of the people, industry and businesses of our region. Each year, we welcome more than 10,000 full-time and part-time students into a full range of programs, including: skilled trades, university studies, adult upgrading, early childhood education, health and human services, business, office administration, tourism, hospitality, recreation, fire services, continuing education and contract training. Through smaller class sizes, highly-personalized instruction and dedicated support services, our students are primed to succeed in the job market, or in the next stage of their academic journey.

Media Contact:
Deborah Carty
Vice President, External Relations
College of the Rockies