COTR launching Indigenous Advisory Committee

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Image shows group of people sitting inside a building with one person speaking
Paul Vogt, College of the Rockies’ president (centre) and Dana Wesley, Executive Director Indigenous Strategy and Reconciliation (to Paul’s right) led an Indigenous Advisory Feedback Circle in March as they plan for the Indigenous Advisory Committee’s work this fall.

Committee will be comprised of College representatives and Indigenous partners

College of the Rockies, in partnership with their Indigenous partners, including First Nations, Métis Chartered Communities, and the Ktunaxa Nation Council, is launching an Indigenous Advisory Committee.

“This collaboration with our Indigenous partners is part of the College’s ongoing commitment to genuine reconciliation with Indigenous communities in our region,” said Dana Wesley, Executive Director Indigenous Strategy and Reconciliation. “We currently engage closely with Indigenous partners in various ways, but this Advisory Committee will provide a strategic platform for our Indigenous partners to advocate for their educational needs.”

The Indigenous Advisory Committee will incorporate a Distinctions Based Approach, acknowledging the specific rights, interests, priorities, and concerns of each, while respecting and acknowledging these distinct Peoples with unique cultures, histories, rights, laws, and governments.

“It is so important for all students of First Nations ancestry to have a sense of belonging in their educational setting,” said Chief Barbara Cote, Shuswap Band. “Having the positive supports in the College helps them to discover more about themselves and to achieve their goals in education for their future independence.”

An Indigenous Advisory Feedback Circle took place in March 2024 at yaqakiǂ ʔit̓qawxaxamki (the Place Where People Gather) at the Cranbrook campus. Led by College President Paul Vogt and Dana Wesley, the group held meaningful conversations on how to apply an innovative, people-centred, evidence-informed practice to the Advisory Committee and listened to the recommendations made by Indigenous partners on how to move forward. The discussion was beautifully captured through a real-time graphic recording by Lisa Gates from Insightful Ink.

Much like Chief Cote from the Shuswap Band, the Ktunaxa Nation Council and the Rocky Mountain Métis Association are looking forward to collaborating with the other partners on this important committee.

“On behalf of the Ktunaxa Nation Council, I look forward to engaging with the College of the Rockies and partners throughout Ktunaxa ʔamakʔis,” said Eric Einarson, Director of Education and Employment, Ktunaxa Nation Council.  “I am pleased to be continuing discussions and dialogue as we travel together on the path of Reconciliation.”

“As a Métis Nation British Colombia (MNBC) Charter Community, Rocky Mountain Métis Association (RMMA) is pleased to work with Ktunaxa and other First Nations and College of the Rockies to establish good relations in ways that honour and strengthen the educational needs of Ktunaxa and other First Nations, uphold our own and provide all Indigenous students with access to education at COTR as distinct Indigenous peoples,” said Jeff Crozier, RMMA President.

A Terms of Reference for the Committee will be crafted over the spring and summer months and unveiled during the inaugural meeting in fall 2024, marking the launch of the committee’s activities.

“We look forward to maintaining our close collaboration with our Indigenous partners as we progress on our path toward truth and reconciliation,” Wesley said.

See a copy of the Making Space for Indigenous Voices at College of the Rockies document, including the graphic recording, at: cotr.ca/indigenous-ed/ and click on Indigenization Initiatives.


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.

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Heather Jackson
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College of the Rockies