Aboriginal Curriculum

As part of NIC’s commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, NIC continues to work closely with Regional Aboriginal Advisory Committees and the Aboriginal Education Council to develop programs, courses and research opportunities informed by Aboriginal ways of knowing and being.



Develop listening techniques as you compare and contrast Nuu‑chah‑nulth and English sound patterns and pronunciation. Learn words, phrases and greetings to communicate in the home, the classroom and with elders. Take part in sentence building exercises and access electronic learning resources for self-practice. To register for these courses, apply to NIC’s Adult Basic Education program or contact an Educational Advisor for support. To learn more, view full Nuu-chah-nulth course descriptions.


Discover the connection between language and the Kwakwaka’wakw people with Introduction to Kwak’wala I and II. Learn basic conversation, structure and pronunciation in an immersion setting with a focus on listening and speaking, covering a wide variety of themes, giving insight to how Kwak’wala is essential to who the Kwakwaka’wakw are. To register for these courses, apply to NIC’s Adult Basic Education program or contact an Educational Advisor for support. View full Kwak’wala course descriptions.

Awi’nakola Land-based Learning

Study Kwak’wala, learn culture and language from local elders, while upgrading English and math. This pilot Adult Basic Education program was developed in response to the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

First Nations Student Skills I, II

Focused on skill development for First Nations students, topics include goal setting, time management, personal growth and development, stress management, study skills and more, with an emphasis on the development of group and individual support systems. View full First Nations Student Skills course descriptions.

Indigenous Literature

NIC offers courses for students to explore English while incorporating Indigenous perspectives. The goal of these courses is to increase students’ awareness and knowledge of Canada’s history and its lasting impacts. These courses also incorporate Indigenous teaching styles, focusing on holistic learning.

Study university-level research and writing, with a focus on contemporary Indigenous issues in Canada in Essay Writing and Indigenous Perspective (ENG-116) and explore Indigenous literatures with emphasis on their historical, political and cultural contexts in Indigenous Literatures Canada (ENG-127).


Aboriginal Leadership Certificate

Gain practical tools and knowledge to work at management and administrator levels of Aboriginal organizations across Canada. Learn collaboratively as part of a cohort of experienced and emerging leaders. Study online, and take part in on-campus classes as part of 2-3 day residencies on select weekends during the semester. (Dates and locations of residencies TBD but will rotate between regions). Learn more about the Aboriginal Leadership Certificate.

Human Services Certificate – Educational Assistant / Community Support, Indigenous Focus

Designed for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal learners, this certificate program includes a focus on providing a greater understanding of the culture and history of Indigenous communities. You will learn intercultural communication skills and understand contemporary Canadian social and family issues to support the health and wellness of individuals in the community. Learn more about the Human Services Certificate – Educational Assistant / Community Support, Indigenous Focus Program.

Metal Jewellery Design Certificate

This unique certificate provides you with the technical skills and industry knowledge needed to conceptualize and create jewellery for artistic expression for personal enrichment or career interest. Courses include Northwest Coast First Nations Art & Engraving I and II, exploring the art of traditional engraving and the history of Indigenous design. Learn more about the Metal Jewellery Design Certificate.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree

NIC’s Nursing program is recognized Canada-wide for the integration of Aboriginal ways of knowing into the curriculum. Students regularly attend field schools with the Wuikinuxv Nation of Rivers Inlet or Dzawada'enuxw Nation in Kingcome Inlet. NIC students have also successfully lobbied to raise awareness of Aboriginal health issues across Canada and ensure that student nurses across Canada understand Aboriginal health perspectives before they graduate. Learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree.

“North Island College is way ahead of any other school of nursing. For a long time First Nations traditional values and ways were not included in the education system – it still isn’t – but North Island College is doing that. You can hear about the nurses coming out of here... and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Dr. Evelyn Voyageur
NIC Elder in Residence


O’man’s ‘Nam’a (We are One) Project: Unearthing Indigenous Leadership Principles through Language

NIC faculty members Sara Child and Caitlin Hartnett are the leads on this community-based research initiative. The project gathers knowledge from local Kwakwaka’wakw Elders, exploring leadership language and concepts. The knowledge gathered from Elders during this project will serve to build a locally-relevant Indigenous youth leadership camp framework through the lens of language. Learn more about the O’man’s ‘Nam’a (We are One) Project: Unearthing Indigenous Leadership Principles through Language