Agreements connect Hawaiʻi colleges and NIC

Students and employees from NIC and Kapiʻolani Community College gather in Honolulu to celebrate the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two colleges.

North Island College has signed two Memorandums of Understanding in support of Indigenization, sharing of knowledge and study abroad between Vancouver Island and Hawaiʻi.

The first agreement with the University of Hawaiʻi, lays the groundwork for student, faculty and staff exchanges between NIC and the seven community colleges that make up the University of Hawaiʻi Community Colleges. The agreement allows NIC students to pay NIC tuition while studying in Hawaiʻi.

The second agreement, with Kapiʻolani Community College in Hawaiʻi, builds upon a 15-year relationship between the two educational institutions, with an expanded focus on educational pathways, joint research projects and cultural exchange opportunities for students, faculty and staff.

The signings were part of a recent field school trip, where Kwak’wala students in the Indigenous Language Fluency Certificate from Port Hardy, were invited to Honolulu for a cultural exchange. The cohort was offered in partnership with the Kwakiutl, Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw and Quatsino Nations.

The 10-day trip was part of the Global Skills Opportunity project, funded by Employment and Social Development Canada and is administered jointly by Colleges and Institutes Canada and Universities Canada.

The theme of the trip was revitalizing the deeply rooted connections with Hawaiian families that were established generations ago with Indigenous communities on Vancouver Island and to learn about Indigenization and Native Hawaiian language revitalization from the University of Hawaiʻi and Kapiʻolani Community College.

“We raise our hands in gratitude to University of Hawaiʻi Vice President for Community Colleges, Erika Lacro, Kapiʻolani Community College Chancellor Louise Pagotto, the Native Hawaiian Council and Dean Nāwaʻa Napoleon for hosting NIC,” said NIC President & CEO, Lisa Domae. “Indigenous-led, land-based language revitalization is at the very heart of NIC’s commitment to ‘work together as one’ and to walk the long path toward truth and reconciliation. As island schools, we share a special kinship with the University of Hawaiʻi and Kapiʻolani Community College that we look forward to growing together. These two agreements build on our previous relationships and expand opportunities for students to include studying abroad as part of their learning at NIC.”

“Though the histories of the First Nations of Canada and the Native Hawaiians in Hawai‘i diverge in the details, it is clear that much is shared: deeply held convictions about sovereignty, the primacy of cultural and linguistic heritage, and sacred relationships with the land,” said Louise Pagotto, Chancellor of Kapiʻolani Community College. “We have so much to learn from each other about how to promote Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing within Western academic institutions for the betterment of our communities. Our agreement memorializes these shared goals and commits us to furthering these deep connections.”

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About North Island College

North Island College’s mission, working together, NIC builds healthy and thriving communities, one student at a time, is founded on the college’s nearly 50-year history of providing in-person, online and in-community education and training for individual students and communities across Vancouver Island and the Central BC Coast. The college’s learning centre in Ucluelet, and campuses in Port Alberni, Campbell River, Port Hardy and the Comox Valley are located on the traditional and unceded territories of the combined 35 First Nations of the Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka’wakw and Coast Salish traditions. Together, they proudly serve more than 169,000 regional residents, as well as students from across BC and around the world.

About Kapi’olani Community College

Kapiʻolani Community College is one of 10 campuses within the University of Hawaiʻi System and the only college with the honor to bear the name of Queen Julia Nāpelakapuokākaʻe Kapiʻolani, a monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The College provides open access to higher education opportunities to the diverse communities of Hawaiʻi through high quality certificates and associate degrees, and transfer pathways that prepare indigenous, local, national, and international students for their productive futures. The 44-acre campus sits at the base of Lēʻahi (Diamond Head Crater), Kalāhū, Pālolo, Kona, on the island of Oʻahu.

ʻO Kapiʻolani Kula Nui Kaiāulu hoʻokahi kula nui o ke Kaiāulu Kula Nui o Hawaiʻi he ʻumi a no ia kula e mālama i ka inoa o ka Mōʻīwahine Julia NāpelakapuoKākaʻe Kapiʻolani, he aliʻi o ke Aupuni Mōʻī Hawaiʻi.  He ʻīpuka hāmama ko ke Koleke no nā ʻano kaiāulu like ʻole o Hawaiʻi e ʻimi naʻauao ma o nā palapala aʻo kilohana, nā kēkelē mua puka, me nā polokalamu hoʻīli kula e hoʻomākaukau i nā haumāna ʻōiwi, kūloko, kaumokuʻāina, me ke kauʻāina no ko lākou mua.  Ma ke kumu o Lēʻahi (Ka Luapele o Kaimana Hila), Kalāhū, Pālolo, Kona, ma ka mokupuni o Oʻahu e waiho ʻia nei ke Kula Nui Kaiāulu ʻo Kapiʻolani he kanahākūmāhā ʻeka.

CBC On the Island

Gregor Craigie spoke with Sara Child, an Indigenous Education Facilitator for North Island College, Nāwaʻa Napoleon, who is Chair of Languages, Linguistics & Literature for Kapi'olani Community College, in Honolulu. Listen to Reviving Indigenous cultures and renewing ancient connections