The company is funding the Awi’nakola program, based at NIC’s Mixalakwila campus in Port Hardy. Meaning “we are one with the land and sea,” Awi’nakola combines in-class instruction with land-based cultural learning and Indigenous language courses.
“We draw on Kwak’wala and our Kwakwaka’wakw ways of knowing and being to inform academic learning,” said Sara Child, NIC faculty member and Indigenous Education Facilitator.
The courses are structured to focus on student strengths and to support students as they work toward their goals.
“It’s really about taking a journey together as we explore land-based and culturally infused learning – the intent of which is to meet the needs of our students and help them succeed,” added Child.
The Awi’nakola program was offered to students tuition-free, funded through individual grant applications. The donation from BHP will allow the program to run from September to April, with multiple entry points for students.
“BHP invests in communities near our assets to respond to community need and create social value. Our social investment aims to support a successful, adaptable and resilient workforce for the future,” said Jay Hartling, Principal, Corporate Affairs Legacy Assets. “The Awi’nakola Program near our Island Copper Legacy Asset is tailored specifically to enhance Indigenous students’ learning experiences in their own territory, and their own culture. We are proud to support such an innovative and important program.”
The funding, facilitated through the NIC Foundation, will begin for the next Awi’nakola intake, scheduled to start September 19.
Learn more about the Awi’nakola program