The online certificate, which starts in September 2018, was created after the K’omoks First Nation approached NIC about the need for a program that would prepare staff with practical skills for governance, administration and management roles.
To ensure the certificate met the needs of all communities, NIC consulted with its Aboriginal Education Council and held a series of community consultation sessions to give First Nations across the entire North Island College region an opportunity to provide input.
“Community consultation is vital,” said Kelly Shopland, NIC Aboriginal education director. “This guidance ensures the diverse needs of Aboriginal students within all our communities are met.”
Key themes emerged from these sessions, such as the importance of incorporating local knowledge, holding the certificate online to increase accessibility and ensuring that students graduate with employable skills to fill positions, succession planning and the need to increase the capacity of existing staff.
“Our nations are looking to the future and what will be left for generations to come,” said Fran Prince, Aboriginal Education Advisory Council chair. “It is good that NIC is asking for our input and providing us the certification we need to ensure Aboriginal leaders have the knowledge and skills to make good decisions for the people and to develop healthy organizations.”
While each First Nations community differs in cultural, social and economic ways, they share a common need for in-community learning that respects local knowledge and engages the wisdom of elders.
“Whether its online or bringing them into the classroom, every course calls upon elders and local teachers,” said Laura Johnston, NIC instructor and program consultant. “Students will learn how to build relationship with band administration, chief and council, elders… it’s all relationship building because that’s one of the most important pieces of protocol you can learn.”
The majority of the program will be online but students will have a chance to connect in person during on-campus gatherings each semester. These in-person sessions will rotate between regions giving students a chance to make connections with one another while learning effective management, leadership and communication strategies.
“There will be a strong focus on community building,” said Johnston. “Students who have a heart for leadership will gain practical skills and knowledge to lead in a way that respects protocol and strengthens community. It’s about giving people tools to lead.”
NIC is honoured to acknowledge the traditional territories of the combined 35 First Nations of the Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka’wakw and Coast Salish traditions, on whose traditional and unceded territories NIC’s campuses are situated.
For more information or to register, stop by your local campus or call 1-800-715-0914.