Lethbridge College reaffirms commitment to Indigenous education with Niitsitapi Strategy
Lethbridge College alumni Torry Eagle Speaker (left) and student Punky Daniels (right) dance on the coulees at Lethbridge College in October 2020. Photo courtesy of Lethbridge College.
LETHBRIDGE, AB – Lethbridge College unveiled its Niitsitapi Strategy Thursday, which is being promoted as an important milestone in the institution’s commitment to truth and reconciliation.
The college says the goal is to ensure the college community can come together for inclusive, diverse, engaged and successful education.
College President and CEO Dr. Paula Burns says it’s a privilege to be located on the traditional lands of the Blackfoot Territory and that comes with a lot of responsibility.
She says “we must deepen our understanding of traditional cultures and ways of knowing, and we are committed to taking definitive action to support these communities. This strategy is not the start of that work, but rather it is an extension and continuation of work we have been doing for many years.”
The Niitsitapi Strategy has been nearly two years in the making and considered more than 1,800 unique points of feedback from Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholders.
Indigenous Services Manager Shanda Webber says “it is our hope that the strategy will lead us forward, as our Elders have taught us, in a ‘good way.’ To build upon the foundation that we already have of a culturally inclusive environment and to enhance the post-secondary experience for both our Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners alike; to increase the Indigenous cultural competency of our students, staff and faculty, and to continue to fortify and strengthen the relationships that we have with our Indigenous community members.”
The framework of the Niitsitapi strategy, which is available online, is modeled after a tipi ring, a significant symbol to the Blackfoot people.