The Alberta government is committed to renewing its relationship with Indigenous Peoples based on trust and respectful engagement.
In alignment with the Government's commitments under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action, Cabinet has directed the development of an Indigenous cultural awareness training program.
Portage College has identified existing and emerging Indigenous awareness courses and programs currently in place. Below is the Training Name, Description and Outcomes for each in no particular order.
Name: Community Social Work Program
The Community Social Work program is diverse and recognizes students' individual experiences and strengths. Each of the courses within the diploma program addresses Indigenous content. When selecting textbooks for the courses, materials pertaining to Indigenous issues are sought. Students are involved in Aboriginal teachings from guest speakers brought into the classroom, participation in sessions such as the Blanket Exercise and a tour of the Residential School at University nuhelot'įne thaiyots'į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills. An Elder is also part of the program's Advisory Committee to provide feedback.
All the faculty in the program have completed diversity training as well as are engaged in the Indigenous Canada course through the University of Alberta, while a couple have also completed the Aboriginal Awareness course through Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Indigenous awareness is a common theme within our program and both staff and students are encouraged to increase their knowledge in this area.
Name: Lac La Biche Canadian Native Friendship Centre Visits
Starting Oct 3, 2017, every Tuesday and Thursday for the rest of the school year, the Lac La Biche Canadian Native Friendship Centre will be onsite at the Lac La Biche campus. They'll be offering their services to staff and students: Bettering the community through an array of culturally sensitive programs, services, and businesses for all walks of life.
Name: Round Dance (15th annual in 2018)
Name: Diversity Training
This training program is intended to provide awareness and skill development for employees and students in regards to the many diverse ethnic groups locally, provincially and nationally. The training is a series of four courses:
Name: President's Indigenous Advisory Committee
Indigenous leaders (80%/20% non) to lead College's Indigenization program.
Meet post-secondary education outcomes set forth in Truth & Reconciliation Commission.
Name: Peoples' Success Story
Orientation for new staff to History and Origins of Portage College. YouTube Video.
Mandatory part of orientation.
Describes the History of how the Aboriginal resistance movement impacted the College's history of privileging Indigenous contributions to post-secondary education, Portage College's origins in area.
Name: History of the Native Peoples of Canada to 1867
History 368 is a lecture and seminar course that examines the history of the indigenous peoples of Canada prior to and at the moment of first contact with European peoples. In order to gain a full perspective of this critical time period in the Norther American history, students examine a variety of oral and written documents produced by First Nations, Metis, Aboriginal, and Inuit peoples as well as European explorers, traders and settlers.
By the end of this course, the learner will be able to:
• Analyze and discuss primary historical documents at a junior university level
• Understand the role of archival texts in influencing a historical perspective
• Understand and analyze secondary articles
• Appreciate and understand the growing historiographical debates around settler-aboriginal relations
• Articulate and begin to use methodologies used in the post-colonial study of per-colonial societies
• Produce a lengthy research essay dedicated to a specific historical issue of interest
• Gain a basic understanding of how early settler-aboriginal relations relate to current issues.
Name: Native Studies
This course provides an overview of the pre-history and history of Aboriginal people in Canada. Study will include looking at traditional and contemporary Aboriginal art, music, games, dance, literature and film. Through this study students will develop a greater understanding an appreciation of Aboriginal people's history and culture and the Aboriginal worldview.
By the end of this course, the learner will be able to:
• Define basic terms such as society, culture, assimilation, acculturation, racism and describe how these terms relate to FNMI people
• Explain the effects of the Indian Act in terms of the legal classifications of Aboriginal groups
• Describe factors affecting the development of native identity
• Identify some of the myths, science and popular opinions about the origins of Aboriginal people in North America
• Describe the Bering Strait Theory of origins of Native Americans
• Explain the growth of cultural complexity by describing the following protohistoric "traditions": Paleo-Indian, Archaic, Woodlands, Arctic and Sub-Artic
• Discuss why the written description of early North American cultures is controversial and how it is biased
• Describe, in brief terms, the eight Aboriginal cultural regions of Canada
• Display self-awareness through the description of the fur trade as it relates to their personal ancestry
• Explain and describe the purpose of specific Aboriginal ceremonial and cultural practices and their significance within the culture
• Compare and contrast their own culture to Aboriginal culture and practices studied in the course
• Explain and describe the meaning of holistic living as it relates to the traditional values of Aboriginal people
Name: North American Aboriginals
This course provides an introduction to the study of the history, cultures, and present concerns of Aboriginal peoples in North America from an anthropological perspective, with a focus First nations in Canada. Traditional lifeways and contemporary issues will be discussed through the examination of different culture areas across the continent.
By the end of this course, the learner will be able to:
• Understand the origins and pre-contact history of Aboriginals in North America
• Grasp the diversity of Aboriginal culture across North America and develop an appreciation for the richness of Aboriginal culture on its own terms.
• Understand current issues facing Aboriginal groups in Canada and their historical development
Name: Honour Ceremony
Presentation of symbolic Eagle feather presented to Portage College Convocates who wish to participate.
Convocates, staff, families, community members have an understanding of the value of the Eagle feather that is presented to them.
Name: The Blanket Exercise
A teaching tool by KAIROS to raise awareness and understanding of the nation to nation relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples of Canada.
Staff, student and community members have a better understanding of the history of Indigenous people and Canadian governments policies for Indigenous people. All participants have a better understanding on how historical trauma affects Indigenous people today because of these forced policies.
Name: Aboriginal Art Certificate
This college certificate is a 10 month program designed to provide a solid knowledge base in traditional Aboriginal art forms as well as introductory level theory and skills in a variety of other fine art and craft media. Students learn traditional and contemporary Aboriginal art forms such as beading, carving, footwear, sewing, and hide tanning as well as the cultural and historic significance of these art forms. The study of Aboriginal art is complimented by learning various visual art skills in the areas of drawing, painting, sculpture, print making and mix media.
The courses are designed to introduce and develop specific techniques and design so that students may create works inspired by traditional and contemporary approaches. The focus of the program is on developing skills and exploring media. Knowledge and skills in professional practice are taught for promotion of the artist's work though exposure and sales. In addition students have the opportunity to work with an artist from the visiting art's program.
• The student will produce a portfolio of work in the field of traditional & contemporary FNMI arts & crafts and visual arts suitable for continued post-secondary study.
• The student will explain and demonstrate quality craftsmanship, attention to detail and time management skills in the creation of traditional and contemporary FNMI arts & crafts and visual arts.
• The student will apply critical thinking skills and creative problem solving skills in finding solutions to aesthetic and production related problems in the creation of contemporary and traditional FNMI arts & crafts and visual arts.
• The student will critique their work and the work of other students and artists in a way that reflects knowledge of aesthetic principles, quality craftsmanship and sensitivity to the artist and audience.
• The student will describe the Aboriginal worldview as it relates to the materials, products and processes studied in the program.
• The student will communicate the historical and cultural significance of the traditional Aboriginal art forms studied in the program.
• The student will communicate the historical significance of the visual art forms studied in the program.
Name: Artisan Entrepreneurship Diploma
This college diploma is a 10 month program and follows the Aboriginal Arts Certificate. In the second year of this program students continue to study the traditional Aboriginal and contemporary art forms in advanced courses in painting and drawing, hide tanning, carving, sewing, footwear, beadwork and decorative arts while identifying an area of focus or interest. The program includes studio courses that provide students the opportunity for directed study, under the supervision of instructors, in an identified area of interest and skill such as drawing and painting, printmaking, carving, digital media and other media.
During this year students also study and learn entrepreneurial skills in each Aboriginal art course by learning pricing and quality standards of products. Students learn marketing through courses such as Introduction to Marketing Arts & Crafts and Creating an Online Business. In these courses, students develop your own website as well as learn other important marketing skills and business knowledge such as business networking skills and potential business resources. Students are able to combine their interest and love of art with entrepreneurial skills to be well equipped to be self-employed or to work in one of the many opportunities and careers in visual arts and Aboriginal art & culture.
• The student will produce a professional portfolio which emphasizes an area of concentration and specialization and which demonstrates creativity and consistent quality workmanship.
• The student will design and create high quality traditional and contemporary FNMI fine arts & crafts and visual arts projects that reflect researched, creative and individualized applications of processes and techniques.
• The student will demonstrate problem solving skills and creativity in the development and production of traditional and contemporary arts & crafts.
• Students will demonstrate an understanding of the FNMI arts & craft production methods and processes as well as the cultural significance and history of the processes and end products.
• Students will demonstrate an understanding of visual arts production methods and processes as well as the history of the processes and end products.
• The student will communicate an appreciation and understanding of the Aboriginal worldview as it relates to the creation and production of both traditional and contemporary arts & crafts.
• The student will demonstrate the ability to compose artist's statements, biographical statements and other basic compositions for the display, marketing and the sale of their art.
• The student will apply basic computer, communication and business skills and knowledge to the marketing (primarily online) & sales of traditional and contemporary FNMI arts & crafts and visual arts.
Name: Portage College Public Legal Education Program
Description: Portage College offers Public Legal Education conferences, community gatherings/forums, seminars and workshops to citizens in north-eastern Alberta, this includes specialized programming with First Nation and Métis Settlement partners. Topics offered vary from year to year and have included:
• Aboriginal Commission on Human Rights & Justice: Equality Rights of Aboriginal People
• Aboriginal Hunting & Fishing Rights
• Activism 101 & The Idle No More Movement
• Addictions and the Law
• Blanket Exercise: Understanding Historic Trauma and its Impact on Indigenous People Today
• Child Protection in Alberta: Signs of Safety Framework
• Colonialism & Indigenous Peoples in Canada
• Cyber Bullying
• De-Mystifying Divorce in Alberta
• Elder Abuse
• Employment Rights
• Family Group Conferencing
• F.A.S.D. & The Law
• Finding Good Legal Information
• Gang Awareness
• Healthy Vs Unhealthy Relationships: The Circle of Domestic Violence
• Historic Trauma & Aboriginal Client Services Workshop
• Hunting on Metis Settlements
• Identity Theft
• Indigenous Inherent Right and Economic Rights
• Just Cause/Going to Court/ Breach and Administration of Justice Charges/Gladue Reporting/Self-Representation
• Kinship and Foster Care
• Landlord & Tenant Rights
• Lateral Violence in Aboriginal Communities: A Legacy of Colonialism
• Legal & Cultural Aspects of Métisism
• Matrimonial Property on Reserve
• Money Matters
• Parenting - Legal Rights and Responsibilities
• Restorative Justice & Sentencing Circles
• Traffic Law In Alberta
• The A-B-C's of the Child, Youth & Family Enhancement Act
• The Metis in Alberta: From Road Allowance People to Protected Lands & Legislation
• The Métis Nation of Alberta & Legislation/Agreements
• Understanding Aboriginal Identity
• Victims of Crime: Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women
• Wills and Estates Planning & The Metis Settlements Legislation
• Sustained and continuous engaging learning activities that incorporate development of appropriate skills; as well as knowledge and understanding of legal rights and responsibilities.
• Help people to identify the legal dimensions of everyday situations.
• Equip people with the skills and confidence to resolve issues and prevent problems.
Name: Aboriginal Studies
Aboriginal Studies 30 is a course in the Alberta Learning program of Studies. Students gain a greater understanding of the current issues facing Aboriginal peoples worldwide. The four themes in Aboriginal Studies 30 are
Students will demonstrate an understanding that indigenous peoples around the world face common issues in their history, geography, politics, economics, education and culture.
Name: Museum of Aboriginal Art and Artifacts Workshops and Tours
These programs are intended to offer a unique opportunity to experience Indigenous culture while learning the skills used to create a variety of projects. Guided tours are also offered for schools, community groups, the general public, and local, provincial, national and international visitors.
The program offers six different workshops :
- Simple Beaded Key Ring
- Spirit Feather
- Birch Bark Card
- Talking Stick
- Mini Headdress
• To contribute to a common understanding and appreciation of the artistic merit and heritage of aboriginal arts.
• Deepen engagement with in-person and online visitors to the museum through increased information on artists, artistic practices and history of artwork.
• To create an inclusive and relevant experience for all museum visitors.
• To increase public awareness and use of this unique museum.
Name: Metis Week
Presentations, displays of Metis peoples history and culture.
To give students, staff and visitors an awareness of the Metis people history, culture and their contributions to shaping Canada.
Name: Restorative Conferences
Restorative conferences are structured meetings that bring together everyone affected by an incident of harm or conflict in order to discuss how they have been affected and to determine how to repair the harm.
Portage College is supporting the growth and application of Restorative Practices:
• in response to academic and non-academic misconduct
• in its efforts to continue to grow a healthy community
• to actively work towards outcomes reflected in Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Call to Action (CIP, p. 48) • to continue to encourage institutional-wide social responsibility
• Restorative Justice Conferencing — the restorative conference facilitator’s training manual
• Facilitator script
• Prepare for and facilitate a restorative conference
• Use the restorative conferencing script
• learn what to do and not to do for facilitators
• learn sociological and psychological foundations of restorative conferencing
• learn the dynamics of victimization
• learn the differences between restorative and punitive approaches to discipline
• group exercises to practice facilitating restorative conferences
• feedback from experienced restorative conference facilitators
• instructional videos • video discussion and analysis
• empower individuals causing harm to take responsibility for their behavior
• hold individuals accountable for their actions
• enable persons causing harm to hear directly from the people they've affected
• provide opportunities to decide how to repair harm
• break cycles of wrongdoing and misbehaviour
• use in conjunction with current college disciplinary and justice systems
• truly resolve conflicts
Name: Healing Through the Arts
This two day workshop is intended to provide an introduction to Truth and Reconciliation. The first day begins with The Blanket Exercise, a session designed to provide awareness of Indigenous History in Canada. The afternoon sessions lays the foundation for a commitment of working together through restorative practice training, providing the necessary tools to enter into healing conversations. The intense focus on reconciliation through understanding the experiences of Indigenous Peoples and is then expressed through art the second day by decoration of a paper moccasin. Participants will be exposed to the many different styles of moccasins and different beading and adornments to represent different cultures, life events and connections. Individuals will be asked to reflect upon their experience the previous day and reflect this in their decoration of their moccasin. The moccasin is the common thread through the two days utilized in both the Restorative Practice Training and The Blanket Exercise and then symbolically decorated on the second day, providing an underlying theme of “walking a mile in someone else’s moccasins”.
Participants gain an understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
Name: Smudging Ceremonies
Portage College facilitates weekly smudging ceremonies. The Smudging ceremony is an Indigenous custom that has been used for centuries as a way to create a cleansing smoke bath that purifies, centers and heals the body and surrounding energy.
Staff, student and community members have a better understanding of Indigenous customs.
Name: Aboriginal Teacher Education Program
The Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP) benefits college students ready to complete their third and fourth year of studies toward their Bachelor of Education Degree. The ATEP curriculum has a strong focus on aboriginal culture and perspectives to give teachers a better understanding of the unique history and backgrounds of young aboriginal learners.
The University of Alberta programming being offered at Portage College is intended for aboriginal students, but all students can apply for the final two years of the degree as long as they have at least 60 credits towards their Education Degree. The Fall 2022 intake will be the fourth time the program is offered at Portage College, with the most recent graduates receiving their U of A degree in 2019.
The Aboriginal Teacher Education Program provides students with the knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal perspectives in communities in Northern Alberta.
The information contained in this webpage is for general information purposes only.
Information was gathered on May 24, 2017.
Updated October 17, 2017 with additions: Community Social Work Program and Lac La Biche Canadian Native Friendship Centre Visits.