Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 51.59
Liaison Maria Mendes
Submission Date Aug. 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

Red River College Polytechnic
IN-47: Innovation A

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

Red River College Polytechnic has actively taken on the responsibility to embed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. As a signatory to the Manitoba Collaborative Indigenous Education Blueprint, RRC Polytech has made a public pledge to advance Indigenous education in the province. RRC Polytech is committed to advancing Indigenous achievement by enhancing the environment supporting Indigenous student success and by strengthening partnerships with Indigenous communities.

Reconciliation is an ongoing individual and collective process, and requires commitment from all Canadians. A key priority for the College is to strengthen our partnerships and continue to advance Indigenous achievement. This priority demonstrates a commitment to the future of its students, all staff and the community it resides in.

Some of the initiatives at RRC Polytech that demonstrate our continued commitment to Reconciliation and advance Indigenous education success are listed below.

A link to the RRC Polytech Land Acknowledgement is prominently displayed on every college webpage, and is shared at the start of every college event. Staff are also encouraged to include a land acknowledgement in their email signatures.

A Manager, Truth and Reconciliation and Community Engagement was appointed to lead the College in its commitment to Manitoba’s Indigenous Education Blueprint, a pledge to advance Indigenous education in the province — and to make Manitoba a centre of excellence for Indigenous education, research, languages and culture.

The School of Indigenous Education partnered with the Campus Store to create the Mínwastánikéwin Truth and Reconciliation Award. The word Mínwastánikéwin is Cree and means ‘to set it right.’ This award that seeks to advance Indigenous achievement was a grassroots initiative, created by the generous support of the College community during the first Truth and Reconciliation week in 2019. Staff and students purchased specially designed t-shirts at the Campus Store that bring awareness to Indigenous issues and key dates Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Awareness Day.

Under the umbrella of Social Innovation, RRC’s Indigenous Community Consultation and Engagement micro-credentials provide the knowledge and understanding to drive positive social change through strong, relationship-focused engagement with Indigenous nations and communities and a deeper understanding of the diversity of Indigenous peoples, Indigenous sovereignty, policies, principles and Treaty rights.

The Indigenous Community Consultation and Engagement courses are open to both individuals — to start a rewarding career in community development and social innovation, or obtain necessary communications skills used in many professions — and to businesses, to help streamline processes, provide a competitive advantage, and guide work with Indigenous communities for mutual success. Businesses and professionals will learn the historical and current colonial context — including the Indian Act, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples — and how this impacts Indigenous communities and projects within their communities.

Indigenous knowledge, teachings and traditions were prioritized in the design and creation of RRC Polytech’s newest building to ensure Indigenous students, staff and community were represented through art — by Anishinabee artist Jackie Traverse and Cree/British artist KC Adams, and more — functionality for ceremony with ventilated spaces (including the 210-seat Roundhouse Auditorium), and the intention for inclusive spaces to connect and collaborate.

The building, which opened in 2021, was given the Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) name Manitou a bi Bii daziigae, which translates to “Where Creator sits / Brings light”. As part of the consultation process, the College’s Elders-in-Residence were approached and offered tobacco to begin a traditional naming process for the new building, which will serve as a hub for technology, collaboration and connection. Both toured the building beforehand, and used their own traditional ceremonial protocols as instructed by their teachings, given to them by their Elders and Spiritual Guides.

The second of three commitments in the RRC Polytech Strategic Plan is “Commit to Truth and Reconciliation. Pursue equity, diversity and inclusion in everything we do.” This commitment reflects on the harms of the past and focuses our path forward in partnership with Indigenous Peoples. We are dedicating ourselves to reconciling a broken trust in our education system and supporting the key role Indigenous Peoples must play for our province to realize its fullest potential.

The Key Outcomes for this commitment are:
- Progress on all of the TRC Calls to Action that relate to post-secondary education
- Increased partnerships with Indigenous students, businesses and communities
- Increased employee development and engagement opportunities to advance RRC Polytech priorities
- Our students, graduates, staff and committees will reflect the diversity of Manitoba’s population

A new executive position was created to guide this significant and transformational work for the College – Vice-President, Indigenous Strategy and Business Development. This role will enable the Polytechnic to partner with Manitoba’s Indigenous communities, businesses, and entrepreneurs to make progress on RRC Polytech’s new strategic plan.

The Knowledge Keepers Council advises senior leadership on strategic initiatives as the College strives towards responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. The Council aligns with the Commission’s principal number seven to support reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples: the perspectives and understanding of Indigenous Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers of the ethics, concepts, and practices of reconciliation are vital to long term reconciliation.

Instructors and staff from the Applied Commerce and Management Education (ACME) program have worked to Indigenize their courses to ensure that more students preparing for careers in fields such as accounting, finance, marketing and human resources will learn Indigenous teachings and perspectives on key elements of their curriculum. With the support of the Manager, Truth and Reconciliation and Community Engagement, instructors have gone from zero courses featuring Indigenous content in 2019 to 13 per cent.

Indigenous Language Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe)
- Students will learn the fundamentals of the Anishinaabe language and experience Anishinaabe culture within an immersive and bilingual environment. This will prepare them for Anishinaabe language-related job opportunities in education, early childhood, and community language programs. This program is designed to train students to work in the K-12 school system or in community-based programs with an emphasis on the Ojibwe language and cultural competencies such as reading, writing and speaking the Ojibwe language. This program will also increases students’ understanding of the social, cultural and historical significance of Indigenous peoples, in Canada and abroad.

Indigenous Language – Inninew (Cree)
- This program is designed to train students to work in the K-12 school system or in community-based programs with an emphasis on the Cree language and cultural competencies such as reading, writing and speaking the Cree language. This program will also increase students’ understanding of the social, cultural and historical significance of Indigenous peoples, in Canada and abroad. Students learn the Cree language, and obtain skills important to the revitalization of the Indigenous Language.

Pathway programs are preparatory and exploratory and provide Indigenous Manitobans with the skills and supports to transition into selected programs at RRC Polytech by increasing their academic, personal, social and financial readiness. Students gain the skills to succeed in a supportive and inclusive environment infused with Indigenous culture.
- Pathway to Business, Creative Communications and Digital Technology Programs
- Pathway to Engineering Technology Programs
- Pathway to Health Programs
- Pathway to Information Technology Programs

- Four Seasons of Reconciliation: All RRC Polytech Staff are required to take this training. Four Seasons of Reconciliation follows Indigenous principles and was formed under the guidance of our Indigenous Advisory Circle and the First Nations University of Canada. This resource can assist you in providing respectful reconciliation education in the workplace. This unique two-hour 33-minute online course promotes a renewed relationship between Indigenous Peoples and Canadians through transformative learning about truth and reconciliation.

- The Blanket Exercise: In this optional workshop, a team of trained facilitators guide participants assuming character roles of Indigenous people and government officials through a chronological narrative where blankets represent North America’s land base. Through this facilitated simulation, you will experience your characters ‘outcome’ as you literally ‘walk’ through an experience of colonization to present day. The day also includes a de-brief sharing circle, guided by a RRC Polytechnic Elder in Residence, to discuss the learning experience, process feelings, ask questions, share insights, and deepen your understanding.

- Elders-In-Residence: Indigenous Education is stronger at RRC Polytech with the support of our Elders and Knowledge Keepers and through partnerships with the broader Indigenous community. Elders have always held positions of high esteem and importance; they are the living libraries that hold the wisdom, history and cultural knowledge of our Nations. Our Elders-in-Residence support education through Indigenous ways of teaching, learning and leading. They play an important role in student and staff health, wellness, and cultural and spiritual development.

- Events: Throughout the year, the School of Indigenous Education hosts various events such as ceremonies, guest speaker presentations, workshops, seasonal solstice and equinox celebrations and we conclude the year with our annual Pow Wow honouring Indigenous graduates.

Truth and Reconciliation Week in the fall is a collaboration with the Students’ Association and begins with Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters (September 30), and closing on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Honouring and Awareness Day (October 4). The week is dedicated to learning about Indigenous culture and history and starting a conversation around Truth and Reconciliation and the 94 Calls to Action. All are welcome to participate in special events and join the conversation.

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :

The website URL where information about the innovation is available :

Additional documentation to support the submission:

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