Madelaine McCallum, a jig dancer from Île-à-la-Crosse, SK, performed at a celebration for a new Métis Community Support Worker program being offered through University of the Fraser Valley. The event was attended by Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. (Jessica Peters/ The Progress)

Métis students get boost at UFV with new programming

Métis Community Support Worker Program initiated with $619,000 in funding

A new Métis Community Support Worker program will empower 16 students to embrace their culture while pursuing an education.

The University of Fraser Valley and Métis Nation BC (MNBC) have partnered to bring the program into being, with the financial support of the province and the federal government. The $691,000 in funding, over three years, will be provided under the Aboriginal Community-Based Training Partnerships Program.

The announcement was made March 29, during a celebration in the university’s Aboriginal Gathering Place.

“This is a day of celebration and a day of thanks,” said UFV president Jackie Horgan. “We know it will help Metis students gain the foundation they need.”

The program will provide wrap around services for students of Métis heritage, including “acccess to transportation, access to support form elders, and regular cultural support workshops,” she said. “Students will also, of course, be able to access the full suite of student support services.”

The program will help learners complete their adult upgrading and post-secondary courses, leading to a certificate as a social and community support worker.

Clara Morin-Dal Col, president of MNBC, said the announcement is “about power in communities.”

“It’s going to empower 16 students, that’s 16 young people who are going to be future leaders,” she said.

Carly Hale, a third-year student at UFV in the Bachelor of Social Work program, spoke about how she came to be on the Métis steering committee.

“I’m going to speak from the heart,” she told the gathering. “I haven’t seen much Métis culture incorporated (in schools). I never grew up with my traditions … there was such a disconnect. There was a lot of ambivalence and not knowing what my identity was.

Being Métis, but without a strong cultural background, left her feeling ambivant.

“I’ve always been too white to be native, and not dark enough,” she said. “And I always felt I had to hide being aboriginal.”

But that all changed when she connected with other Métis people at UFV.

“By meeting a lot of my peers and strong Métis people, that really helped me figure out my identity and come to who I am … It was so inspiring and powerful to hear about the knowledge … the community, and I wanted to learn more.

“I’m standing here because of that. I’m so proud to be there. I really hope I can do my nation justice and be that voice,” she said.

And while Hale spoke of her personal reasons for diving into her culture, others spoke of the significance nationwide. Mark’s ministry says the program helps implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action.

“The more we’ve paddled together, the more great things have happened,” Mark said. “But if we can move fast, that’s what really excites me.”

Morin-Dal Col said the program helps with “taking a step toward reconciliation,” giving graduates of the program awareness, sensitivity and competence to address First Nation issues in their ensuing work in the social services industry.

“The Métis Community Support Worker program will respect and honour Métis culture by creating an ethical space for teaching, learning and incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing within a university setting,” she said.

The announcement and agreement was attended by Elaine Malloway, hereditary chief of the Yakweakwioose First Nation, Marie Bercier, a Métis elder, and included a performance by Métis jigger Madelaine McCallum.


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

Ex-Nanaimo man convicted of 1999 sex assault at Abbotsford music festival

James Allen Redden, 50, found guilty of three charges

Langley rower takes silver at Lucerne, Switzerland

Andrea Proske quit a good job to take up the sport at a relatively late age. It worked out.

14-year-old pilot attempts to break Guinness World Record at Langley airport

Mohd Shaikhsorab wants to become youngest pilot with fewest hours logged to fly solo

Langley’s Brunsch bunch

It’s all relative for lacrosse-playing brothers who are teammates

Lower Mainland cools down as heat wave lifts

Environment Canada predicts temperatures in the mid to low 20s

Stolen sunshade puts damper on Lower Mainland woman’s pet-relief effort

Broken umbrella taken from White Rock lawn ‘within 10 minutes’

Wildfires erupt in B.C. Okanagan forcing evacuation orders and a highway closure

Check out a list of up-to-date information on blazes happening within the Kamloops Wildfire Centre.

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Teen killed by train remembered for his love

Friends and family share stories of young Crescent Beach train victim

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Canadian Tire delivers toys to ease kids’ street play pain in B.C. neighbourhood

It’s like Christmas for 11 kids who are supposed to be confined to their yards by strata bylaw

Most Read