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

VIDEO: Giants winning streak halts against Everett Friday at home in Langley

Following their first loss since November, G-Men hope to regroup and defeat Victoria on Saturday.

Two local squads meet up at senior girls tourney in Langley

The 2018 Girls Tsumura Invitational continues Saturday with the finals.

Kazakhstan’s U20 team takes 4-3 win over Langley university squad

Thursday night’s game is one of three the visitors are playing at the Langley Events Centre.

VIDEO: Langley realtor builds holiday party for kids

Realtor Matthew Rufh hosted a gingerbread house-building party for the Langley Boys and Girls Club.

Charges pending for driver who sped away from police in Langley, crashed

A simple traffic stop escalated into a pileup on 56th Avenue.

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

MAP: Christmas light displays in the Lower Mainland

Send us pictures of your National Lampoon-style lit-up homes, nativity scenes or North Pole playlands

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Most Read