An “All My Relations” Approach to Supporting Indigenous Learners at VIU


June 8, 2020 - 5:30am

By Heather Burke, Learning Facilitator  

A series of encouraging learning practices coming forward from five program areas within the Office of Aboriginal Education and Engagement are informing a united planning process including an integrated learning series for VIU’s students and employees.

These five programs are:

  • Relational Land-Based Learning: a community-based course delivery program,  
  • EleV: Nation-matched scholarships and wrap around supports (Indigenous Education/Employment Navigators),
  • The ‘su’luqw’a’ Community Cousins: a peer mentorship and support program,
  • Indigenous Learning and Recognition Portfolio a learning philosophy called tun sy'u wén (your history/traditions), and;
  • The Elders at VIU: traditional knowledge keepers who guide and support the entire VIU community.

Each program employs practices such as collaboration and co-creation while infusing Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and doing, which exposes systemic challenges found in the education system for our Indigenous learners. Balancing the physical, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual elements to engage Indigenous students enables them to stand in their strengths and inspires them to give back. These programs redefine the student’s pathway by challenging university policies and processes to meet learners where they are. Each program deconstructs power and shifts it into the hands of the learner, the community, and the family, meaning that learning activities and support are not solely defined by university departments or roles such as faculty, support or service staff.

Sharing the teachings we have received from our Indigenous learners, communities, learning partners, and families is a way to be accountable to these groups and honour VIU’s responsibility to transparency and authenticity in our work together.

The OAEE began sharing these teachings with the VIU community in May of 2020 and have initiated a dialogue on how we can continue to do the work collectively.

The learning series will kick off on June 22, 1-2:30 pm on Zoom. The spirit and intention of the integrated learning series is to extend the network of “all my relations” inviting VIU’s internal community contributions. We hope you will consider joining us and sharing your thoughts.

To participate please register via Eventbrite. We are limiting this session, and future sessions to 20 attendees to ensure we have time for protocol and sharing. Additional opportunities to participate will be made available through an “all my relations” learning series starting in the fall of 2020 and continuing throughout the academic year, either online or in person depending on public health guidelines. We look forward to working together to be “good relatives” to Indigenous learners at VIU.

Tags: Teaching and Learning

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