CHETWYND – Aboriginal students at Northern Lights College’s Chetwynd Campus now have more resources to help them succeed at their post-secondary education, bringing them more opportunities for good jobs to support their families.
The Hon. Steven L. Point, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, was joined by representatives of the college and local community to officially open the Aboriginal Gathering Space at the Chetwynd Campus.
The Gathering Space is one of four created at NLC’s campuses. The projects were originally developed from $600,000 in funding provided in 2008 by the Province. The first gathering space opened in 2009 at the Fort Nelson Campus.
NLC’s gathering spaces feature artwork and cultural artifacts commissioned by local Aboriginal bands, as well as study spaces and lounge areas. The Chetwynd facility includes an adjacent office for an Aboriginal coordinator and a kitchen.
This gathering space is one of 27 being created at public post-secondary institutions across B.C. through a $13.6-million investment by the Province.
Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of Advanced Education –
“The Gathering Space at the Chetwynd campus will help support Northern Lights College’s Aboriginal students through their post-secondary education and help students achieve their goals for the future while keeping them in touch with their roots.”
Laurie Rancourt, president of Northern Lights College –
“Northern Lights College is proud of this special gathering space, which is community-focused and which respects the Aboriginal heritage of the area. We recognize the importance of reflecting the region's rich cultural heritage, and we believe this gathering space will make our Chetwynd campus even more inviting for Aboriginal students.”
Henriette Landry, Aboriginal Coordinator at Northern Lights College –
“Gathering spaces are an important part of the quality of life for Aboriginal students, and I believe this new space will help enrich the college experience not just for Aboriginal learners, but for all learners at Northern Lights College. There will be opportunities for ceremonial and cultural events, sharing of oral traditions, art and material displays, and language revitalization and Circle teachings.”
Aboriginal gathering places are designed to create a more welcoming environment for Aboriginal students by building structures that reflect Aboriginal culture and history.
Construction of the gathering space in Chetwynd included donations from two community industry partners: Talisman Energy and Walter Energy (formerly Western Coal).
Improving quality and choice in education is a key pillar of the Province’s Pacific Leadership Agenda. The gathering places funding also supports the government’s commitments, through the Transformative Change Accord and the Métis Nation Relationship Accord, to close the gaps in education, health, housing and economic opportunities.
Councillor Theresa Davis (Moberly Lake First Nation), Henriette Landry (NLC Aboriginal Education Coordinator), Laurie Rancourt (NLC President), His Honour Steven L. Point (Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia), Chief Harley Davis (Saulteau First Nation) and Edith Leer (Board Chair, NLC) during the ribbon cutting.