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Aboriginal gathering places open at NLC campuses

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FORT ST. JOHN – Aboriginal students at Northern Lights College’s Fort St. John and Dawson Creek campuses have access to more resources designed to support their success in post-secondary education, opening doors to greater opportunities for jobs to support their families.

The gathering spaces are among four created at Northern Lights College’s campuses and were developed from more than $661,000 in funding provided by the Province. The first gathering space opened in 2009 at the Fort Nelson campus, followed recently by the Chetwynd campus.

The Fort St. John gathering space is located in an area that previously contained the Roy Cunningham Aboriginal Student Resource Centre. The newly renovated area includes an adjacent office for the Aboriginal coordinator, and a kitchen.

On Nov. 1, 2011, students at the Dawson Creek campus will celebrate the official opening of their own gathering space in the Campus Centre building. The dedicated space includes a fireplace and study carrels, as well as an office for the Aboriginal coordinator.

Northern Lights College’s gathering spaces are part of a $13.6-million investment by the Province to create gathering spaces at public post-secondary institutions throughout B.C.


Minister Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of Advanced Education –

“Aboriginal student success is very important to the long-term prosperity and health of our northern communities. These gathering spaces – like those at the other campuses – will ensure all Aboriginal students who attend Northern Lights College have access to a supportive environment and resources.”

“Providing support for Aboriginal students will help build a strong foundation for their future success, assisting them to secure good jobs and provide for their families.”

Laurie Rancourt, president of Northern Lights College –

“The opening ceremonies for the Aboriginal Gathering Spaces at the Fort St. John and Dawson Creek campuses bring to a close the construction phase for these very important resources at Northern Lights College. The gathering spaces will provide a welcoming atmosphere for Aboriginal learners, an appropriate space for ceremonies and celebrations of the Aboriginal community, and I believe will be an excellent venue for the sharing of stories, ideas, and experiences.”

Quick facts:

· Northern Lights College’s gathering spaces feature cultural artifacts and artwork commissioned by local Aboriginal communities, as well as study spaces and lounge areas.

· Aboriginal gathering places are designed to create a more welcoming environment for Aboriginal students by building structures that reflect Aboriginal culture and history.

FSJ Ribbon Cutting

NLC President Laurie Rancourt cuts the ribbon, as Board of Governors Chair Edith Leer and Aboriginal Coordinator Brandee Stewart look on.