in­sti­tute ‘crit­i­cally im­por­tant’

North Bay Nugget - - NORTH BAY NUGGET - PJ WIL­SON

Jaz mine glass is proudly re­ferred to as a suc­cess story for the an­ishin­abek ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tute.

the reg­is­tered prac­ti­cal nurse from Nipiss­ing First Na­tion found that af­ter high school, univer­sity “wasn’t fit­ting for me.

“i didn’t know what i wanted to do. it was all over­whelm­ing.”

it was when glass went home and de­cided to pur­sue her nurs­ing stud­ies at the Nipiss­ing First Na­tion fa­cil­ity that she found her niche.

“it was the smaller classes, more one-on-one in­struc­tion” that worked for her.

“there was a lot of sup­port in place, there was tu­tor­ing avail­able” so she was able to com­plete her ed­u­ca­tion.

af­ter work­ing as a nurse, glass re­turned to the in­sti­tute, first as an in­struc­tor and now as co-or­di­na­tor for the prac­ti­cal nurs­ing, per­sonal sup­port worker and pre-health sci­ences pro­grams.

“i’ve come full cir­cle,” she said thurs­day at an open house for the an­ishin­abek ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tute at the union of On­tario in­di­ans com­plex on high­way 17.

“We’re unique in that we’re an abo­rig­i­nal-run post-sec­ondary in­sti­tu­tion,” said Kelly McLeod, the in­sti­tute’s pro­mo­tions and re­cruit­ment co-or­di­na­tor.

the 23-year-old in­sti­tu­tion has agree­ments in place with canadore col­lege and Nipiss­ing univer­sity to de­liver pro­grams that al­low stu­dents to ob­tain their cer­tifi­cate or a di­ploma from an ac­cred­ited, rec­og­nized post­sec­ondary in­sti­tu­tion.

While the nurs­ing pro­gram is full time, oth­ers have the stu­dents at­tend two weeks of classes at the cam­pus while the re­main­der of the se­mes­ter is spent at the stu­dent’s home, re­ceiv­ing lessons through dis­tance ed­u­ca­tion.

the nurs­ing pro­gram also in­cludes tra­di­tional medicines and teach­ings, to keep abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture and tra­di­tions alive, while fol­low­ing the cur­rent cur­ricu­lum from col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties.

it’s all part of the fo­cus on tak­ing care of their own com­mu­nity, McLeod says.

“the size of the classes is a real ben­e­fit,” she says. “Our stu­dents are here be­cause the classes are smaller. it’s not like the main­stream. you be­come like fam­ily.”

Not only is the staff and fac­ulty more sup­port­ive, McLeod said, but other stu­dents in the same classes pro­vide more sup­port than she be­lieves a larger in­sti­tu­tion can pro­vide.

they also are able to par­tic­i­pate in tra­di­tional ac­tiv­i­ties, rang­ing from medicine walks – where they learn about tra­di­tional medicines and prac­tices – to a win­ter car­ni­val and ice-fish­ing out­ings.

McLeod also points out that, depend­ing on the num­ber of stu­dents from a spe­cific lo­ca­tion, the in­sti­tute can set up classes there to meet the needs of stu­dents in such re­mote com­mu­ni­ties as at­tawapiskat or Moose Fac­tory.

and while non-abo­rig­i­nal stu­dents are wel­come to en­rol, the pri­mary aim, she said, is to help mem­bers of the First Na­tions com­mu­nity re­ceive an ed­u­ca­tion and get jobs to help peo­ple in their own com­mu­nity.

ed­u­ca­tion di­rec­tor Mur­ray Wa­boose says the in­sti­tu­tion is “crit­i­cally im­por­tant” to the com­mu­nity.

“it pro­vides pro­grams to reach out to the ci­ti­zens who would nor­mally not be able to have ac­cess to cer­tain pro­grams be­cause of dis­tances or fam­ily com­mit­ments,” he ex­plains.

Stu­dents “fol­low the same reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments of any col­lege,” he stresses, with sup­port for the an­ishin­abek lan­guage and cul­ture.

Wa­boose said the in­sti­tu­tion is look­ing to ex­pand and of­fer other pro­grams, such as busi­ness, eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and gov­er­nance.

PJ WIL­SON/THE NUGGET

Kelly McLeod and Jazmine Glass be­lieve the small class size and oneon-one sup­port at the An­ishin­abek Ed­u­ca­tional In­sti­tute on Nipiss­ing First Na­tion is a strong ben­e­fit to In­dige­nous stu­dents. The in­sti­tute ac­cepts both Abo­rig­i­nal and non­a­bo­rig­i­nal stu­dents.

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