Indige­nous core of new health diploma

Yel­low­head Tribal Col­lege to launch Indige­nous Com­mu­nity Health Worker course this fall


CAL­GARY—A new post-sec­ondary pro­gram be­gin­ning this fall will in­tro­duce the only health diploma pro­gram in Al­berta cen­tred around heal­ing through Indige­nous knowl­edge, cul­ture and cer­e­mony.

Yel­low­head Tribal Col­lege in Ed­mon­ton is de­vel­op­ing a new Indige­nous Com­mu­nity Health Worker diploma pro­gram that will be­gin in time for the 2019/2020 school year. The pro­gram looks to ad­dress the need for health-care work­ers who can pro­vide cul­tur­ally ap­pro­pri­ate ser­vices to Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties.

Gino Res­tivo, the col­lege’s in­terim pres­i­dent, sub­mit­ted a pro­gram pro­posal to re­ceive fed­eral fund­ing back in Fe­bru­ary. Yel­low­head Tribal Col­lege’s Indige­nous Com­mu­nity Health Worker grads will have knowl­edge grounded in Indige­nous cer­e­mony and cul­ture.

The pro­posal was ac­cepted through a post-sec­ondary part­ner­ship pro­gram with Indige­nous North­ern Af­fairs Canada that ac­cepts and funds sub­mis­sions from schools across the coun­try. The ac­cepted pro­grams re­ceive up to two years of fund­ing for devel­op­ment and de­liv­ery.

Res­tivo is now work­ing on de­vel­op­ing cour­ses for this fall and re­cruit­ing stu­dents.

“We’re try­ing to ad­dress in­ter­gen­er­a­tional, hisor­i­cal trauma and the ef­fects of col­o­niza­tion through Indige­nous heal­ing,” Res­tivo said.

“It’s go­ing to give Indige­nous peo­ple an op­por­tu­nity to heal them­selves, to heal their com­mu­ni­ties.”

Yel­low­head Tribal Col­lege prides it­self on be­ing a hub of Indige­nous knowl­edge, re­search and ed­u­ca­tion. The Ed­mon­ton-based school opened in 1986 on Treaty 6 ter­ri­tory. It’s run by Alexan­der First Na­tion, Alexis Nakota Sioux Na­tion, O’Chiese First Na­tion and Sun­child First Na­tion. Ap­prox­i­mately 200 stu­dents come from across Al­berta, as well as other prov­inces and ter­ri­to­ries to at­tend.

Cour­ses will in­clude nu­tri­tion, ad­dic­tions and treat­ment and men­tal health, but also heal­ing through Indige­nous cer­e­monies, im­pacts of in­ter­gen­er­a­tional trauma and col­o­niza­tion, and Indige­nous com­mu­nity-based re­search.

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