Members of the Brandon community are invited to an evening of celebration of the project: “Mino Bimaadiziwin: Reconciliation in Action”. This research project is focused on providing sustainable post-secondary education for indigenous communities in remote locations. Both researchers from BU and the University of Manitoba work together in collaboration on this project, and as a team they must be achieving impressive results as the have recently been awarded a prestigious Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Grant in the amount of $2.5 million. The project does not solely seek to introduce community led post-secondary education to targeted indigenous communities. On the program are numerous other issues that plague these isolated communities including sustainable housing, food security, water and waste management, and sustainable energy all these problems the project seeks to address through community-led participatory research.
There is a considerable need in Canada for projects such as this one, and in its nature it seems to be a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to action to “ensure that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector, and that Aboriginal communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects”. BU has voiced and demonstrated its commitment to First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities on numerous occasions, and projects such as this one align perfectly with the BU identity which has this commitment as one of its foundational pillars.
The First nation students that partake in this program will be able to attend entry level certificate programs in their community. Learning will not be entirely from the classroom; the project would rather have the students be taught per project-based learning. Students will learn as they take the first steps to effect a change in their community. If there is a key word to define this project it would probably have to be community, as it is the community which will take the lead on the many initiative under the auspices of this project. The hope is that local effort can effectively provide what outside support has struggled or outright failed to provide in the past.
If you are interested to learn more about this research project you may visit their website at ecohealthcircle.com for further information. You are also invited to join the celebration on February 28th from 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm in He Oyate Tawapi (Ceremony Room) in the Health Studies Building and meet community representatives from Wasagamack and Garden Lake, and Dr. Shirley Thompson, Project Leader, from the University of Manitoba, and Dr. Wilder Robles (Rural Development), Dr. Patricia Harms (History) and Dr. Serena Petrella (Sociology), Brandon University partners.