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February 12, 2014

JIBC launches Aboriginal Elders-in-Residence program

Elders representing First Nations and Métis in British Columbia to support and encourage students, staff and faculty at JIBC

Elders in Residence

(left to right) Ken Pruden; Audrey Rivers; JIBC VP Academic Dr. Laureen Styles; Dr. Chief Robert Joseph; JIBC President Dr. Michel Tarko; JIBC Associate Director of Indigenization Cheryl Matthew (Photo by Richard Chu)

Today Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) launched its Elders-in-Residence program to expand the range of services and support for Aboriginal students, staff and faculty at JIBC.

JIBC President Dr. Michel Tarko said, “Enhancing Aboriginal student access and success is a strategic priority at the Institute. The Elders-in-Residence program is the latest component focused on meeting their cultural and educational needs as well as deepening our faculty and staff’s collective understanding of Indigenization.”

Starting in March 2014, Elders will dedicate time to personally provide a cultural connection for Aboriginal students, staff and faculty. In addition to providing guidance and cultural and spiritual support, they will also share their knowledge and experience in cultural activities such as drum making, talking circles, sweatlodge, carving, storytelling, crafts, traditional drumming and singing and many other activities. They will also provide guest lectures on campus and liaise with JIBC’s Aboriginal Education Advisory Council.

Cheryl Matthew, JIBC Associate Director of Indigenization, said, “Elders representing First Nations and Métis in British Columbia have generously offered to share their unique expertise and history of Aboriginal peoples ensuring our students, staff and faculty build a more meaningful knowledge and understanding of their cultures and traditions.”

The program will first be available to students, staff and faculty at JIBC’s New Westminster campus and will be expanded to include the other regional campuses over the next several years.

The first group of Elders-in-Residence at JIBC come from four different Aboriginal communities in B.C. and include:

Dr. Chief Robert Joseph of the Gwawaenuk First Nation
Chief Joseph has dedicated his life to bridging the differences brought about by intolerance, lack of understanding and racism at home and abroad. He is currently the Ambassador for Reconciliation Canada and the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, Member of the National AFN Elder Council, Special Advisor to both Canada’s TRC and Indian Residential School Resolutions Canada.

Shane Pointe (Ti’te-in), Elder of the Musqueam First Nation
Ti’te-in is xwmuthkwey’um Musqueam and Coast Salish. He is a great-grandfather, grandfather, cermonialist, and traditional speaker. He has worked for the Vancouver School Board for over twenty-five years, was a trial support co-ordinator for the Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) for many years and is currently working with Corrections Canada. He provides protocol and ceremonial guidance for many cultural events - locally, nationally, and internationally.

Ken Pruden, Métis Elder
Ken Pruden was born in Tyndall, Manitoba. Ken’s aboriginal background is Métis-English, French and Cree. He is Past Chair Elder for the Vancouver Métis Communication Association and Past Elder for the Vancouver Aboriginal Transformative Justice Circle, Vancouver Friendship Centre. Ken served 26 years in the RCAF throughout Canada and three years at 2(F) Wing, Crostenquin, in Northern France. Ken is currently working on-call in the funeral service industry and on contract for Corrections Services Canada in federal institutions. Ken resides in Aldergrove, B.C. with his wife Sandra, and has two children and seven grandchildren.

Audrey Rivers, Elder of the Squamish First Nation
Audrey is a well-known and respected Elder and representative on behalf of the Squamish Nation. She was very active throughout the 2010 Olympics. She has been the Elder Firekeeper for Reconciliation week, Elder Firekeeper for 2010 Torch Relay, Four Host Elder Opening Ceremonies for Paralympics, Squamish Language Elder (ensuring the Squamish language will survive), and Squamish Membership Committee member, just to name a few. Tiyaltelot (her ancestral name) is a great, great, grandmother and believes that education and a good vocation is important to in raising her family. She is a true matriarch for not just her family but for Squamish Nation.

About Justice Institute of British Columbia

Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) is a unique public post-secondary institution focused on public and community safety education and training. JIBC provides specialized programs that includes work-related training and development through to certificates, diplomas, bachelor’s degrees and graduate certificates in Policing, Investigations, Emergency Management, Firefighting, Paramedicine, Sheriffs, Corrections, Counselling, Leadership, Mediation, Conflict Resolution, and Driver Training. JIBC also provides customized contract training to domestic and international governments, agencies and organizations. Our approach to education emphasizes applied learning and realistic simulations facilitated by instructors who are experienced practitioners.

Tags: Aboriginal

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Last updated July 10, 2014