Section 4: Toward an Indigenized Student Services
Promising Practices and Policies to Support Student Transformation
Many post-secondary institutions have developed policies, procedures, and practices to Indigenize their institutions. We have compiled a list of key policies and procedures developed at institutions in BC and Canada. The list is organized into physical, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional supports. These examples simply illustrate some ways we can Indigenize the institution with policies, procedures, and practice, which vary from institution to institution as they are based on the local relationships and partnerships with Indigenous communities.
The following procedures and practices reflect how physical space and access within the institution accommodates Indigenous people. This includes how to work respectfully with Indigenous knowledge authorities and provides and supports culturally safe and relevant spaces for shared learning.
|University of Lethbridge||Procedure: Sweat Lodge Ceremonial Procedures and Location Map
The University of Lethbridge has developed procedures for Sweat Lodge ceremonies. They require that a staff member book the space 10 days prior to the event to allow time to obtain the required approval from the City of Lethbridge Fire Department. They also require that at least one staff member attend the ceremony. The booking form is the contract for service, liability, and safety. The website also provides clear policies and information about the lodge size and location.
|University of Victoria||Practice: Payments to Indigenous payees
At University of Victoria, the Accounting Department has developed a process in conjunction with the Office of Indigenous Academic and Community Engagement to ensure that payments made to Indigenous payees are completed in a culturally sensitive way. There are procedures and guidelines in place and steps that staff need to take to facilitate this goal.
|University of Northern British Columbia||Policy: Policy on Smudging and Other Ceremonial Use of Smoke [PDF]
This policy provides guidelines to facilitate Aboriginal traditional, ceremonial, and pedagogical events while adhering to the British Columbia Tobacco Control Act (RSBC 1996- Chapter 451) regulating smoking in workplaces and in post-secondary educational institution. The university must comply with the law.
|Vancouver Island University||Procedure/Practice: Faculty Letter of Agreement for Elders-in-Residence
This agreement recognizes and affirms the Vancouver Island University Elders-in-Residence as gifted faculty who provide a unique and highly regarded knowledge contribution to VIU and the VIU community. It gives specific procedures about how Elders are compensated for their knowledge.
The following policies and practices relate to the processes of student admission, transition, and completion. They also show the interconnections between departments and other institutions.
|University of British Columbia||Policy: Aboriginal Admission Policy
UBC may consider applicants who do not meet the current competitive admission cut-off set by the individual faculties and schools, but who meet the University-wide academic minimum of 70% for first-year programs or the grade point average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale for applicants applying from a recognized post-secondary institution. Applicants must also satisfy program pre-requisites set by the individual faculties and schools.
|University of British Columbia and Langara College||Practice: Aboriginal Transfer Program
This practice ensures that First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students who complete the program requirements at Langara College will be guaranteed admission with certain degree programs at UBC’s Vancouver Campus.
|Simon Fraser University||Policy: Aboriginal Undergraduate Admission Policy
Simon Fraser University’s admission policy takes into consideration an Indigenous applicant’s educational history, cultural knowledge, work experience, educational goals, and other achievements. This information is reviewed by a three-member committee composed of participants from Indigenous student services, the specific faculty applied to, and University Admissions.
|College of New Caledonia||Policy: Aboriginal Education and Services [PDF]
The College of New Caledonia has had a policy in effect since 1999 that states the college “recognizes and supports First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples in their goals of self-determination. CNC recognizes that the learning environment is enriched by diversity, and will specifically include Aboriginal cultures. CNC will actively work with Aboriginal people to identify and respond to their needs.”
|University of Lethbridge||Policy: Aboriginal Education
The primary objective of the University of Lethbridge’s Aboriginal Education policy is to “re-invigorate, reaffirm, and strengthen the university’s historic commitment to Aboriginal peoples, re-establishing Aboriginal education as a core priority of the University…”
|Camosun College||Practice: Indigenous Limited Priority Admission process
At Camosun College, the BC Human Rights Tribunal process for priority admissions to select programs. “… offers priority seating for qualified Indigenous students in Nursing, Practical Nursing, and Early Learning and Care. Five per cent of the seats are set aside for Indigenous students to help meet critical health and child care needs in urban and rural Indigenous communities.”
The following policies and practices support the cultural identity of Indigenous students. This may also include how to include Indigenous community resources and look at ways for Indigenous cultures to be welcomed into the institution.
|BC Institute of Technology||Practice: Traditional Sweat Lodge Ceremonies
BCIT holds monthly Sweat Lodge Ceremonies. Their website states, “The Indigenous Services department exclusively welcomes BCIT staff and students to join us in our sweat lodge ceremonies…NOTE: All participants are asked to refrain from drugs and alcohol four days before the ceremony. Questions? Please come in and ask at Indigenous Services.”
|University of Lethbridge||Practice: Blackfoot and First Nations, Métis and Inuit Protocol Handbook
University of Lethbridge has created a handbook that provides guidelines for faculty, staff, students, board, and senate members when incorporating Blackfoot and other First Nations Métis and Inuit (FNMI) cultures into activities or ceremonies on campus.
|Lakehead University||Policy: Indigenous and Aboriginal Cultural Ceremonies Policy
Lakehead University in Ontario has created a policy to show that they respect and support the Aboriginal tradition of smudging that includes the use of four sacred medicines (sage, cedar, tobacco, and sweetgrass). Lakehead University recognizes and supports Aboriginal traditions practised on campus by Aboriginal students, faculty, and staff in classrooms, student gathering places, offices, cultural events, and meetings in various locations throughout the university.
|Northwest Community College||Policy/Practice: First Nations Council
Northwest Community College created a First Nations Council in 1996. The First Nations Council focuses on student advocacy, program promotion, curriculum design, cultural issues and content, program and education service evaluation and will assist Northwest Community College in improving its relationships with First Nations communities in the Northwest college region.
|Camosun College||Practice: Convocation Regalia
Camosun College’s graduation policy recognizes traditional dress: “you are a member of an Indigenous nation, the military, or are from another country, you may choose to wear your regalia, uniform, or national dress in place of the traditional graduation gown.”
These policies and promising practices explore the emotional and cultural supports available to Indigenous students throughout their educational journey.
|Justice Institute of BC||Practice: Elders-in-Residence program
The Justice Institute of BC has an Elders-in-Residence program. “Elders in Residence dedicate the majority of their time supporting and encouraging Aboriginal students and providing a cultural connection to them on their journey. They are also available to students, their families, and JIBC’s faculty and staff.”
|Vancouver Island University||Practice: Elders Protocol
VIU has an Elders-in-Residence program that recognizes the important role Elders play. “They provide counselling, support, and guidance to all students at VIU. You will often hear the students referring to the Elders as ‘Auntie’ or ‘Uncle,’ which is a sign of both affection and respect. Vancouver Island University Elders are active in a variety of areas encompassing student support, classroom instruction, teaching traditional protocols and cross-cultural sharing.”
- Sweat Lodge Ceremonial Procedures and Location Map: http://www.uleth.ca/policy/sweat-lodge-ceremonial-procedures-location-map ↵
- Payment to Indigenous payees: http://www.uvic.ca/vpfo/accounting/resources/indigenous-payment.php ↵
- Smudging and other ceremonial use of smoke: https://opentextbc.ca/indigenizationfrontlineworkers/wp-content/uploads/sites/237/2018/06/Policy-on-Smudging-and-Other-Ceremonial-Use-of-Smoke.pdf ↵
- Faculty Letter of Agreement for Elders-in-Residence: https://www2.viu.ca/HumanResources/VIUFA/contents.asp ↵
- Aboriginal Admission Policy: http://www.calendar.ubc.ca/vancouver/index.cfm?tree=2,14,0,0 ↵
- Aboriginal Transfer Program: http://transfer.aboriginal.ubc.ca/ ↵
- Aboriginal Undergraduate Admission Policy: http://www.sfu.ca/students/admission/admission-requirements/aboriginal-admission-policy.html ↵
- Aboriginal Education and Services: https://cnc.bc.ca/docs/default-source/about/governance/policy-8-aboriginal-education-and-services.pdf ↵
- Aboriginal Education: http://www.uleth.ca/policy/aboriginal-education-policy ↵
- Indigenous Limited Priority Admission process: http://camosun.ca/learn/school/indigenous-education-community-connections/students/health-seats.html ↵
- Traditional Sweat Lodge Ceremonies: https://www.bcit.ca/indigenous/sweatlodgecerem.shtml ↵
- Blackfoot and First Nations, Métis and Inuit Protocol Handbook: http://www.uleth.ca/policy/blackfoot-and-first-nations-metis-and-inuit-protocol-handbook ↵
- Indigenous and Aboriginal Cultural Ceremonies Policy: https://www.lakeheadu.ca/faculty-and-staff/policies/human-resources/cultural-protocol-policy ↵
- First Nations Council: https://nwcc.bc.ca/about-us/explore-nwcc/first-nations-council ↵
- Convocation Regalia: http://camosun.ca/events/grad/before-grad.html ↵
- Elders-in-Residence program: http://www.jibc.ca/about-jibc/office-indigenization/elders-residence-program ↵
- Elders Protocol: https://aboriginal.viu.ca/elders-viu ↵