Transforming International Education: Developing Canada’s first Indigenizing internationalization plan (E/SI)

In 2021, North Island College (NIC) established two new five-year plans that were designed to guide institutional activity. These were the institutional strategic plan ‘Build 2026’ and the institution’s first Indigenization plan: ‘Working Together’. These two plans expressed an institutional commitment to further support Indigenization, decolonization, and reconciliation at NIC. Within this context the Office of Global Engagement and the Office of Indigenous Education (OIE), embarked on the development of Canada’s first indigenizing internationalization plan. The result is: ‘Journeying Together: A transformational approach to Indigenization and internationalization at NIC’. Journeying Together is a way to:

* Collaborate with the OIE and indigenous communities.
* Increase understanding of the international education aspirations of the First nations that are in the college region.
* Explore how to Indigenize international education at NIC through dialogue.
* Prepare international students as visitors and immigrants to our region.
* Explore place-based learning and new partnerships in a global context.
* Consider the concept of being ‘indigenous serving.
* Support indigenous language learning for international students at NIC.
* Focus intercultural education activities toward Indigenization.
* Develop the plan as a process (Indigenizing) rather than a result (Indigenized).
* Provide budget support to the plan until 2026.

The resulting plan establishes a commitment to transform what we do and how we do international education. It sets a new path of discourse that considers ways to ‘weave’ aspects of Indigenization with those of internationalization building; a process that is driven by the 35 First Nations in our region based on shared history; social and economic need; and cultural expectations.

Futureproofing rural, remote, and northern communities forum – Opening Keynote and Networking Reception

Join your international and Canadian colleagues and stakeholders for an evening welcome reception, followed by a full day of engaging discussion around the unique approaches and opportunities within rural, remote and Northern institutions.

Topic areas to be discussed may include

  • Transportation, infrastructure, broadband internet
  • Climate change, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), net-zero
  • Attracting talent, immigration, outmigration
  • Wage gap, employment gap, inflation, recession

Who Should Attend

Leaders, researchers and representatives from colleges, institutes, universities, municipalities, economic development agencies, indigenous organizations, industry, government and community organizations


Time Session(s)
4:00pm – 5:00pm Registration
5:00pm – 7:00pm Forum Opening Keynote and Networking Reception
Indigenous Welcome
Welcome Remarks – CICan President & CEO, Denise Amyot
Opening Keynote – Luciano Barin Cruz, Professor, HEC Montreal

Futureproofing rural, remote, and northern communities forum (B/SI)

Join your international and Canadian colleagues and stakeholders for an evening welcome reception, followed by a full day of engaging discussion around the unique approaches and opportunities within rural, remote and Northern institutions.

Topic areas to be discussed may include

  • Transportation, infrastructure, broadband internet
  • Climate change, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), net-zero
  • Attracting talent, immigration, outmigration
  • Wage gap, employment gap, inflation, recession

Who Should Attend

Leaders, researchers and representatives from colleges, institutes, universities, municipalities, economic development agencies, indigenous organizations, industry, government and community organizations

Time Session(s)
8:30am – 9:30am Introduction

Opening Keynote (SI)
Ashleigh Weeden
PhD, School of Environmental Design & Rural Development, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada

9:30 – 10:30 Concurrent Session #1 Recruitment and Retention (SI)

  • Paul Vogt, President & CEO, College of the Rockies (Moderator)
  • Brad Mahon, President, Great Plains College : Rural and Relevant: Regional Opportunities for Remote Institutions
  • Dave Shorey, Executive Director, Georgian College : The four-legged stool: Building educational infrastructure in rural Ontario
  • Scott Clerk, A/Vice-President, Northern Lights College : Leveraging International and Indigenous Education partnerships to revitalize Smaller Campuses
Concurrent Session #2 Sustainability

  • Maggie Mattear, President & CEO, Selkirk College (Moderator)
  • Denise DiGiosia, Senior Advisor Mi’kmaw Indigenous Initiatives Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion, Nova Scotia Community College
  • Mark Herringer, Executive Director, & Kelly Shopland, Executive Director, Office of Indigenous Education North Island College : Rural College Internationalization on the West Coast: Building an Indigenizing Process
  • Brenda Slomka, Program Manager, Algonquin College : The Mamiwi Maadaadizi project: Algonquin Starts a Journey
10:30 – 10:45 Break and Movement Time
10:45 – 11:45 Concurrent Session #3 Socio-Economic (SI)

  • Dennis Johnson, President & CEO, College of New Caledonia (Moderator)
  • Audrey Penner, President, Northern Lights College: Defining our Ideal College- Northern College’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Journey
  • Daniel Amoako Antwi, Executive Director, Africa Skills Hub
Concurrent Session #4 Accessibility

Northern Colleges Unique Perspectives

  • Karsten Henrikson, President & CEO, Northlands College (Moderator)
  • Rebecca Mearns, President, Nunavut Arctic College
  • Glenda Vardy-Dell, President, Aurora College
  • Shelagh Rowles, Vice-President, Yukon University
11:45 – 12:45 Concurrent Session #5 Recruitment and Retention (SI)

Building Partnerships for Diversifying the International Student Body and Improving Employability

  • Amy Yeager, President & CEO, Carlton Trail College (Moderator)
  • Hyeyoung Kang, Manager, Coast Mountain College
  • Carlos Cantu, Manager, LanguageCert
Concurrent Session #6 Socio-Economic

Cultivating Innovation and Collaboration – The Unique Approach of Saguenay-Lac Saint-Jean Region Colleges

  • François Provost, Directeur
    Service de la formation continue, CEGEP Rivière-du-Loup (Moderator)
  • André Gobeil, Director General, Cégep de Chicoutimi
  • Nadine Arbour, Coordinator, ÉCOBES, Cégep de Jonquière

12:45 – 13:45

10:45 – 11:45 Concurrent Session #7 Accessibility (SI)

Small Colleges Thinking Big – The Success of Francophone Colleges in Minority Settings
De petits collèges qui voient grand – La réussite de collèges francophones en contexte minoritaire

  • Emilie Champagne, Centre Director, CCA, Campus Saint-Jean – Centre collégial de l’Alberta (CCA) (Moderator)
  • Patrick Arseneault, Director General, Collège nordique francophone
  • Francis Kasongo, President & CEO, Collège Mathieu
  • Marc Despatie, Directeur, Communications et relations gouvernementales, Collège Boréal
Concurrent Session #8 Sustainability

Greening the Trades: A Workforce Ready for the 21st Century

  • Rebecca Jamieson, President & CEO, Six Nations Polytechnic (Moderator)
  • Matthew Beck, Program Chair, Vancouver Island University : HVAC/R Trades –A Career Path to Equality and Sustainability
  • Jennifer Mosley, Program Manager, Sault College : Building Using an Integrated Approach – and how sharing this approach nationwide with instructors will help prepare Canada’s construction labour force
  • Sam Whitehawk, Associate Dean, Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies : We can’t afford to NOT build Green (or better) Homes
14:45 – 15:00 Break and Movement Time
15:00 – 16:00 Roundtable Discussion (SI)
Futureproofing higher education in rural and remote communities with digital training and microcredentials (SI)

  • Stefano Tirati, Vice-President, EfVET, Europe
  • Matthew Dale, Founder, EDUCONOMY, Australia
  • Denise Amyot, President & CEO, Colleges and Institutes Canada
  • David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges, UK (Moderator)
16:00 to 16:30 Closing (SI)


Aajiiqatigiinniq: An Institutional Relationship (E/SI)

In August, 2018, Nunavut Arctic College, in conjunction with the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Education and with support from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., issued a call for Expressions of Interest to eligible Canadian Universities to embark on a singular generational partnership with the expressed purpose of developing institutional capacity, supporting research collaboration that is reflective of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, and increasing access to adult education that is reflective of the Inuit worldview for Nunavummiut in their traditional homeland. Ultimately, through a competitive selective process that included representatives from the Department of Education, Nunavut Arctic College, and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador was selected as the unanimous choice as the most appropriate partner institution. Under the guidance of the Standing Partnership Committee and operating under a Memorandum of Understanding and a terms of relationship, the partnership has graduated the first cohort from the new Inuktut focused Nunavut Teacher Education Program, launched the delivery of Nunavut’s first Bachelor of Social Work program, and the creation of joint institutional parchments in English and Inuktitut. Furthermore, the two institutions are evaluating a further 3 bachelor-level articulation agreements and are engaged in a variety of capacity building and sharing projects.The presenters will provide an in-depth presentation on the partnership selection process, resulting series of negotiations, and eventual cultivation of this unique institutional relationship.

“Nothing about me without me” – the Indigenous voice in an international nursing education collaboration (E/SI)

In Australia and Canada, Indigenous peoples face significant health disparities compared with non-Indigenous peoples. Attributing factors include socioeconomic disadvantage, social exclusion, and racism. Nursing education plays a key role in reducing Indigenous health inequities, yet many educational approaches have historically come from a place of colonialism, privilege, and power. Successful immersive training experiences in Indigenous health have been implemented in both countries however not all Indigenous peoples have been included in creating and delivering these experiences. Presenters will share their experiences of developing a Collaborative Online International Learning program between Holmesglen Institute in Melbourne, Australia and Northwestern Polytechnic in Alberta, Canada. As part of the learning experience, a virtual reality (VR) module was created on Indigenous Health focused on the First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples of Canada. Members of the local Indigenous ‘Friendship Centre’ played a pivotal role in developing the script, and two Indigenous actors played lead roles. The actors shared their firsthand experiences of receiving health care with students and discussed their appreciation of being able to make a significant contribution. This Indigenous led module represented an authentic way to teach culturally safe clinical encounters to students and teachers where the voice of Indigenous peoples could be genuinely heard. Regardless of their country of origin, students valued the actor’s portrayal in the VR and the opportunity to hear their lived experience stories. Teachers gained insights into Indigenous history and culture and how to apply that to their own nursing and teaching practices.

Miyo Wâhkôhtowin: building a collaborative model for post-secondary indigenization (E/SI)

For the past five years, Saskatchewan Polytechnic and Confederation College have worked collaboratively to learn from each other and share best practices regarding indigenization of their institutions. This collaboration has resulted in the Miyo Wâhkôhtowin model, a published guide of best practices for the two authoring institutions, as well as being available for sharing with other polytechnics and colleges. The aim of the model is to support students, faculty and administration in efforts to incorporate Indigenous voices, perspectives and practices throughout the institution. This presentation will share this process and the resulting work leading to the Miyo Wâhkôhtowin model with the CICan community, and gather further examples of best practices from those attending. This collaborative presentation and discussion represent a next step, continuing the efforts of the past five years. This can build additional resources to support miyo wâhkôhtowin, or good relations, to extend these efforts beyond the original authors of the model to assist post-secondary institutions throughout Canada and beyond in efforts to work with Indigenous communities.

Knowledge Keepers, Gate Keepers, and Score Keepers: Indigenizing Colleges in Canada (E/SI)

This session will be co-presented by three post-secondary institutions – British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), Sault College and Northern College, who will each address the problematic and challenging aspects of Indigenization, Decolonization, and Reconciliation (IDR) in post-secondary institutions. By challenging stagnant policies, outdated processes, and racist practices – whether intentional, systemic or unconscious – that lead to performative actions at best, and replicate systems of oppression at worst, we will explore high-impact actions and practices that may disrupt the status quo and lead to meaningful, sustainable systemic change. Prepare to have a bold and courageous conversation. Truth-telling and the reality of systemic change can be difficult and it is a must for all post-secondary organizations. Come and join us in creating awareness through personal testimony, real examples and best practices. Please note that this session may be triggering, so self-care is advised.

Medicines are Life: Traditional medicines as a healing tool in education (E/SI)

Traditional medicines have been utilized for thousands of generations. These ways of healing have shifted into society and into the education systems. Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) promotes traditional healing in adult education using a medicine chest. The medicine chest name comes from Treaty 6 of 1876 and SIIT utilizes the history with contemporary knowledge to promote traditional Indigenous methods of healing.By bringing and sharing an actual medicine chest, participants will be able to immerse themselves in learning about how Indigenous medicines and teachings have stood the test of time. Participants will be able to utilize all their senses by listening to the teachings passed down over time. They will be able to see, touch, smell and feel the impact these ancient medicines have had and how they are helping Indigenous students and non-Indigenous allies learn, heal and grow using ancient teachings. The concepts of ceremony, connection and wellness can be taught and shared in various ways. By sharing the medicines and stories about how they are picked, harvested and used, participants will learn that Indigenous medicines and teachings have a role to play in every area of life.

Aiming for authenticity, reciprocity and sustainability when fostering Indigenous perspectives and knowledge within non-Indigenous institutions (F/SI)

The refinement of our collective intelligence with respect to the implementation and perpetuation of decolonization and Indigenization processes in post-secondary institutions appears to be essential. Considering the historical context and current developments affecting the First Peoples and our relationships with them, major shifts in position, together with sustainable and authentic commitments, are required. How do we develop reflexes and attitudes enabling non-Indigenous institutions, which are used to operating in a certain way, to rethink their institutional practices and structures, as well as their internal relationships? How do we preserve and enhance the foregrounding of Indigenous experts invested in the process? What place should be set aside for doubt and cultural humility? How can we rethink a culture of “measurable results at any price” that characterizes our institutions? How do we engage our communities in difficult and uncomfortable, yet necessary, conversations? What approaches should be put forward to foster a better infusion of Indigenous knowledge and perspectives within institutional departments and services? The first part of this session will focus on experience sharing by the guest speakers who, from their respective positions (managers/instructors), will offer potential responses to complex and delicate questions based on concrete examples and milestones derived from the Indigenization process at Ahuntsic College. In the second part of the session, (small group discussions), participants will be asked to identify tangible tools and opportunities serving to launch or consolidate decolonizing initiatives with a view to ensuring that they remain inclusive, embodied, authentic and sustainable.