New Indigenous Student Centre opens at Casa Loma Campus

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Ribbon cutting for new Indigenous Student Centre

Indigenous students have a new to space to study, socialize and access supports and services at Casa Loma Campus.

We celebrated the official opening of the new Indigenous Student Centre on February 25, 2020, with First Nations, Métis and Inuit performances. The new space is bigger, brighter and better for hosting events, delivering services, and provides a comfortable spot for students.

Bob Whiteduck Crawford with Nicholas Koykka, February 25, 2020
Bob Whiteduck Crawford with Nicholas Koykka, February 25, 2020.

Another bonus? The development of the new Indigenous Student Centre provided a work-integrated learning opportunity for Nicholas Koykka, an Indigenous student from the Community Worker program. He said working with Indigenous Education & Services on this and other projects has helped him learn more about his culture.

“It’s been very enlightening for me because I haven’t had a lot of exposure to my culture. It’s been very beneficial,” he said.

“The elders—I almost feel like they are family. Creating a second family has really been a highlight for me.”

Indigenous Education & Services

A bright future ahead 

Bob Whiteduck Crawford, a counsellor and professor with Indigenous Education and Services, says the new space will make it easier for him to offer cultural teachings, and he believes students will feel “at home.”

“It’s a place where they feel comfortable and respected,” he said.

Frances Sanderson, Chair of the Sahkitcheway Indigenous Education Council at George Brown, said she’s excited to see the future developments that will start here.

“It’s our hope that the Indigenous Student Centre will grow, mature and become a hub of activity. It’s anticipated it will become the nucleus of educational opportunities, the heart of Aboriginal educators and students, and a home for partnerships and personal growth,” she said.

Indigenous education a key priority in future plans.

Supporting Indigenous students is a key priority as George Brown sets out its strategies for the future, George Brown College President Anne Sado explained at the opening ceremony.

“We engaged in a consultation process last year to examine how we’re entrenching the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action into our culture and curriculum,” Sado said. “We also signed the Indigenous Education Protocol and became the first college to endorse the Dimensions Charter – a statement of principles for institutions working to eliminate systemic barriers to achievement for Indigenous and racialized peoples.”

These principles and the consultants’ findings informed two significant steps the college has taken to provide greater support to Indigenous students. Step one is the opening of the enhanced Indigenous Student Centre at Casa Loma Campus. Step two is the creation of a new Director of Indigenous Initiatives position to oversee college-wide strategies.

“George Brown College is home to a thriving community of Indigenous students, alumni and employees,” Sado said, “and we’re committed to supporting the success and well-being of this community.”

Vision 2030