Indigenous Peoples & Christian Higher Education: a Consultation
Over 25 people from nine institutions took part in a follow-up session to an initial symposium that took place at Booth Univ. College in Winnipeg, MB, in May 2013. This second event was sponsored by NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community, and CHEC (Christian Higher Education Canada). Its focus was on the development of cooperativeways of supporting Indigenous students in their pursuit of distinctive, Biblically sound, and academically rigorous programs of study, respectful of Indigenous worldviews.
Highlights from the symposium include a commitment to:
- Develop a vision statement guiding efforts at greater Indigenization on CHEC campuses;
- Create a web-based platform for sharing online courses and other resources with an Indigenous focus; and
- Explore the creation of a Circle for Indigenous Studies to benefit joint programs being developed by NAIITS in cooperation with CHEC schools and other campuses.
Terry, LeBlanc, Executive Director of NAIITS, was encouraged by the emergence of concrete steps that would build on the work NAIITS is already doing in cooperation with CHEC members. CHEC’s Executive Director, Dr. Justin Cooper, expressed appreciation for the cooperative spirit present during the meetings as well as the commitment to move forward in cooperative efforts in Indigenous education.
NAIITS currently offers three graduate programs with an Indigenous focus In cooperation with existing Christian institutions: an MAIS with George Fox University and Seminary, an MTS (I) with Tyndale University College & Seminary, and a PhD with William Carey University. Also under development are two new programs in asset-based community development with an Indigenous focus: a BA program with Providence University College, and an MA program with Acadia University and Divinity College. CHEC includes 35 accredited Christian colleges, universities and seminaries across Canada, serving over 17,500 students.
For more information see www.checanada.ca/projects
for a summary and for an overview of these programs.