Cumberland College to launch Elders-in-Residence program

Cumberland College

from Prince Albert Now:

A unique initiative at Cumberland College in Nipawin, Melfort and Tisdale will bring more Indigenous elders to campus.

College President Tom Weegar said the ‘Elders-in-Residence’ program will offer students an opportunity to meet with Métis and First Nation Elders from around the region to engage in traditional teaching on various topics.

“Elders will be able to connect with Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and guide them or help them face issues like financial trouble, problems with family or even stress around midterms,” Weegar said.

Weeger has worked in community colleges for 26 years and in that time, helped implement an elders-in-residence program at North Island College in Port Alberni, B.C. He said elders are a strong retention tool in helping students stay motivated and focused on success.

“We want to recognize that elders are knowledge keepers,” Weegar said. “They have something of great value to pass along to students and faculty and we want to honour them and make sure it’s not simply a volunteer position.”

The RBC Foundation donated $25,000 to the program. Each of the elders will receive an honourarium and transportation may be covered as well.

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