Celebrated Haisla and Heiltsuk author Eden Robinson reads at an NIC Write Here Readers Series event in Port Hardy.

North Island College adds Indigenous focus to English courses this January

North Island College is adding two English courses with Indigenous perspectives to its January course offerings.

English 116, Essay Writing & Indigenous Perspectives, introduces university-level research and writing, with a focus on the works of contemporary Indigenous scholars, authors and teachers. English 127, Indigenous Literatures in Canada, emphasizes Indigenous historical, political and cultural contexts in literature.

The courses were developed to address the rising interest in Aboriginal content, serve NIC’s growing number of Aboriginal students and meet the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action.

Almost 15 per cent of NIC students self-identify as Indigenous.

Aboriginal Education and Indigenization is also one of the priorities in NIC’s Strategic Plan 2020.

“Reconciliation is something all Canadians have a role in – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous,” said Sara Child, NIC’s Aboriginal Education facilitator. “Indigenization of the academy, from a local Indigenous perspective, is a big part of reconciliation; the dialogue’s that occur between our students will lay the foundation for transforming relationships.”

NIC English instructor Laura Johnston developed the courses.

“Integrating Indigenous focus into our courses ensures we’re having conversations around Canada’s history with Indigenous people in a variety of contexts,” said Johnston.

By increasing the number of Indigenous authors and voices in university transfer courses, Indigenous students will find a more inclusive and culturally safe learning environment while non-Indigenous students will increase their knowledge of Canada’s history and its lasting impacts.

“I find students are coming to class with an awareness, but not a full understanding of what happened or why,” said Johnston.

Johnston notes the Indigenous focus also incorporates Indigenous teaching styles, which can be more supportive of students with varied learning styles.

“The focus is on holistic learning, learning with the whole self,” said Johnston. “Students of all learning styles and abilities are encouraged to invest in the process.”

Both English 116 and English 127 are available at all four NIC campuses, starting this January.

To learn more about NIC’s English and Indigenous language courses, or to register, visit www.nic.bc.ca/aboriginal-education/

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