Celebrating a Partnership for Change
First ever remote learning hub opened at Pinaymootang First Nation will support greater access to education in the region
A partnership between UM and the Mastercard Foundation’s EleV program will support thousands of Indigenous young people on their postsecondary journey.
Officially launched this October during the Elders and Traditional Peoples Gathering on the Fort Garry campus, the partnership includes the opening of learning hubs in Indigenous communities, outfitted with the needed technology and learning space for remote and in-person learning. The first of these hubs, in Pinaymootang First Nation, has already welcomed its first cohort of students.
With a population of around 2,800—and half under age 20—this community 240 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg will have greater access to education opportunities for local students.
The program addresses some of the systemic challenges Indigenous youth face, like culture shock when relocating to a larger city. Student Rhiannon Woodhouse spoke about these struggles.
“I look forward to attending the learning hub so I can be home with my family,” said Woodhouse. “While attending school in Winnipeg, I have faced racism and it’s extra hard when you don’t know the city. I know my home by-heart and the people and teachers here. The learning hub will provide me with the opportunity to learn at home when I’m finished high school.”
A ribbon cutting ceremony and feast was held in August to celebrate the opening of the first learning hub based out of the Interlake Reserves Tribal Council’s head office in Pinaymootang First Nation.
Chief Kurvis Anderson not only sees the immediate benefits this partnership will serve in his community but also further down the road.
“The future is looking bright,” says Anderson. “The learning hub will help get these educated people out into the community, where our people can grow and become self-sufficient. This program is a good start and a big step towards reconciliation.”
Through the Manitoba Collaborative Indigenous Education Blueprint, the hubs are open to students studying at any post-secondary institution in the province.
The hubs also offer tutoring, Elder support and peer mentorship. Beyond these satellite learning sites, the partnership supports programs province-wide to increase Indigenous student success, informed, co-developed and evaluated by Indigenous youth, communities, governments and organizations.
“We are very proud to be partnering with the University of Manitoba and Indigenous Nations in the region as they set a bold course of action to strengthen post-secondary education systems across the province and support success for Indigenous youth,” says Jennifer Brennan, Director, Canada Programs for the Mastercard Foundation. “Partnerships like this centre the voices of Indigenous young people and their visions of educational transformation. The community learning hubs, like the one that recently opened in Pinaymootang First Nation, are an example of transformation that brings education to students where they live and build systems aligned with self-determination.”