May 7, 2010
MIRAMICHI (CNB) - Mawiomi Place - a gathering centre for Aboriginal students - has opened at the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC), Miramichi campus.
"I am proud to be part of a government that is investing in post-secondary education by providing more opportunities for Aboriginal students to be better educated and better positioned for success," said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Donald Arseneault.
Aboriginal community leaders, elders and students joined local and NBCC officials to open the centre. Ceremonies included a traditional sweet grass ceremony blessing the centre, traditional Mi'kmaq entertainment and a traditional feast. The keynote address was delivered by Glen Bear, elder in residence at the University of New Brunswick.
"It is wonderful that First Nation students will now have a permanent gathering place where they can go for camaraderie as well as guidance," said George Ginnish, chief of Eel Ground First Nation. "It is a great stepping stone for educational and employment paths."
Mawiomi Place is part of a plan to increase the participation of Aboriginal people at NBCC, which is one of the key initiatives of Be Inspired. Be Ready. Be Better. The Action Plan to Transform Post-Secondary Education in New Brunswick.
Opening Mawiomi Place complements NBCC's mission to become a student-focused organization by providing an enhanced educational experience that is culturally relevant and responsive to the needs of Aboriginal students.
"The New Brunswick Community College promotes Aboriginal student success and welcomes the diversity and knowledge that they bring to our campuses," said Bill Best, executive director, NBCC. "Gathering places such as Mawiomi Place will only add to this experience for our Aboriginal students."
In further support of these initiatives, NBCC has hired three full-time Aboriginal co-ordinators for its Moncton, Miramichi, Fredericton and Woodstock campuses. The NBCC has also hired a part-time Aboriginal co-ordinator at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design. The co-ordinators will be on campus to support Aboriginal students; help with Aboriginal recruitment; and collaborate with Aboriginal communities and other provincial post-secondary education institutions to share best practices and better meet the training and learning needs of the province's Aboriginal population.
MEDIA CONTACT: Sonya Gilks, communications, New Brunswick Community College, 506-444-3320.