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College of New Caledonia unveils new Indigenous education program to foster student success

College of New Caledonia is headquartered in Prince George but with regional campuses in Quesnel, Burns Lake, Vanderhoof, Fort St. James and Mackenzie. (Photo courtesy CNC)

College of New Caledonia (CNC) introduced lhk’enazdulkat, a new Indigenous education strategy aimed at empowering Indigenous students to thrive in their academic pursuits.

The program which translates to “we change ourselves,” was announced at a ceremony earlier this week at CNC’s Prince George campus, in the presence of partners from First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities and organizations.

“We have much to do to create a better future for all Indigenous students. This starts with an acknowledgement of harm and a demonstrable commitment to change,” said Cindy Heitman, CNC’s president.

“Through meaningful conversations and hard work with First Nations and many voices, lhk’enazdulkat will help us to make changes so Indigenous students can thrive in any path that they choose,” she added.

Key components of lhk’enazdulkat include fostering a sense of belonging and safety within the CNC community, nurturing students’ self-belief and unique talents, and empowering them to realize their full potential. The strategy focuses on three pivotal areas identified by Indigenous communities: Connect, Understand, and Empower.

lhk’enazdulkat is a five-year strategy that supports truth, reconciliation, decolonization, and Indigenization at CNC for all learners and staff.

In its inaugural year, lhk’enazdulkat will see CNC launching initiatives such as an Indigenous understanding and learning series and a ‘People of this Place’ seminar. The college will also focus on proactive outreach to potential Indigenous applicants, tailored services for Indigenous students, and strengthened partnerships with school districts to support Indigenous youth during their high school years.