New Athletics program at NEC

NEC Nighthawks

Nighthawks athletics program at Vancouver's Native Education College has something for everyone!

Hey students! It’s been a while since the last post but we have lots of exciting things for you coming up. As you are probably aware, the NEC Nighthawks are steadily gaining ground.

The Nighthawks is now an established athletics program at the school that has something to please everyone. Whether you love watching basketball, want to give the sun run a go this year, feel like get some fresh air at lunch or are curious about trying yoga for the first time, you’re sure to find an activity that will have you connecting with other students, getting healthy and feeling great.

Check out our new facebook page: and give it a ‘like’ to follow what’s going on!

A message from NEC’s Early Childhood Educators

Did you know that quality affordable Child Care is a right under the UN and Canada comes last in the World??

As students in Aboriginal Early Childhood Education at NEC Native Education College, we have learned so much about issues that are important to early childhood development. One of the most shocking things we have learned is that Canada has the most expensive child care in the world!

But change is under way. Here in British Columbia there is a legislative policy called “The Plan” that is working toward Universal Child Care. If the legislation passes it would include a ten dollar per day fee instead of the current hundreds of dollars per day that are paid now. It will create more jobs and child care services, better wages for those working in Early Learning settings, and an economic spike for our province.

With this plan Aboriginal communities would have the right to quality early care and learning services that work with their cultures and values. The Plan endorses full support for the rights of First Nations and Aboriginal communities to design and deliver services that meet their needs to provide culturally welcoming and affirming programs for all children.

Thanks to our training we have become informed and educated on this important issue and would like to make a difference by spreading the word! Please take a few minutes of your time and click on the link below to add your name to the list of people who want to see this plan in action. Child Care is a Right!

Click here to support this cause.

Thanks NEC!

My first year at NEC Vancouver I felt out of place, but then again I never really found my place. I have travelled long and far looking for my place in this world, taking up courses that would certify me for the work field. My first day here I came in for an assessment to get my GED so my resume would look better when I apply my skills. VANASEP was next door training me for Supply Chain logistics at the time and they advised me to go over and get it done so I did. By the time my assessment was done I had found out that they only do adult dogwood and I had already been enrolled so I went with the flow. I figured that I still have EI until September so I went ahead and did it.

So far it has been one of the best decisions of my life, I have made great friends, warmed up to people, found my calling, and I consider NEC my home away from home. Thanks to this NEC Vancouver, I made the best decision I have ever made and went back to school. I can’t choose just one day as a great experience here, because everyday I’m in school is a great experience.

Thank you for having me NEC Vancouver

Welcoming Ceremony at NEC

My name is Kara Ashkewe and I am a first year student at NEC for the Aboriginal Tourism Operations Program. I am Ojibwe on my mom’s side from Cape Croker, ON, and Mohawk on my dad’s side from Akwesasne, NY.

Welcoming ceremony at NECThe Welcoming Ceremony at NEC, which took place on September 27th, 2011, is an annual event that welcomes the new school year students to the longhouse-style college.

During that day, every student walks outside and waits in line to enter through the ceremonial door. Upon entering, you must turn once, either left or right, depending on your customs, to release and leave your negative energy outside to abide by the longhouse protocol.

Once entered, you announce your name and what nation you are from. You are then part of the college community and are full of positive energy, and anticipate a new beginning and life experience for the upcoming school year.

I had such a great time that day and there was a great energy in the air. I did not know anyone from the college when I started out here but I made friends so quickly because everyone here is so welcoming and chummy right from the start.

It was a great day to meet your peers, your teachers, the guest speakers, NEC guests,  hear stories, and participate in Coast Salish traditional singing and dancing.

It is really great to connect with the Indigenous people here of the Pacific Northwest. I am learning so much about Coast Salish culture and history here, and it is nice to share my Anishinaabe and Iroquois culture and history too. To share, acknowledge, and celebrate our similar and different customs and traditions from all over Turtle Island is integral to the Native Education College. It has been such a great year so far, I am really enjoying my program, and I am learning so much. Much thanks to NEC.

Working Towards the End of the Year

Well there My Fellow Students and Classmates I would just like yo uto know that I have really enjoyed being around you all. I have made some really “Fantastic Friendships” here. As some of us leave here I would just like to acknowledge what being a student at N.E.C. means to me. I never had any plans of starting college, but with Great Support from my Friends and Colleagues to Stay here at N.E.C. I do see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel” .. I just would like to Thank All of my instructors some which I may have driven crazy .. lol .. but we are all almost there was “The Class of 2011”

Social work & healthy communities

The loss of parenting skills in the Aboriginal population has decrease dramatically due to the Residential school era; it left a negative ripple effect on the entire Nation. Aboriginal parenting skills are based on Traditional Knowledge that is passed on from immediate and extended family members such as parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Residential schools existed in Canada for one hundred years and left a damaged Culture behind with a legacy of children with identity crisis. The damage is so horrific that we have a Nation of parentless, parents.

We need help from our own people due to all the mistrust we all have over authority figures from what we have endured. We need and want to see a familiar face, a brown face, when we enter a facility to speak about our children, this is why we need more social workers who are Aboriginal in the this field.

Social Work Practice is so big within our nation, we need to come together and take back our children one social worker at a time and through NEC, you can start with the family Community Counseling programs they have to offer, through this program we can make a difference for our children and communities.

I am going to make a difference, so can you!

Ekosi, Blue Jingle Dress Dancer.

Lets do it for our children

Family Community Counseling Programs

Connecting with Aboriginal Elders

I believe that having a connection between children, youth, and elders is one of the strongest steps that an Aboriginal community can make towards achieving autonomy. In the past the elders in First Nations communities were the teachers and they would always be with the children to teach them about history and respect for all life. From my experience with my elders I was taught the life skills that I have today, and I know that this has played a big part of what has gotten me this far in my life and has helped me achieve so many goals. The ways of learning from elders can be: conducting interviews, visits, workshops, and community gatherings to honour our community elders to gather knowledge, teachings, morals, and wisdom from them. I believe that this would also contribute to the recovery and renewal of Aboriginal societies, because if this strategy becomes effective in communities then we can help heal the consequences of colonization, assimilation, oppression and reduce the effects of elder abuse. If this idea was successful it may become possible to use in mainstream societies and other cultures to empower all elders to have more societal roles in their communities.

Movie Review – Richard Cardinal: Cry from the Diary of a Metis Child

Richard Cardinal: Cry from the Diary of a Metis Child

Alanis Obomsawin is a member of the Abenaki Nation and is one of Canada’s most distinguished documentary filmmakers. One of Obomsawin’s films include: “Richard Cardinal: Cry from the Diary of a Metis Child,” depicting the disturbing examination of adolescent suicide. The film represents a documentary examination of the Child Welfare System in Canada.

The documentary pays homage to Richard Cardinal, a Metis teenager who committed suicide in 1984 by hanging himself from a tree on the lot of what to be his last foster home.

At the age of 17, this young man committed suicide after being shuffled 28 times from foster home to foster home since he was apprehended and separated from his family at the age of four. This film gives Richard a voice on the abuses he suffered at the hands of the foster parents and the Canadian Child Welfare System that failed him in his young life. The trauma he faced throughout his life is portrayed from readings of his diary, interviews with family, foster parents, friends and teachers. The details of Richard’s life echo the assimilation policies set out by the churches and government in the early 1800’s with the introduction of the Indian Act of 1876 and the Residential School Legacy that followed proving that these policies still existed as late as the 1980’s and are still used today.

Richard’s story is not unique; many Aboriginal children were taken from their homes and placed in residential schools during the early 1800’s and as late as the 1990’s when the last school closed its doors. It was in the 1960’s that the Child Welfare System began taking Aboriginal children form their reserve homes and placed them in non-native foster homes in hopes of assimilating them into mainstream society.

The Social Welfare System failed to realize the drastic impact of taking children from their families and how it would reverberate through the generations. The children were stripped of their identities; they grew up not knowing who they were or where they came from because they were taken at such an impressionable young age, leaving them with not knowing where they belonged. I read somewhere that the next most important need in life besides shelter, clothing etc., is the need to belong. Years of abuse and neglect at the hands of their caretakers, the survivors of residential schools passed on to their own children the same abuse and neglect, the only way they knew how because this is how they grew up in the residential school institutions.

The horrific death of Richard Cardinal in 1984 is not unusual, teen suicide in Aboriginal communities is still present today due to the intergenerational impact of the Legacy of the residential school era.

This movie is disturbing to watch, but is much needed in educating mainstream society about the treatment of Aboriginal children in the Canadian Child Welfare System. This is a story that needs to be brought out not only to mainstream society but to Aboriginal communities. Perhaps the cries for help of the youth will be recognized before it is too late. Exposure is key.