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.

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.

The Bright Nights at Stanley Park

Since moving here 3 years ago we have made it a point to go see the lights at The Stanley Park Bright Nights.

It is an event put up by the Vancouver Park Board and the BCProfessional Fire Fighters Burn Fund. I was asked by my mother whether I go for the lights or the fire fighters. With a smile on my face, I told her both!

Their reflective gear made them look Bright.

Each Year the local fire fighters seem to be able to have all the lights set up different. I am always amazed at all the lights and what they can do with the lights. My family and I walked around and looked at all the different displays of characters, figures and lights. Then we listened to the sounds of the entertainers, while my daughter got her face painted. While standing around we saw the Gingerbread Man, and Santa, and that of course got our kids all excited.

Usually we get a train ride, but unfortunately it was raining hard and our kids were getting cold. But we are hoping that someday before Christmas day it will be nice and maybe even snow. Then we will go back and do it all again.

When we finished we all went for our usual Coffee or Hot Chocolate at Tim Hortons, to help us warm up. I love our family traditions that we have created here in the lower mainland. It just wouldn’t feel like Christmas if we didn’t get to go see the lights at Bright Nights in Stanley Park.

If you haven’t been, I suggest you go bring your family and/or friends. I hope you will enjoy the lights like my family and I did.

Have a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

Welcoming Ceremony: Honoring the Past Present and Future

At the beginning of each year Native Education College hosts a “Welcoming Ceremony” to welcome the new students to the school. It is a fun event where new friendships are made, traditional songs are sung, students and faculty participate in traditional dancing, and everyone learns about the history of the college.

This year the traditional speaker/singer Robert Williams of the Squamish Nation explained the protocols of the longhouse and how we leave the negative energy outside and bring in the positive energy as we enter though the totem pole. Robert Williams explained that everybody that enters though the ceremonial entrance also represents the countless doors, opportunities, and promising careers for students pursuing and completing higher academic education.