For education to be meaningful to First Nations learners, it must be connected to the cultural, social, political and economic values and realities of their communities. To that end, the College has been active in negotiating relationships with school districts, bands, organizations and institutions. These include:
A five (5) year Memorandum of Understanding with School District #50 - Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte in 2005 to enhance the educational opportunities and student services to the island through collaboration and cooperation. Joint educational initiatives are developed in response to identified community needs.
A protocol agreement with the Haida, Masset and Skidegate bands and the Qay’Illnagaay Heritage Centre Society to work together to further educational offerings on Haida Gwaii.
A federation agreement with Wilp Wilxo’oskwhl Nisga’a was created to state their commitment to work together to enhance the provision of educational and training opportunities for Nisga’a people in northwestern BC.
An affiliation agreement with the Gitksan Wet'suwet'en Education Society (GWES) with the goal of working to increase educational and training opportunities for people in the Hazelton area. Together GWES and NWCC are working to deliver joint Certificates, Diplomas, and Associate Degree programs that incorporate Gitksan Wet'suwet'en culture and knowledge.
The College also participates in educational program partnerships and sponsorships that incorporate the unique natural surroundings of the Northwest and highlight the cultural relationship of the land to First Nations. An example:
NWCC, the Haisla and Alcan jointly sponsor a program that incorporates two (2) field-based University Credit courses with a field study that take students on a five (5) day excursion into the Kitlope. In coordination with the Haisla Watchmen, students are immersed in learning activities led by Haisla Elders who act as guides for the culturally significant and protected sites.
In November 2004, a contemporary totem pole symbolizing the importance of education to the college region’s seven First Nations was raised at NWCC’s Terrace Campus, which sits on the traditional territory of the Kitsumkalum Wolf Clan, and is a fitting home for this cherished and symbolic totem pole.
The All Nations Education totem pole symbolizes the unity felt by the Wet’suwet’en, Gitxsan, Haisla, Tahltan, Nisga’a, Tsimshian and Haida people regarding the education of their people. The symbolic features represent the northwest First Nations people, and was carved by NWCC First Nations Artist in Residence students, under the guidance of Master Tsimshian Carver Heber Reece and Tsimshian Master Carver Murphy Stanley Sr.
NWCC gratefully acknowledges the Hereditary Chiefs, First Nations Council members and students who participated in this project.