Sunday, September 22, 2019

Indigenous Governors Gathering

I had the opportunity to participate in the Indigenous Governors' Gathering last Friday (Sept. 20/19). The event was organized by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training. It was facilitated by Jess Vassey (assistant Deputy Minister, AEST) and Deborah Jeffrey (Executive Director, First Nations Education Steering Committee). Minister Melanie Mark attended the opening and morning sessions of the gathering. This is apparently the first time ever that First Nations governors from the post-secondary education system have ever met as a group.

The power of a meeting like this is that it brings us together to be able to share with, listen to, and support our relatives and to realize that we are not alone in working to ensure that the authority and jurisdiction of First Nations are being paid attention to in the post secondary education sector. It was inspiring to hear Minister Mark speak of her personal experiences and how that motivates her to ensure the government's mandate to build and strengthen First Nations education is addressed by the colleagues and universities of BC. It was powerful to hear the voices of Indigenous governors from across our province. It reminds one that while we share similar histories of colonialism and historic marginalization this is felt and experienced differently across the regions. But it also demonstrates that things are changing and, despite ongoing issues, a lot is improving and that we are sitting at the table of power, shaping our collective future.

Like many in attendance I look forward to gatherings like this becoming a regular aspect of post-secondary governance.

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