Our Educational Approach
Driven by a Single Motive
To give Indigenous students a college designed specifically for them with a learning environment that reflects their cultural differences, social backgrounds and interests—that’s what inspires Kiuna.
Kiuna’s objective is simple: equip this generation to take on the challenges it faces at the individual, community or national level.
Promoting Indigenous Cultures and Innovation
Since Kiuna opened its doors, it has upheld these values on which its educational approach is based. To fulfill its ambitions, Kiuna relies on the unyielding support of a team who continually imparts these values that set the tone of the college. Involvement, aptitudes, and attitudes—Kiuna has great expectations for its staff who take pride in conducting themselves in an exemplary fashion.
Receptiveness and Understanding at the Very Heart of Kiuna
Kiuna is a dynamic and innovative college, deeply rooted in Indigenous cultures. Kiuna’s staff has to deal with issues including a sociocultural context that may present a challenge for non-native professionals who are unfamiliar with First Nations cultures and realities. To meet their goals, the college and its personnel have to think outside the box and explore new paths. This may involve rearranging class time to make room for more opportunities for learning or interaction with influential First Nations members.
Place for Debate and Reflection
On world affairs of course, but primarily on First Nations issues in areas including education, health, history, politics, art and literature. Kiuna’s team guides students in reflecting on their individual and collective situation beyond the pernicious image perpetuated by the media and mainstream society or present within their immediate, community circles. Comparing contexts, testing theories put forth by Indigenous thinkers around the globe, and contemplating how to build a better world, these are a few of the ways Kiuna students develop their critical thinking skills. Another way to broaden their perspectives is to leave the classroom to attend cultural, social or political events and demonstrations: a forum on the economic future of First Nations, a gathering of First Nations women, a theatre production by the Ondinnok Theatre Company, etc. In line with the spirit of the college, the participation of human resources from our communities is emphasized and prioritized.
One-of-a-Kind Educational Project
Getting a college for First Nations off the ground is a long-term endeavour. A project like this implies entirely rethinking course content, not only to include relevant examples adapted to the Indigenous reality, but also to highlight Indigenous theories and concepts in all their nuances and details, beyond the insipid preconceived ideas that we all too often hear. To do so, we do away with working in silos where each teacher focuses solely on his or her field of expertise.
At Kiuna, we firmly believe a collective, team-based approach is needed to develop course content and teaching methods, plan and evaluate multidisciplinary activities and projects, and lead the college community. Students benefit from this cooperative approach put forward by a staff that has strong leadership abilities in this area. Kiuna guides and supports its teaching staff by keeping a close watch over course content and teaching methods.
Kiuna has the latest learning and communications technologies. Long distances are no longer an obstacle to having access to cultural and intellectual resources. Through videoconferencing, students can interact with guest speakers from all over the world in the comfort of the classroom: a Gitxsan artist living in Vancouver, a Cree author based in Toronto, a Maori methodology specialist in New Zealand. The possibilities are only limited by the teaching staff’s initiative and expertise. For this reason, teachers are required to maintain and regularly update their network of contacts in the Indigenous community, particularly within their discipline.
Unwavering Dedication to Excellence
Adapting course content and the education structure to the realities of First Nations is certainly no excuse for lowering expectations for students. On the contrary, excellence must be pursued at all times, in the classroom and beyond. Stretching one’s limits, social involvement and having a thorough grasp of concepts and intellectual tools are milestones that must guide the leaders of tomorrow along their path to success.