During the last 10 years I have had the opportunity to meet First Nations, Métis and Inuit community leaders in addition to representives from major Indigenous organizations including Indspire. This experience allows a good basis for working with the Tla’amin Nation on issues of mutal importance.
In 2008 ago my wife Susan and I started the Verna J. Kirkness Science and Engineering Education Program. The Program addresses the under-representation of First Nations, Métis and Inuit students at Canadian universities. The Verna J. Kirkness Education Foundation (http://www.vernajkirkness.org) offers scholarships to Indigenous grade 11 students to support a week of hands-on education at a Canadian university where they can interact with scientists and graduate students in their research laboratories. During their week on campus students have the opportunity to meet Indigenous role models, other high school students from across Canada, explore hands-on research in university labs, live in residence, complete fieldwork, learn about the support systems available to them on campus, and experience the excitement of living and doing research in a university environment.
As of June 1, 2018 the Kirkness Program will have hosted 402 grade 11 FNMI students at the Universities of British Columbia, Calgary, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ottawa and the First Nations University of Canada. The Program has hosted 13 Tla’amin students at both the University of Manitoba and the University of British Columbia. Three students are finishing their week at UBC today May 18, 2018.
A recent article in the Calgary Herald covered the Kirkness Program University of Calgary May 7-11, 2018.