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NU hosts workshop on supporting Indigenous students

​Nipissing’s Office of Indigenous Initiatives, Enji giigdoyang, recently hosted a day of professional development for local educators aimed at building safer, more inclusive schools.

The workshop was run by the Centre ontarien de prévention des agressions (COPA). It centred on the COPA created toolkit, Joining the Circle, designed to support safe, strong and inclusive schools. This original resource was created by COPA in partnership with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation through a grassroots approach in collaboration with First Nations, Métis and Inuit families and community leaders, and educators.

COPA, which stands for “Centre ontarien de prévention des agressions” is a Francophone provincial non-profit organization whose goal is to prevent child abuse and promote positive social change. They create resources such as storybooks, videos, and guides geared towards supporting First Nation, Métis and Inuit learners.

The session took place in the Treaty Learning Centre and welcomed educators from Nipissing First Nation Education, Near North Schools, and the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board. Twenty-one educators participated, as well as three Indigenous students from Nipissing’s Schulich School of Education.

Nipissing’s Office of Indigenous Initatives initially partnered with COPA in 2016, and has been utilizing their resources ever since. Biidaaban: Circle of Caring was co-developed by Nipissing University education students using a toolkit created by COPA for Indigenous parents and families.

Facilitators Mohini Athia and Deb St. Amant shaped the session around Joining the Circle. Topics for discussion and reflection included pride and identity, understanding racism and discrimination, building and strengthening relationships with families and nurturing safe and healthy schools and communities.

The guide outlines important histories and information about current issues ranging from Treaties, to the Indian Act, the legacy of Indian Residential Schools, Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. The resource is a great tool for educators to begin to gain greater understanding of how they can best support Indigenous students within their classrooms and schools.

“When Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its report in 2015, there was a clear call to educational institutions to take responsibility for leading the way in addressing the challenge of reconciliation between Canada’s Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous peoples. It is rewarding to see Nipissing University engaged in this process by hosting workshops like this, and educators from our region incorporating these discussions into their classrooms and schools,” said Tanya Lukin-Linklater, director of Nipissing’s Office of Indigenous Initiatives.

For more information about COPA, please see their website:

For more information about the Treaty Learning Centre:

Nipissing University
100 College Drive, Box 5002, North Bay, ON, Canada  P1B 8L7
Tel: 705.474.3450 | Fax: 705.474.1947 | TTY: 877.688.5507
Brantford Campus
50 Wellington St.
Brantford, ON, Canada N3T 2L6
Tel: 519.752.1524 | Fax: 519.752.8372

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