The University of Manitoba (UM) is home to a vibrant community of more than 2,600 First Nations, Métis and Inuit students, as well as thousands of Indigenous faculty, staff and alumni.
The university recently entered a new era with the appointment of the first ever vice-president (Indigenous) to its leadership team.
Dr. Catherine Cook, who is Métis from Northern Manitoba, was appointed to the new role. Dr. Cook has been an instrumental leader in the UM community for more than 30 years, including as head of Ongomiizwin – Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing, and vice-dean (Indigenous) in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences. In her new role, she brings her insight and expertise to lead the work in advancing Indigenous engagement and promoting reconciliation at UM.
One of UM’s priorities is to create pathways to Indigenous achievement. The university is committed to weaving Indigenous perspectives and knowledges throughout its curriculum, programming, research and spaces. For example, the department of Native Studies is now offering four Indigenous language courses in Ojibwe, Cree, Michif and Dakota.
Other Indigenous events on campus that celebrate and honour the rich histories, cultures and traditions of Indigenous Peoples include weekly Fireside Chats, Métis awareness events and an annual traditional graduation Pow Wow. New opportunities include an Indigenous scholars speaker series and Unsettling Ideas book club that spark discussion around anti-racism, decolonization and reconciliation.
Indigenous students can also find a welcoming place in Migizii Agamik – Bald Eagle Lodge, a culturally rich building that includes the Indigenous Student Centre (ISC) and other units.
Every year, UM welcomes approximately 500 new Indigenous students to its campuses and seeks to create an inclusive and supportive learning environment that promotes academic success. From admission through to graduation, students can meet with ISC advisors, program coordinators and Elders for academic, cultural, financial literacy and personal advice.
The popular and successful Qualico Bridge to Success (QBTS) program supports Indigenous students as they transition into post-secondary education. This voluntary, free program offers pre-orientation programming, academic learning support, advising, peer mentoring and special events.
“Joining the QBTS program was the best choice I made as a first-year student. Not only did it allow me to overcome my worries through this great milestone but helped me see this university as my second home,” said Cree student Zoe Quill.
Registration for QBTS opens April 1. Interested applicants are welcome to contact the Indigenous Student Centre at any stage of the admission process. Students will also be notified about QBTS once they have applied to UM.
In addition to QBTS, the university offers many holistic programs and resources to support Indigenous students as they progress through their individual journeys at UM, all of which empower them to explore opportunities, navigate the university system and achieve their goals.
For more information about Indigenous programming at the University of Manitoba, visit umanitoba.ca/indigenous.