Cynthia James, one of 15 people currently enrolled in Yukon College’s new Indigenous Governance program, poses for a photo at the college in Whitehorse on Sep. 4. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Indigenous Governance program enrolment at Yukon College meets expectations: dean

Total registration at the college has seen a 15 per cent increase in the last year

As of Sept. 4, Yukon College’s fledgling Indigenous Governance program has 15 students registered — the majority of whom are Indigenous.

This comes at a time when the college itself is experiencing an uptick in enrollment — a bump of 15 per cent compared to last year. On Sept. 4, 2017 there were 665 students registered; on the same date this year there are 769.

And these numbers could change — in fact, they’re expected to, at least for the Indigenous Governance degree.

Michael Vernon, communications coordinator at the school, said administration predicts registration will climb to near 20 students as many applications remain pending.

When it comes to the makeup of this class itself, Andrew Richardson, the dean of applied arts, said on Aug. 31 that there was only one non-Indigenous student in the degree.

“It’s not a closed program,” he said, adding that the head count is about where he expected it to be.

The 90-credit undergraduate degree is being rolled out this fall and takes three years to complete.

Six new courses have been unveiled, theoretical ones built around the First Nations Governance and Public Administration certificate — “the backbone” of the undergrad program, Richardson said.

It’s slated to include a capstone project in senior years that could be land or community-based and “required electives” pertaining to topics like language preservation.

New classes include Indigenous political thinking and the courses about the intersection of worldviews — the latter of which being a philosophy class, Richardson said.

The program will help prime students for positions in self-governing communities, First Nations in general, Indigenous law, etcetera, he said — the sky’s the limit, because expertise in this area is necessary in the public sector.

“It’s hard these days, I would say, to be employed in any level of government where you’re not having to consider relations with Indigenous peoples in Canada,” Richardson said.

Cynthia James, a citizen of Carcross/Tagish First Nation, said she wants to bring back new ideas learned in the program to her community, bolstering it even more.

Having earned a certificate in First Nations Governance and Public Administration, she wants to take it a step further.

“I see that importance to serve,” James said. “It provides innovation and is also current. We’ve talked about where we’ve been and how we got here, so this is where (as First Nations people) we’re going.”

As a graduate of the college-level First Nations governance program, she said she got to advise how the degree was formed, guiding it along and offering suggestions.

“I really like the freedom of being able to dream, and dream big when it comes to our self-government. I feel that self-government is a personal realization that transcends into my membership,” she said.

As for Richardson, he said helping to bring the program to fruition has been the most rewarding experience in his life to date.

“This is the first degree independently credentialed by a Northern college in Canada. It’s a big deal, not only for the college, but the territory,” he said.

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

Correction: An editing error resulted in the original story misstating how many students are expected to take the program. The News regrets the error.

IndigenousYukon College

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Diane McLeod-McKay, Yukon’s Ombudsman and information and privacy commissioner, filed a petition on Dec. 11 after her office was barred from accessing documents related to a child and family services case. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government rejects Ombudsman requests for documentation filed to Supreme Court

Diane McLeod-McKay filed a petition on Dec. 11 after requests for documents were barred

Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens, left, celebrates his first NHL goal with defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen during the second period of a game against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 22 in Washington. (Nick Wass/AP)
Cozens notches first NHL goal in loss to Capitals

The Yukoner potted his first tally at 10:43 of the second period on Jan. 22

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

Most Read