Hotıì ts’eeda issued its recommendations for the education department’s plans for the polytechnic university.
Hotıì ts’eeda is a research support centre hosted by the Tłı̨chǫ government, for organizations and researchers involved in NWT health and health research.
While the organization said in a statement that Indigenous students can thrive there, they mentioned several changes needed to to be made to the proposed governance structure of the polytechnic.
The organization said hiring an Indigenous chancellor and a president that has experience working in education in the north were needed.
“The polytechnic university will serve primarily Indigenous students from the NWT, who will thrive in an institution that is culturally safe and builds on Indigenous strengths,” Dr. John B. Zoe, Chairperson of Hotıì ts’eeda said in a statement.
“It can be a leader nationally in innovative, Indigenous-strengths based education that meets national standards.”
Both Zoe and Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox, Scientific Director of Hotıì ts’eeda said the school should implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples while focusing on the specific circumstances for NT’s Indigenous people.
The school’s plans have faced criticism for their governance structure recently, notably from Yellowknife Mayor Rebecca Alty.
The plan for how Aurora College will transform into a polytechnic, the “transformation implementation plan”, is yet to be released, but Aurora College’s strategic plan for the next three years were released in October, and its corporate plan was released last week.
“Hotıì ts’eeda commends the consultation and planning work of the Department of Education, Culture, and Employment on the polytechnic university. The new institution will be an engine for the NWT’s knowledge economy,” Irlbacher-Fox said in a statement.
The polytechnic university is expected to formally launch in May 2025.
Correction: in a previous version of this article, it said hiring an Indigenous chancellor and a president that has experience working in education in the north were part of the education department’s proposal. They were part of Hotıì ts’eeda’s recommendations for the college. MyYellowknifeNow regrets the error.