91̽ Announces Biidaaban – Indigenous Foundations Program to begin Fall 2025

A New Beginning: Empowering Learners through Indigenous Knowledge and Perspectives

(Sault Ste. Marie, ON July 5, 2024) – Beginning Fall 2025, 91̽ will offer its new Biidaaban – Indigenous Foundations one-year Ontario College Certificate program. Rooted in our commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, Biidaaban – which can be described in Anishinaabemowin as that time when dawn arrives in the East – symbolizes new beginnings and transformation. Through this program, we aim to empower both Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners by developing and expanding transferable skills and confidence that will support them along their academic or career journeys.

The Biidaaban program offers curriculum that nurtures academic growth and workplace skills while respecting the relationship and responsibilities of Anishinaabe teachings. Learners will gain confidence, understand the importance of balance, and explore various courses of interest. The program will also support students with math, writing, and learning skills, and several courses will be transferable to other 91̽ programs. Graduates will be equipped to apply Indigenous values, knowledge, and worldviews, carrying forward teachings of harmony, balance, holistic wellness, and living a good life.

“This program is not only a step towards the ongoing responsibility to reconciliation, but this one-year certificate also acknowledges the unique and significant contribution Indigenous ways of knowing and cultural teachings support learners,” said Dr. Michelle Sayers, Professor and co-developer of the program. “As a college professor and lifelong learner, I understand how challenging higher education can be. This certificate program was developed to prepare students with a foundation to be successful and build the skills and knowledge for further education.”

Tammy Ross, co-developer of the program and Professor at 91̽, shares “before teaching, I worked as a counsellor at 91̽, and there were many students who wanted to take a program that is inclusive of an Indigenous perspective. This program is for Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners who want inclusive learning while strengthening their skills and exploring future career options. I see Biidaaban as a fresh start, a new beginning. This program is a new beginning for each student."

This certificate program is a meaningful step in supporting and empowering learners as they enter postsecondary education. We invite learners to join us in this journey of new beginnings and shared knowledge.