Helping Indigenous learners achieve their dreams

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As Indigenous learners gain the skills they need at NBCC to transform their lives and communities, the Indigenous Student Bursary Program provides them with financial assistance to help them achieve their dreams.

One of those students is Jonah Simon, a second-year Police Foundations student at the Miramichi Campus. He received a bursary in his first year, and has applied again this year.

“When I received that, it was a weight off my shoulders,” said Simon. “It took quite a bit of weight of responsibility away. It went to bills, groceries…..and it allowed me to concentrate more on my schooling, instead of on worrying about bills.”

Simon’s NBCC journey started more than a decade ago, in 2008. That’s when he first enrolled in the Police Foundations program, however, he needed to take some time off to assess his options and determine what he wanted to do with his life.

He returned to College in 2018 and is making the most of his time as a student, appreciating the care and support he and his fellow students receive from staff.

“I’m the Vice-President of Athletic for the student council, and I participate in all the awareness days and activities that are going on,” he said. “I’m as involved in student life as I can be.”

To help students like Simon pay for their education, NBCC hosts a biennial fundraising Indigenous Gala, Gelu’g Maw-a-Paw. Since 2015, this celebration of Indigenous culture in support of Indigenous learners has raised more than $50,000 for the Indigenous Student Bursary Program. Through its partnership with Indspire, NBCC has leveraged those funds to provide even more financial assistance to learners.

The 2019 Gala will feature a performance by We Are Wabanaki, a group brought together by Natalie Sappier-Samaqani Cocahq, a celebrated Wolastoqiyik inter-disciplinary artist from Tobique First Nation. Sappier serves as artistic director, production manager and, sometimes, performer, as storytellers, drummers and dancers come together with visual and media artists to present a rich narrative about the Wabanaki peoples.

“The purpose of this coming together of artists is to share the stories of this land through Wabanaki voice, presented by Wabanaki people,” said Sappier.

The event name, Gelu’lg (Gel-uulk) Maw-a-paw, honours New Brunswick’s First Nations cultures. It means “awesome gathering” in the Mi’kmaq (Gelu’lg) and Wolastoqiyik (Maw-a-paw) languages. For ticket information, please visit https://nbcc.ca/events/gala

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