Aboriginal Initiatives at Nipissing University

Courtney_BindaCourtney Binda, from Wawa, Ontario is interested in pursuing a career in education. She has just completed her final year in the Bachelor of Physical and Health Education and in the fall will be continuing with a consecutive Bachelor of Education degree at Nipissing’s Schulich School of Education. With the small classroom sizes, smalltown feel and outstanding reputation for the Bachelor of Education program, Nipissing seemed like the right choice. Having a strong athletic background and a passion for teaching, Binda fit in to these surroundings nicely. While schoolwork keeps her busy, Binda makes sure she finds time to volunteer with the Aboriginal Initiatives Office. She has been involved in different projects which have allowed her to experience different elements of the education system. “I was situated at Nbisiing Secondary School, a local First Nations high school,” she said. “This program offered students an opportunity to create a cultural project to share with their school and community.” In addition to this, Binda worked as a Tutor Facilitator through Aboriginal Initiatives and Biidaaban, Community-Service Learning. She was the assistant coach of the local high school’s badminton team and a youth coach at the YMCA and currently is a Coordinator for the Science, Engineering and Mathematics Camp offered at Nipissing for the summer. “Throughout my four years at Nipissing University, I have had other countless rewarding opportunities that have allowed me to express my unique teaching style,” she said. Going forward, Binda is excited to achieve a career teaching health and physical education at the high school level as she seems well-equipped to make this dream a reality. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Lorraine Sutherland, from the James Bay area, also moved to Nipissing specifically to pursue her education, knowing that was exactly what she wanted to do. She first completed a Teaching Assistant program at Nipissing to be certified and then pursued an Aboriginal Teaching program at Queen’s University. She became a certified classroom teacher in 1999 and began teaching in 2000. Her interest in learning and passion for teaching brought her back to Nipissing in 2003 to get her Bachelor of Education. Her education continues. Currently earning her Master of Arts with a specialization in History, Sutherland’s thesis is a source of pride. Entitled, “My Mother’s Stories” Sutherland discusses the background history of education in Canada including the experiences of those who had to endure life in residential schools. “It has been an emotional experience from beginning to end,” explained Sutherland. “Having to read reports from the past—it was devastating to read about the kind of history we have in Canada. But it’s important to bring forth the stories of our ancestors.” She credits Nipissing and the Aboriginal Initiatives Office with helping her achieve her academic goals as she finds the professors to be very open-minded and understanding. She too has been involved with the summer programs Aboriginal Initiatives offers, including summer camps, has been a student counselor, translator and has been active in sharing her stories and experiences while going through school. The Aboriginal Initiatives Office is a way for her to give back to the community that she feels has been so immensely compassionate and supportive of her pursuits. “I really don’t think I would be where I am today if I had not had this kind of support,” said Sutherland.