Red Crow celebrates 25th year of educational vision

Feb 8th, 2012 | By | Category: 23-3: Technology and Culture, Tribal College News

RED CROW CELEBRATES. President Marie Smallface-Marule commended the students at Red Crow Community College’s 25th anniversary celebration. Photo by RCCC student Ron Goodstriker

At a two-day event in September, Red Crow Community College (RCCC, Cardston, Alberta, Canada) celebrated its 25th anniversary.

The celebration began with an open house, tours, displays, and speeches at its satellite campus in Lethbridge, Alberta. The next day featured a feast and powwow at the main campus on the Blood Reserve, Standoff, Alberta. The theme of the event was “Kiksimstannooi (Visions) 25 Years of Higher Educational Success.”

“Celebrating the 25th anniversary of Red Crow Community College is an achievement for which we can all be proud,” says President Marie Smallface-Marule. “The celebrations paid a special tribute to the many accomplishments achieved in its 25-year history.”

RCCC was established in 1986 as a First Nations education institute. The tribal college started as an adult education center, offering two high school courses, a university and college preparation program, a University of Lethbridge course, and a study skills component. In the late 1990s, the college formed the Kainai Studies Department, which incorporated uniquely designed courses built upon Blackfoot and Kainai worldviews.

In its 25-year span, RCCC has evolved into a complete post-secondary institution offering diploma and degree programs in partnerships with Mount Royal University, Lethbridge College, Bow Valley College, Sinte Gleska University, the University of Calgary, Athabasca University, and University of Lethbridge. Adult upgrading, continuing, and community education remain a critical focus of the curriculum.

RCCC is accredited by the First Nations’ Accreditation Board and sponsored into the Alberta Council of Admissions and Transfer through partnerships with the University of Lethbridge and the University of Calgary. RCCC has also developed an academic library with more than 15,000 items in its collection focusing on First Nations, Native American titles, and a Blackfoot special collection. The resource center has membership in numerous library associations in Canada and the U.S.

RCCC has benefitted from the dedication and vision of past directors such as Alvina First Rider, Pierre dePaola, Marvin Fox, Jim Wells, Esther Tailfeathers, and Joyce Good Striker. Many others were instrumental in the establishment and growth of the tribal college, including the present board of governors, Blood Tribe chief and council, the Elders Advisory Council, student representatives, and the Kainai Board of Education.

Staff members Genevieve (Jenny) Fox and Marie Smallface-Marule were with the college in its formative years and have continued to be key players. Other key players are Roy Weasel Fat, vice president of Academics; Henry Big Throat, vice president of Student Services; and Joyce First Rider, Arts and Science coordinator. Each has been instrumental in academic programming and student services.

“The successes of our students over the past 25 years was made possible by their fine efforts and the support they received from their families, community, chief and council, the board of governors, and the staff of Red Crow Community College,” says President Smallface-Marule.

The highlight of the event was the powwow where Kainai Studies Eminent Scholars were presented with degrees, Elder’s Advisory Council members were honored, and awards were presented to staff with more than 15 years at the tribal college. The powwow also included headdress ceremonies and Blackfoot name-giving ceremonies, concluding with an RCCC honor dance and giveaway.

For more information about academic programs at RCCC, call (403) 737-2400.

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