Since 1970, University nuhelot’įne thaiyots’į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills (UnBQ) has been a locally controlled Indigenous education centre serving the academic and training needs of people of all cultures, encouraging everyone to experience studying in a unique socio-cultural and academic environment. As an Indigenous non-profit educational institution, a prime objective is to promote a sense of pride in Indigenous heritage and reclaim traditional knowledge and practices. We take great pride in ourselves as an Indigenous institution whose collective leadership style and academic programs are grounded in traditional Indigenous knowledge, ancient sacred wisdom that has been transmitted orally over several generations through ceremony, language and land based teaching. Blue Quills, guided by the seven member First Nations, will facilitate the process of proactive change in learning. The college environment will reflect our cultures, values, ancestral knowledge, traditions and relationships, nurturing learners to achieve their individual goals and meet the collective need.
The Blue Quills Literacy Centre follows an Indigenous literacy model as mandated and validated by the seven governing nations. This model includes programming for Indigenous Worldview, Reading, Writing, Family Literacy, Indigenous languages, and Relationships. The Blue Quills Elders Senate endorses the inclusion of Indigenous Language and Culture in the Indigenous Literacy model.
The Blue Quills Social Work education at Blue Quills is designed to prepare students for generalist social work practice, committed to addressing issues of social justice and oppression, and founded on Indigenous knowledge and practice. Students examine both Indigenous and Western paradigms, explore the environments that have shaped their own development, and identify helping and healing practices that flow from both world views.
The Language Program was developed in response to the growing awareness of language loss that exists and the desire for effective strategies for language revitalization within our communities. Blue Quills’ role is one of supporting language teachers and providing language education to the communities we serve. These goals will be achieved through immersion programming and application of practical and task based learning. We offer the Bachelor of Arts in Cree, a Bachelor of Arts in Dene, and a Masters in Indigenous Language.
This program is deliberately different from conventional western academic programs in philosophy, epistemology, and delivery. There is no candidacy exam, students are encouraged to collaborate on research projects employing Indigenous knowledge and methodologies, and are invited to contribute to the growth of Blue Quills and Indigenous knowledge transfer by designing and delivering courses on campus. Regular gatherings of the cohort will support shared learning. At the conclusion of the program students will make an offering to a circle of witnesses, presenting shared and individual portfolios.