Manitoulin Island educational institute receives accreditation

Kenjgewin Teg, located on M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island, is now an officially accredited Indigenous institution in Ontario.

The organization received its credentials from the Indigenous Advanced Education and Skills Council. Indigenous institutes are the third pillar in Ontario’s post-secondary education sector, and upon a successful organization review, can offer certificates, diplomas and degrees.

"We are still part of the sector and we clearly have to delineate that we’re still going to have partnerships with our colleges and universities as we do right now," said Stephanie Roy, Kenjgewin Teg president.

"But we’re also going to have independent programs that are going to have specifically the Kenjgewin Teg seal and those will go through the rigours of a quality assurance process that the province has set out."

Roy said the process will take some time, but they'll be working closely with the Indigenous Advanced Education Skills Council to develop programs.

Speaking on behalf of the United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising Chairperson Patsy Corbiere, Chief Linda Debassige said the announcement was a long time coming.

"Kenjgewin Teg has been striving for this for many years, facing many uphill challenges for being an Indigenous-led institution," said Debassige.

"It's something they’ve been doing for many years and to achieve this accreditation, in our view, is about time."

The institute has been offering post-secondary education and training programs grounded in the Anishinaabe worldview for decades. It recently acquired more than 50 Indigenous studies courses from the University of Sudbury.

And it's now working to build a standalone Indigenous studies program focusing on Anishinabemowin (Ojibway language), land-based learning, governance, community development and reconciliation.

Roy said new programs and curriculum development will take time and additional resources over the next five years, although she said staff members are already hard at work.