Haisla Nation Council has invited Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT) to establish a Northern Campus at Kitimat Valley Institute (KVI).
Haisla Nation sees a significant need for Indigenous-focused training in the North. In 2012, they established a non-profit society to operate Kitimat Valley Institute (KVI) as a private training institute. The facility already offers a wide variety of academic, technical and trades training. The LNG Canada project will increase demand for all types of training in the region, particularly for Indigenous students, women in Trades, and adult upgrading.
NVIT has been providing training since 1983 and became a public post secondary institution in 1995.
A Kitimat NVIT campus will offer an expanded number of public post-secondary courses and programs. Through its partnership with BCIT to offer a variety of Trades and technical programs, Kitimat and North Coast residents will be able to access a diverse range of training programs, many of which are currently only available in the Lower Mainland.
NVIT is currently running two full-time programs through Kitimat Valley Institute. BCIT has sponsored a branded classroom at KVI and recently offered Refrigeration Mechanic foundations in partnership with KVI and Coast Mountains School District.
“Haisla Nation understands the benefit that will come to the entire region through the expansion of high quality, accredited post-secondary training in Kitimat,” says Haisla Chief Councillor Crystal Smith. “This level of education is important for the region as we prepare workers for the many positions that will be available as part of the LNG Canada project.”
Haisla Nation Council is very supportive of NVIT’s request to the Ministry of Advanced Education for core funding for the campus and looks forward to the provincial government investing in the community towards a cause that helps develop the workforce of the largest private investment project in Canadian history.
The Nicola Valley Institute of Technology was founded in 1983 by the Coldwater, Shackan, Nooaitch, Upper Nicola, and Lower Nicola Indian Bands to offer a relevant and high quality educational experience for Aboriginal learners. Designated as a Provincial Institute under the British Columbia College and Institute Act on September 1, 1995, NVIT now operates as an accredited public post-secondary institute and is an independent and equal member of BC’s post-secondary education system with legislated authority to grant its own certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees. The Institute also has authority to jointly confer a Bachelor of Social Work Degree with Thompson Rivers University.
NVIT continues to focus its efforts on encompassing and honouring Indigenous philosophies, epistemologies and taxonomies. As the HOME of Aboriginal public post-secondary education for the Province of British Columbia, NVIT enjoys an award winning main campus situated in Merritt, BC, a satellite campus in Burnaby, BC, and in any given year partners with an average of 30 Aboriginal communities and agencies across BC and Canada to deliver community-based education. NVIT offers innovative, relevant credentials for future Aboriginal leaders in a comprehensive range of courses and programs from literacy to a four-year baccalaureate degree.
NVIT has a significant interest in establishing a campus in Kitimat.
Kitimat Valley Institute
Kitimat Valley Institute (KVI) is a private training institute, operated by a non-profit society established by Haisla Nation Council and Rio Tinto, located in a former elementary school owned by Haisla Nation Council since 2012.
KVI currently offers a range of training, some in partnership with accredited post-secondary institutions, some with industry partners such as United Academy (United Rentals), and some as contractors, for example, customized cultural awareness training for LNG Canada.
Kitimat Valley Institute is uniquely positioned to manage the training needs in Kitimat. Kitimat Valley Institute does not currently receive any base funding; programs are funded through support from partners including Haisla Nation Council, Rio Tinto, LNG Canada, as well as grant funding.
Haisla Nation Council
The Haisla Nation Council is the band government of the Haisla people. Their mission is to build a powerful, prosperous and proud community, healthy in mind, body and spirit. The Nation believes in building a strong and thriving community, with healthy and happy members and a sustained and prosperous environment. The Haisla Nation has approximately 1800 people, with the majority living in Kitamaat Village. Haisla have lived off the land and waters of their traditional territory for thousands of years, and it remains the focus of all they do. They believe that careful and appropriate economic development will bring the Haisla people necessary self-sufficiency.
The Haisla recognizes that in order to attain strength and independence the Nation must work together – with government, business, the community, and internally – with a spirit of respect and partnership.
Haisla Nation Council recently passed a Band Council Resolution (BCR) supporting the establishment of an NVIT/BCIT campus in Kitimat.
Kitimat is a district municipality in the North Coast region of British Columbia. The city was planned and built by the Aluminum Company of Canada (Alcan) during the 1950s. Kitimat’s municipal area is 242.63 km2 (93.69 sq mi). It is located on tidewater in one of the few wide, flat valleys on the coast of British Columbia. The 2011 census recorded 8,335 citizens.
On October 1, 2018, Royal Dutch Shell and its Asia partners gave formal approval to an estimated $40 Billion investment into the construction of a new LNG port terminal project named LNG Canada.
In response to Indian Control of Indian Education (1972), NVIT was constructed over thirty years ago with the intention of improving the quality of life for Aboriginal people of the Nicola Valley. Today this, now, global vision is reinforced through the emerging landscape to Indigenize education through the adoption of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP).
NVIT responds to community needs throughout British Columbia and Canada by ensuring public post-secondary education remains accessible and relevant. In being committed to the NVIT vision, NVIT not only continues to support our communities and create Indigenous academic space, but also expands our Indigenous circle of belonging among those with whom we serve.
This commitment is fundamental to our operating approach. Through the use of Elders, Indigenous curriculum, a First Nations Board of Governors, and a highly committed group of employees, NVIT meets the needs of indigenous students better than any other post secondary institution in the country. With a large Indigenous population in the Northern part of British Columbia, the opportunity to create a Northern campus of BC’s Indigenous Public Post-Secondary institution should not be passed up.
The Kitimat community includes a significant Indigenous population and will be an important centre of economic development in British Columbia. Kitimat requires increased access to post-secondary training and education that is sensitive to the needs of the community and respects the significant investment that Haisla Nation and industry have made to create a training institution that reflects their training and cultural priorities.
Since 2012, the Kitimat community has not had an active public post-secondary provider. Kitimat Valley Institute was established as a private Indigenous post secondary institution which has done a tremendous job in partnering with public post-secondary institutions to meet the needs of students in the area.
However, with the lack of provincial funding, Kitimat Valley Institute has recognized the need to have a public post-secondary institution establish a campus in Kitimat.
NVIT has had an interest in establishing a Northern campus for many years.
After meeting with the Board of Kitamaat Valley Education Society and being invited through a Band Council Resolution by the Haisla Nation to establish a campus in Kitimat, NVIT is now seeking support and funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.
NVIT’s establishment of a campus is a long term investment. They would start with a small satellite campus that is able to temporarily grow and meet immediate training demands of LNG Canada, but also be sustainable once the terminal is built and the training demands subside. NVIT believes that through the establishment of a Northern campus, they will not only meet the needs of Kitimat and the Haisla Nation, they will also have an opportunity to reach Indigenous students in the north who are not currently attending post-secondary, but who will choose to attend NVIT’s Northern campus.
Kitimat Valley Institute is currently offering two NVIT programs – Environmental Natural Resources Technologist and Aboriginal Early Childhood Education. They also provide Adult Upgrading and trades training in partnership with BCIT.
BCIT will be a significant partner and has the expertise to deliver in demand training for the LNG sector. NVIT has been in discussion with BCIT and they are excited about the opportunity to partner to deliver training in the Kitimat Valley. BCIT has an existing relationship with KVI so this transition should be relatively seamless.
Additional programming that may be required will be met by either creating new NVIT programs or through partnerships with other public post secondary institutions.