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Indigenous education advancement: learning from the Maori success
Okanagan College Media Release

An international scholar and global leader at the forefront of transforming Maori and Indigenous education will be in Kelowna this week to share insights into how communities can benefit from fostering meaningful relationships with Indigenous peoples.

Dr. Graham Hingangaroa Smith will share his expertise during a free public presentation on Friday, Aug. 18 at 4 p.m. in room H115 at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College.Dr. Graham Smith

Dr. Smith’s life work has been dedicated to building up the emergence of Maori Education Studies through the development of immersion schools (elementary to post-secondary level). He has played a key role in negotiations and settlements with the Maori and New Zealand government and has worked to ensure that Maori knowledge and presence is pervasive throughout New Zealand.

“Dr. Smith's commitment is not only to Maori interests but to the transforming potential of Indigenous knowledge and praxis globally,” says Dr. Bill Cohen, Indigenous Studies professor and Okanagan-Syilx educator at Okanagan College. “He has resolutely, and respectfully, worked to ensure that actual positive change was, and is, occurring.”

The Okanagan visit is a return one for Dr. Smith: in 2005 he received an honorary Doctor of Literature from Okanagan University College (OUC).   

Okanagan College proudly operates on the traditional territories of the Syilx and Secwepemc peoples. An Indigenization Task Force was created to fulfill the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan’s vision of the institution’s ongoing commitment to working with, and learning from, the Indigenous Community.

“The College has a demonstrated strong track-record of engaging with the Aboriginal community and of supporting our Indigenous students with their educational goals,” says Cohen, who leads the task force. “But we can do more. That’s where the task force comes in. Our goal is to take a good look at the College’s offerings and how we can develop meaningful knowledge relationships across departments, programs and courses.”