Aboriginal Services

Students filling offering satchels

Who we are

As a part of Okanagan College’s commitment to enhancing the participation of Aboriginal learners, the College provides Aboriginal support services at each of the four campuses.

Our goal is to provide culturally relevant support including:

  • visiting Elders
  • cultural and academic workshops
  • Aboriginal peer mentors
  • Aboriginal Student Centres
  • Aboriginal awards, scholarships and bursary information
  • assistance with band funding applications
  • providing personalized daily supports
  • computer access

Book an appointment

Book and appointment through our online booking system. Need Assistance? Contact us.

Ask a question

Have questions about how Aboriginal Services can support you? Fill out this short survey and we will contact you shortly.

Applying to OC

Application steps

Explore program information and decide which program and campus interests you. Review program requirements, admissions, and minimum grades needed.

Our dedicated Aboriginal Transitions team is here to help you plan out your application, review admission requirements and provide guidance on available funding. They can also help you explore your options if you are unsure of which program to pursue. If you have detailed questions about programs, transfer credits or laddering to another program, please see Education Advising to contact an OC Education Advisor.

Meet the team

Talk with your First Nations or Métis Associations Education Coordinator, college Financial Aid staff, college Aboriginal Transitions Planners or community employment counsellors.

To submit an application you can apply online. There is a $30 non-refundable application fee. If you have detailed questions about programs, transfer credits or laddering into another program, please see Education Advising.

Once you apply, you will receive a student number and login information for myOkanagan. You can then see the status of your application and check on required documents. The College will email you about your application status.

The following are a few things to consider when applying:

  • On the first business day of October each year Okanagan College begins accepting applications for academic programs for Fall programs starting the next year.
  • The grade and percentages listed in the admission requirements are the minimum grades required to enter a program.
  • Okanagan College may cease to accept applications for a given intake if the number of applications submitted greatly exceeds enrolment capacity. Early application for all programs is strongly advised.

Okanagan College is committed to increasing the access to, and completion of education for students with Aboriginal ancestry. The College will annually set aside a predetermined number of spots specifically for students with Aboriginal ancestry; this number being commensurate with student interest, available classes and learning support resources. While the number may vary from program to program, it will not normally exceed six percent of the intake capacity for any given program in a particular year.

Academy of Indigenous Scholars

Information about the Academy of Indigenous Scholars

Once in the Academy, students work with an Aboriginal Services staff member to create an achievement plan based on their own needs. Students will work through their plan for the duration of the year.

It’s important to us that we enhance your experience according to your diverse needs. Being a student at Okanagan College is not just about academics, but also about addressing physical, emotional, and spiritual needs as well. The Academy of Indigenous Scholars will help students enhance their experience in all these areas.

Eligibility for the Academy of Indigenous Scholars

Indigenous students that see an interest in partaking in this program are encouraged to apply . To be eligible for the Academy you must:

  • Be an Indigenous student (someone who self-declares as having First Nation status/non-status, Métis or Inuit ancestry)
  • Be a first-year or first-time student to Okanagan College, or feel you could benefit from additional supports
  • Attend an in-person interview with an Aboriginal Services staff member to gauge your willingness and suitability for the program

Apply to Academy of Indigenous Scholars

Interested students can take full advantage of the Academy of Indigenous Scholars by applying to the Academy. Students will receive an email from an Aboriginal Transitions Planner to arrange a meeting after they have submitted their application.

Each student will receive a log book that is meant to help students carry out their own achievement plan. It’s up to the student to carry out the plan’s recommendations.

Resources

Sponsorship

If you are sponsored by your First Nation, Aboriginal organization, employer or government agency, your sponsor must provide a signed letter to Okanagan College. The letter will be used to bill your sponsor. The sponsor letter should contain the following:

  • Your full legal name that you are registered with at Okanagan College
  • Your student number
  • What type of charges the sponsor is willing to pay on your behalf, providing as much detail as possible. These charges could include the non-refundable tuition deposit, tuition fees, mandatory fees, student association fees, health, dental, books, supplies, material fees or any other billing items
  • The maximum allowable amount the sponsor is willing to pay per term (if there is a maximum)

The sponsor should also send a copy of the letter to you, so you have a copy on file if you need to show it to the Registrar's office or Bookstore.

All sponsorship letters and documentation can be faxed or mailed to (regardless of the campus the sponsored student will be attending):

All sponsorship letters and documentation can be emailed to (AccountsReceivable@okanagan.bc.ca), faxed or mailed to the address below (regardless of the campus the sponsored student will be attending). All sponsorship letter should be submitted into Finance prior to the fee payment deadline. Your sponsor will be billed at a later date.

Note: Information will not be released to your sponsor without an information release form signed by you. You can add the sponsor's name under "Consent to Release Information" on your myOkanagan student page. To learn how to release your information look under the Other Information page.

Mailing Address:
Finance
Okanagan College
1000 KLO Road
Kelowna, BC, V1Y 4X8

Fax:
250-862-5479

Awards

Okanagan College offers up to $75,000 annually to support Aboriginal Students.

Find out more about awards available through Financial Aid and Awards.

AANDC Aboriginal Bursaries Search Tool
The Aboriginal Bursaries Search Tool is a searchable list of more than 750 bursaries, scholarships and incentives across Canada.

Indspire Awards
The Indspire awards used to be known as the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (NAAF) has grown into the largest non-governmental funding body for First Nations, Inuit and Métis post-secondary students across Canada.

Bursary and scholarship awards are provided to over 600 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students in a range of areas. The Indspire awards have given over $32 million to over 8,400 recipients since its beginning.

Indspire offers financial aid (scholarships and bursaries) through three major categories: Post-Secondary Education, Fine Arts and Cultural Projects, and Health Careers.

Irving K. Barber BC Aboriginal Student Award
The B.C. Aboriginal Student Award was established in 2008 as part of the Provincial Government's strategy to improve Aboriginal access and achievement. Its purpose is to support Aboriginal people in getting post-secondary education by reducing financial barriers.

The Scholarship Society administers the program in partnership with the Victoria Foundation. Awards of $1,000 - $3,500 are available for Aboriginal people pursuing post-secondary education that is at least nine weeks long.

Assistance for former children and youth in care

Provincial Tuition Waiver Program
Starting in September 2017, students who are attending or planning to attend a BC public post-secondary institution may be eligible for this tuition waiver program. Click on the link above for more information on eligibility criteria and application form.

Youth Education Assistant Fund
Full-time students who were adopted or in foster care as children may be eligible for this grant. Click the link above for more information on the eligibility criteria and application form.

Events and important dates

21
Sep
Penticton campus
22
Sep
Kelowna campus
23
Sep
Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon, Salmon Arm, Virtual campuses
23
Sep
Virtual campus
24
Sep
Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon, Salmon Arm, Revelstoke Centre campuses
25
Sep
Kelowna campus
28
Sep
Penticton campus
29
Sep
29
Sep
Virtual campus
30
Sep
Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon, Salmon Arm, Virtual campuses
02
Oct
Kelowna campus
05
Oct
Virtual campus

Aboriginal Education Council

The UBC Okanagan's campus (UBCO) and Okanagan College (OC) Aboriginal Education Council (Council) provide OC and UBCO with advice, recommendations and guidance to improve the participation and success of Aboriginal students in OC and UBCO programs. Through collaborative and inclusive engagement, the Council assists OC and UBCO in identifying educational needs and goals of Aboriginal peoples, while also enhancing Aboriginal cultural understandings within the respective institutions.

Learn about the Aboriginal Education Council

Meet the Aboriginal Services team

Marilyn Alexis

Aboriginal Transitions Planner | Education Advisor
Office: Main Building A306
Campus: Vernon
Phone: 250-545-7291 ext. 2284
Marilyn Alexis, Aboriginal Services

I'm a member of the Lower Similkameen Nation but was born In Vernon, B.C. I was raised on both the Lower Similkameen and Okanagan reserves. After graduating from Vernon Senior Secondary, I attended Trinity Western University and completed both my Bachelor of Science degree (majoring in Biochemistry) and my requirements for Naturopathic Medicine. I spent three additional years training with Wild Rose College in Vancouver and completed my preceptorship during the summer months at the Naturopathic Clinic in Penticton, B.C. While raising my children, Willow and Sage, I decided to change career paths and work for Okanagan University College as an Academic Advisor and First Nation Mentor. I've worked with OUC and OC for the past seven years. I'm energetic, supportive, and I encourage students to persevere and to not quit. I always say your first year is the big challenge, and when someone says you can’t, I know you can.
 

Jewell Gillies

Aboriginal Transitions Planner
Office: Student Services Building 124B
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4498
Aboriginal Services Jewell Gillies

Jewell is Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation on the West Coast (Wolf clan). They come from 5 plus years working as an Aboriginal Student Advocate for School District 23 (Central Okanagan). In that time Jewell has fostered enduring relationships with their students, their families, and the community supports to provide a holistic and authentic support for Indigenous youth. Their goal has been to provide cultural/spiritual practices and teachings as well as support a student’s sense of understanding of their indigenous identity as part of their overall educational journey.

Jewell's work experience prior to advocacy was in the criminal justice system serving as a Police Officer for the City of Vancouver Police Department for over 5 years. They are passionate about connecting with their community and providing them every opportunity possible to see success in their life goals. Jewell feels very fortunate to be able to raise their young child in the traditional territories of the Okanagan people and spends as much time as possible out exploring the hiking/biking trails and beaches.

Anthony Isaac

Aboriginal Services Coordinator Seconded to: Indigenization, Project Manager
Office: Student Services Building 111H
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4322
Anthony Isaac, Aboriginal Services and Indigenization

Anthony is currently Seconded to Indigenization, Project Manager

Anthony joined Aboriginal Services at Okanagan College in 2014. He is Ojibway, and belongs to the Ajijaak Indoodem (Crane Clan) and comes from Bkejwanong Territory, otherwise known as Walpole Island First Nation located in South Western Ontario. He earned a BSc degree in Health Sciences at the University of Western Ontario. Continuing in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Anthony completed his Master’s degree in Occupation Science, focusing his photovoice research on the occupational injustices faced by First Nations youth as they pursued post-secondary education. He has over 15 years of experience working in Indigenous education. Anthony feels honored to live, work and play here on the traditional and unceded territories of the Syilx Okanagan and Secwepemc peoples.

Diyame Derrick Caterer

Aboriginal Services
Office: Salmon Arm Building 184A
Campus: Salmon Arm
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 8275
Diyame, Aboriginal Services

She:kon, I am Mohawk/Irish (maternal) and English/Scottish (paternal). My traditional teachings are from the Nlaka'pamux Nation (Lytton, BC). I have kinship ties with both the Splatsin and Adams Lake Bands.

I have worked in Indigenous Education since 2008 for both School District 73 (Kamloops) and 83 (Salmon Arm), most recently as the Indigenous Education Worker at Salmon Arm Secondary; Sullivan campus for the past eleven years.

I have been immersed in Indigenous education for most of my life, through the work that my father did developing the NITEP program in the 1970’s. My mother, who is a psychologist, works from the Indigenous worldview/perspective and has worked with Residential School Survivors for approximately 35 years. I had the privilege of supporting her clients while I ran her office for seven years and was witness to several IRS Hearings and supported survivors as they experienced the Statement of Apology to former students of the residential schools live, in 2008.

My two beautiful children are Splatsin Band members and the centre of all that I do. My parents and Aunties are my mentors and my guides in everything that I do. I rely on my traditional teachings daily, as well as my wonderful husband.  

I am so excited to be here at Okanagan College and continue to support Indigenous students to create powerful foundations for themselves, their children, their families and their communities.

Nia; wen

Request a Viewbook

Want to browse our programs? Or perhaps explore a department's offerings a bit more? Request a Viewbook or other brochure from the Aboriginal Services team.