Find out how Anishinabek Educational Institute is adapting its programs to help Indigenous learners on their educational path during COVID-19.
I CHOSE Anishinabek Educational
On the outskirts of North Bay, Anishinabek Educational Institute (AEI) is an initiative of the Anishinabek Nation to provide its people with the tools they need to succeed in their careers, within a culturally supportive environment.
Education development officer and former student
I chose the Native Early Childhood Education (ECE) program because I wanted to work with my community in the future. I was taking another ECE program, but it didn’t have the native component and I felt that was something I needed. It’s very one-on-one here so it appealed to me. After the program I worked as an ECE for three years in day cares in Ottawa and then up on my reserve. I applied to AEI first as a teacher and then as a coordinator because it seemed like a natural progression.
Our students are here on campus for two weeks and then return home to work on their assignments at their own pace. We’ll go visit them in their communities to give clarification on assignments, help with tutoring, and just to check in and see if there are any questions. We’re very personal, and the quality of relationship that we are trying to build is really an extension of how we are here while they are in class.
I was asked to be grandmother at AEI to provide cultural support for the teachers and students. It was something I had heard about and I always wanted to know what kind of supports I could provide. I attend classes like the students, pay attention to what we are being taught and I ask questions that they normally might not ask. A lot of the time I provide my life experiences and just my general knowledge of having lived life.
They like our presence. They say we are comforting. We take the stress off the subject material with laughter, by sharing a funny story, singing a song, or giving them a teaching, and it helps them to relax. I wish I had had that cultural support when I was in school, because being in college is such a different experience. You’re away from your family. Having the cultural connection at the school helps with their success. To have that grandmother or mother figure in the classroom and on campus, it’s just like being at home.
Student wellness coordinator
When I saw this job, I knew that I wanted it because I wanted to give back to my community, my people. When I had gone to university, I kind of got lost. The supports at my university were nonexistent. And when I went to college, the Indigenous programming was completely shut down. No one knew me.
When students come here, I want them to know that I recognize them. Because it is small and I know each and every one of them, I have that understanding about what is going on in their lives. When things happen, it’s easier to be like, okay, they’re going through something right now, how can I assist them? We’re flexible. If students have work or babies, we work with them to make sure they have what they need. At AEI we are repairing some of the damage that has been done by residential schools, by providing education and enriching our people with culture.
Location & Contact
AEI’s main office is located on the Nipissing First Nation, with programming offered at two satellite campuses on Fort William First Nation and Munsee-Delaware First Nation.
Interested in exploring the Anishinabek Educational campuses?
Anishinabek Educational Institute
1 Migizii Miikan
P.O. Box 711 Hwy. 17W
North Bay, ON P1B 8J8
Toll Free: 800-334-3330
Phone: 705-497-9127, ext. 2267
Toll Free Fax: 800-884-6833
Fort William Campus
300 Anemki Pl., Suite A
Fort William, ON P7J 1H9
Toll Free: 800-334-3330
533 Thomigo Rd.
Muncey, ON N0L 1Y0
Toll Free: 800-441-5904