Aboriginal Services hoping it creates funding awareness
By KENNETH BELLIVEAU
Everyone who came out to see and hear Bob Rae speak, also heard the personal stories of those who have been positively affected by Conestoga College’s Aboriginal Services.
Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae came to visit the college as a part of his tour of post-secondary institutions and job sites across Canada.
Rae was greeted by Conestoga’s aboriginal student group with a drum circle and First Nations dancing. Myeengun Henry, manager of Conestoga’s Aboriginal Services, used Rae’s visit to make people aware that his department still has not received word from the Ministry of Education that it will be funded next year.
This leaves their status after March up in the air.
Henry said Rae’s visit made him ecstatic.
“A lot of people don’t know we are out there and that we offer help to anyone and not just aboriginal people.”
Henry said he was pleased with the turnout and he admired the way people seem to want to get involved.
“During the presentation I was looking around to see the looks on everyone’s face. Most people seemed to be deeply moved by what was going on.To see them out, wanting to learn more is a good start.”
Rae spoke about how the government hopes to see more students involved in trade apprenticeship programs, including aboriginal students, an area in particular that has low enrolment.
Henry said that having someone like Bob Rae supporting Aboriginal Services’ need for funding helps create awareness.
“I want people to know that there are success stories and not just poverty. We are hoping to get more aboriginal youth involved in different career paths.”
Henry said he is optimistic that by working with Rae and the Liberal Party they can secure the funding for next year and the following years.
“We were in a circle with the leader of the Liberal Party, the president (John Tibbits) and our students.
“The first step will be working with the country of Canada.
“We are trying to incorporate the fastest-growing population (aboriginals) in Canada into the economic development of this country,” Henry said.