First Nations Centres and Aboriginal Services in Universities in Canada
Many schools in Canada have a specialized department or center for aboriginal people. These services are designed for students of Status Indian, Non-Status Indian, Métis, and Inuit ancestry. Approximately 43% of Canadian post-secondary institutions have these services, and can range from a single advisor specializing in aboriginal issues to full-blown Cultural Centers.
As Aboriginal students statistically have a higher percentage of coming from lower-income families, many schools have implemented specific scholarships and bursaries for those students. These awards can range from small cash amounts to waiving the full tuition fees for an entire year, depending on the institution. Within Canada, several schools have exceptional scholarships and bursaries for Aboriginal students: First Nations University of Canada (30+ awards), University of Regina (20+ awards), University of Alberta (17 awards), Grant McEwan College (16 awards), and UBC (15 awards). Other schools have awards available as well, but not on the scale as these institutions.
Academic and Career Guidance
Even if a school only has a single advisor for Aboriginal students, they will almost certainly be able to render academic assistance. Issues like admission guidelines, course selection, tutoring, and the transition to school life are covered here. Also, career services can be offered and available jobs posted.
Schools that have comprehensive Aboriginal services and a dedicated Centre will often offer social activities that reflect Aboriginal traditions. Events such as meetings, language lessons, ceremonies, and pow-wows will be held at these Centres. University College of the North, UNBC, Sault College, Mount Royal College, and Algonquin College are all examples of schools with an actual Aboriginal Center that can host many of these activities.