RRC Polytech’s Indigenous Support Centres provide a safe space for students to access supports and explore Indigenous culture

By: Abigail Wall

Located at the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses, Red River College Polytechnic’s Indigenous Support Centres provide a place for students to smudge, access cultural teachings, and spend time with friends.

“This is a safe place to learn about the culture,” said Brittany Ross, a navigation coach on the Indigenous Student Supports team.

Navigation coaches work with students one-on-one to provide assistance with navigating the campus, problem-solving, and accessing community services.

“I want to kick down as many barriers as we can for all students,” Ross said.

A hand-painted sign hangs outside the Indigenous Support Centre at RRC Polytech’s Notre Dame Campus on Friday, Dec. 9, 2022. (Abigail Wall)

The Indigenous Student Support Centres are a place where all students are welcome to explore and learn. The centres house a kitchen, study area, and a lounge.

At the centres, the Indigenous Student Supports team provides tools and resources to help students succeed. According to the Indigenous Student Supports website, the team uses a holistic approach to address the needs of each student’s mind, body, spirit, and heart, in order to help them reach their personal potential.

“I come here every day I can. It truly is my second home,” said Rayne Ryle-Cote, a culinary student at RRC Polytech.

Ryle-Cote is also known by her spiritual name, White Buffalo Woman.

“It means rare and strong,” she said.

Earlier this year, White Buffalo Woman overheard two students making a racist comment. She said she immediately went to the Indigenous Student Centre, where she found reassurance and support.

“RRC Polytech really does care. They take the time to care,” White Buffalo Woman said.