Confederation, Humber and Seneca Partner to Promote Indigenous Leadership through Proposed New Degree Program



Greenstone (Longlac)
Lake of the Woods (Kenora)

Thunder Bay and Toronto, Ontario - June 29, 2021 – Confederation College, Humber College and Seneca are collaborating to develop an Indigenous Leadership degree program.

The inspiration for the new program is the institutions’ collective response to the continued, critical need to advance Indigenous learning and contribute to a process of decolonization and reconciliation. Designed to restore and revitalize customary Indigenous leadership, the proposed degree program will prepare graduates to build capacity in community, economic, social and cultural development.

Content for this degree will be informed by an Indigenous Leadership degree program established by Confederation College in the early 2000s. Curriculum will be based on Indigenous Knowledges, customs and practices reflective of the diverse Nations in northwestern Ontario, central and southern Ontario. It will be jointly designed, developed and offered by the three institutions in a partnership founded on Indigenous principles of relationship building, sharing and respectful, reciprocal engagement.  

The collaboration outlined through a signed Letter of Intent will address shared priorities of creating learning opportunities that are accessible, flexible and responsive to the needs of Indigenous students and their communities. Partners will engage Indigenous Peoples and communities throughout the program’s development with the goal of understanding their priorities, interests and aspirations.

Confederation, Humber and Seneca will begin work immediately to develop the degree program, with the goal of having it ready for approval by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities in winter 2023. Once developed, curriculum and related materials will be made available to any publicly-funded college interested in adapting and delivering all components. It is also anticipated that the degree will facilitate new pathways for Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners.


“Confederation College is pleased to partner with institutions who share our vision of breaking down systemic barriers to create a better future for us all. This proposed program affirms our collective priority to cultivate and support new leaders who will be prepared with the knowledge and skills needed to advance Indigenous leadership and advocate for anti-racist and anti-oppressive solutions and systems.”
- Kathleen Lynch, President, Confederation College

“We’re excited to be partnering with Confederation and Seneca to explore the development of this critical new program. Our strategic and academic plans outline our strong commitment to Indigenous education, and this initiative shows how we can work together to support Indigenous communities across Canada.”
- Chris Whitaker, President and CEO, Humber College

“Seneca is delighted by our partnership with Confederation and Humber to build this unique degree that will highlight the many ways leadership is demonstrated within Indigenous Knowledge and culture. I am especially proud that, once completed, curriculum and resources will be shared across the Ontario college system.”
- David Agnew, President, Seneca

“Confederation was the only college to offer an Indigenous-specific degree program in Ontario when it first introduced the ‘Indigenous Leadership and Community Development’ program in 2003. The revitalization of this program symbolizes hope for our communities and indeed, all of Canada. Together with Humber and Seneca, we are taking concrete action to preserve Indigenous Knowledges and ways of knowing, while supporting Indigenous Peoples and communities to practice self-determination.”
- S. Brenda Small, Vice President, Negahneewin Research Centre, Confederation College

“At Humber, we’re always providing new programs and services in which Indigenous teachings and knowledge are learned. This empowers and prepares students for their lives and future careers. I look forward to our ongoing discussions with Confederation, Seneca and Indigenous communities across the country as this new program develops.”
- Jason Seright, Dean, Indigenous Education and Engagement, Humber College

“The nature of this partnership reflects multiple aspects of the Indigenous lived experience.  Giving students access to education about northern and urban Indigenous realities in Ontario will provide future leaders the right training for all situations upon graduation.”
– Mark Solomon, Dean, Student Services and Indigenous Education, Seneca


Confederation College has been serving the citizens of northwestern Ontario since 1967 meeting the educational needs of students in a catchment area of some 550,000 square kilometres. Along with its main campus in Thunder Bay, Confederation College has seven regional sites located in Dryden, Fort Frances, Greenstone, Kenora, Marathon, Sioux Lookout and Red Lake, as well as a growing Distance Education division. Confederation College delivers exceptional education and training to an average of 7,000 combined full- and part-time students per year and currently has a total of 600 full- and part-time employees. Confederation’s regional economic impact and contribution is valued at $707.3 million annually. Learn more:

Humber College Humber College is focused on our students' future. As a global leader in polytechnic education, Humber students receive in-depth theoretical learning and hands-on experience with applied research and extensive industry connections. Humber provides career-focused education to more than 33,000 full-time and 23,000 part-time and continuing education students across three campuses. A comprehensive range of credentials, including honours undergraduate degrees, Ontario graduate certificates, diplomas, apprenticeships and certificates, prepare career-ready global citizens to move seamlessly from education to employment. More than 86 per cent of Humber graduates are employed within six months of completing their studies. Visit

Seneca is taking on the great challenges of our time – rebuilding the economy, equity and sustainability – while navigating through the pandemic safely. We’re delivering great polytechnic education that combines rigorous academics with practical training. From health care to technology, business to creative arts, community services to arts and sciences, we help students get ready to make their mark in the world. We’re #SenecaProud of our expert faculty, excellent staff and outstanding facilities. We have deep connections with industry and offer thousands of co-op and work placements to get our graduates job-ready. Full-time or part-time, in-person or online, students choose the option that suits them. Learn more:


For more information, please contact:

Katherine Brooks, Communications Officer
[email protected] | 807.632.5680

Nadia Araujo, Media Relations and External Communications Specialist   
[email protected] | 416.580.1364 

Samantha Marren, Media and External Relations Specialist
[email protected] | 416.491.5050 ext. 28424