Onajigawin Indigenous Services


Ontario College Diploma

Area Of Interest



2 years

Program Code



Distance Education
Rainy River (Fort Frances)


Start Dates & Ontario Colleges Program Codes: 
Fall Start (September): 0670
Fall Start (September) Accelerated program: 0671

Note: We are excited to share the following details of the transition to the NEW Onajigawin Indigenous Services program (formerly Native Child and Family Services program) (as announced on June 16, 2021). 


Onajigawin Indigenous Services will be offered every year at our regional campuses and via Distance Education starting Fall 2023

Becoming a prepared Helper!


Aanii! Boozhoo! Tansi! Taanishe! Hello! Bienvenue! Pijashig! Kwe Kwe! Tunngahugit! She:kon!

Are you committed to honouring cultural diversity? Do you want social justice for Indigenous children, families, and communities? Are you able to act with integrity, honesty, genuineness, and objectivity? Do you want to gather tools to put in your basket that focus on prevention and well-being for those that you walk with as a future helper?

If you are searching for a career that allows you to make a lasting impact in the lives of families, individuals, and communities who most need positive change, then look no further, this is the program for you!

Onajigawin Indigenous Services is grounded in Indigenous Knowledge and Pedagogy with a decolonized approach to curriculum and assessment.

Indigenous communities throughout northwestern Ontario often experience cultural, geographical and other barriers to service. Confederation College’s Onajigawin Indigenous Services program focuses on how to effectively overcome these barriers. You’ll learn how to help connect people with the services they need in their everyday lives in Thunder Bay, throughout the region, and globally.

Careers are all broadly concerned with serving families, individuals, and communities to improve quality of life, remediate problems, and coordinate services through a multidisciplinary approach. Topics covered include cultural safety and continuity; culture and language, intergenerational health and well-being; Indigenous wellness and addictions prevention; child and family well-being and reform; social aspects of aging; family conferencing in holistic ways; social justice; advocacy; governance; policy; and so much more.

Expand your ways of knowing, challenge your positionality, learn ways to decolonize and embrace indigeneity. The time for Indigenous resurgence is now!


Top Highlights

  • Graduates are eligible to register with the Ontario College of Social Work and Social Service Workers as Registered Social Service Workers.
  • The OIS program is equivalent to a Social Service Work Program offered in Ontario at a College of Applied Arts and Technology
  • Prepare for positions in a variety of human service/helper settings including child welfare agencies, women’s shelters, urban Indigenous organizations and on-reserve services

  • Field placements provide hands-on experience working with Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations

  • Also offered as an accelerated program for those with a college diploma or university degree in a related field

  • You might also be interested in our Social Service Worker program ...  

Program Learning Outcomes

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  1. prepare and present a plan for engaging in ongoing personal and professional development that promotes personal wellness and competence as an Onajigawin (being prepared for the work as a helper – preparedness).   
  2. implement responsive and relevant services for Indigenous children, youth and families that reflect the historic, legislative and intergenerational experiences of Indigenous peoples.
  3. establish and maintain therapeutic relationships that promote healing, facilitate family preservation and that support positive change for Indigenous children, youth and families.
  4. promote and support the health of Indigenous children, youth and families by using holistic assessments and culturally appropriate preventions/interventions and holistic healing practices.
  5. plan and implement accessible and responsive programs and services that are sensitive to the diverse perspectives of Indigenous peoples.
  6. establish relationships and work collaboratively with community resources, government departments and agencies to provide support to Indigenous children, youth and families.
  7. carry out effective case management tasks, as determined by relevant legislation and/or agency mandated guidelines, in a manner that is sensitive to the unique needs of Indigenous children, youth and families.
  8. advocate for systemic change that builds on the strengths of Indigenous peoples and promotes social justice while challenging historic patterns of colonialism and oppression.
My most positive experience would definitely be the friends I made in my program that I am still close with three years later. Summary Statement I am...
Sage Laliberte
Indigenous Counsellor
I am thankful I had this opportunity to study at Confederation. It has changed my life, and had pushed me to be a better person and to always continue...
Michelle Mcdonald
Constituency Assistant - House of Commons - MP Patty Hajdu
Confederation is a wonderful institution to attend. I love the faculty as they are a great team of individuals who are devoted to helping students be...
Callie Tremblay
Student 2020
Very impressed. Graduates are highly sought after from this program. How Confederation College Has Changed My life Confederation College has given me...
Kayla Berthelette
Community Support Worker - Our Kids Count (Windsor Unit)
I chose this program and Confederation College because it was more effective with the Indigenous aspects of social work. It was also closer to my...
Bridget Echum-Legarde
Teacher Assistant
Education has changed my life forever for the better and Confederation College made a major transformation in my life. I developed the skills of...
Shannon Kakepetum
Mental Health Councellor
Attending Confederation College was a pivotal point in my life. The experience provided me with the best foundation in my field that I've seen offered...
Nancy Stevens
General Counsellor
As an Native Child & Family Services graduate I can say that this program was life changing for me. In one sense it allowed me to connect socially...
Ashley Nurmela
I choose Confederation College because I have always liked what they have to offer in all areas of support to the students who attend classes here. I...
Naomi Abotossaway
Former President of Student Union of Confederation College (2011/2012)

Employment Opportunities

Graduates of this program are in high demand in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations with a focus on strengthening and empowering Indigenous families and children, and working to build healthy communities. These positions may include child welfare, youth outreach, prevention and health promotion, domestic violence intervention, community development, substance abuse treatment, policy, governance, advocacy and family healing programs.

CLICK ... to explore Careers in this field

Explore careers, current wages, employment stats, job postings, and associated education & training.

Pamela Burton

Program Coordinator
(807) 475-6220
Lianne Jackson

Lianne Jackson

Program Officer, Distance Education
(807) 475-6171
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Shawna Larson

Indigenous Programs

Contact our Recruitment Team