Niitsitapi il tass ksiii nii mat tsoo kop
The Niitsitapi Learning Centre
Oki, Tansi, Bonjour, Hello, Aanii, Niit,
The CBE's Three-Year School Capital Plan | 2014-2017 outlined a future students accommodation plan which included the development of a facility to meet the needs of Indigenous students, families and community. Alberta Infrastructure announced funding for the modernization of Harold W. Riley School for this purpose (CBE, 2013).
Community involvement and input were important contributions in the design and development of the Niitsitapi Learning Centre. The Elder’s Advisory Council, community Elders, establishment of a community advisory team, which included numerous members of the Indigenous community agencies, contributed to the accommodations process and design meetings that helped create the vision of the Niitsitapi Learning Centre.
Supporting our Youngest Indigenous Learners
The Niitsitapi Learning Centre focuses on early intervention for First Nation, Métis and Inuit students aged 3 to 7 years old. We provide a strong academic foundation through early intervention in a learning environment that reflects and nurtures Indigenous identity through a holistic, strength-based, early learning approach.
The Niitsitapi Learning Centre is a culturally responsive, lifelong learning environment that nurtures mind, heart, body and spirit, and prepares Indigenous students to live in balance with both worlds.
A Community Gathering Place
The Niitsitapi Learning Centre is a communal place of gathering to deepen knowledge and understanding of Indigenous ceremonies, histories, cultures, contributions and ways of knowing for all. We want to deepen community, staff and student knowledge and understanding of the diverse First Nation, Métis, and Inuit histories, cultures, contributions and ways of knowing, being and doing.
The Niitsitapi Learning Centre is working closely with and being guided by the advice of community Elders. It is also maintaining and building key partnerships to enhance educational opportunities for the CBE and community. Families will have opportunities to participate in school events, ceremonies and Elder visits.
Supports & Services
- Onsite services and supports for registered students and their families
- Access to Elders, language instruction, family evening and weekend programs, and onsite summer camps for children
Learning Place for All
- New modernized facility, with the Circle of Nations Learning Collection embedded throughout the building
- Unique learning spaces and programs available for visiting CBE schools and staff
- Gathering place for programs, celebrations and events
- Niitsitapi Learning Centre partner and service provider programs
Our School Name
Niitstitapi li tass ksii mat tsoo kop (Niitsitapi Learning Centre)
Knee – tsi – tapi
Meaning: A Place of Learning for All Indigenous People
On Thursday June 22, 2017, National Aboriginal Week, the former Aboriginal Learning Centre received its new name through ceremony by Kainai First Nation Elder Pete Standing Alone. It had been a long journey starting in December 2015, when the CBE Board of Trustees approved modifying its naming practices to adopt the use of Aboriginal naming protocols to support naming of the new Aboriginal Learning Centre.
It was important for the name of this unique and innovative learning environment to reflect the purpose and spirit of the centre and its significance to CBE and to our First Nations, Métis and Inuit community. Since the ALC is located on traditional Blackfoot territory, CBE leaders worked to identify a Blackfoot Elder with the "rights" to naming.
Elder Pete Standing Alone, with Elder Leonard Bastien and Pete's son, ceremonialist Travis Plaited Hair, facilitated a Smudge with Elders, CBE Board of Trustees, senior Leaders, staff, students, parents and community members present.
Pete offered an explanation of the name, "Niitsitapi is what we call 'the real people', all Aboriginal or Indigenous people. The name is inclusive of all who make their homes here." Elder Leonard Bastien shared, "Use of Niitsitapi Learning Centre (as short form) was acceptable."
The Board of Trustees, represented by Chair Joy Bowen - Eyre, approved the name and praised it's meaning. Chief Superintendent David Stevenson added, "We have arrived in a good place and I am so pleased that Pete Standing Alone is leading us in ceremony today."
The ceremony was followed by a feast and was documented by video and photos, a first for the Elders. Reflecting on the beautiful space, Elder Pete Standing Alone shared, "This place will help our young people with their identity. A strong identity will help them succeed in life."