By Marci Becking
NORTH BAY – Educator Kelly Crawford of M’Chigeeng First Nation says she carries a responsibility.
“Our roles and responsibilities were meant to shape and guide us on our journey,” says Crawford who was inducted into the Canadore College’s Hall of Fame on June 3. “I suppose that is why I keep going. I have a responsibility to our students.”
Crawford is the Principal of Academics at Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute Faculty Liaison with Queen’s University and instructor for Canadore College. She is a graduate of Canadore College’s Television & Video Production, Interactive Multimedia and Business Management/Human Resource Management programs.
She also holds a Master of Arts – Integrated Studies degree with a concentration in Culture and Education from Athabasca University and Bachelor of Education from Nipissing University. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Human Studies program at Laurentian University with a current research focus of developing and interdisciplinary discourse framework to support Indigenous and non-Indigenous relationships moving forward in the classroom.
“It was at Canadore College that I started to really understand the importance of responsibility to community. It was a great learning experience. In my first program I had a professor that still checks up on me and is an encouraging supportive voice 20 years later. As I reflect on what my role is going forward I have great models,” says Crawford. “Marie Battiste was quoted in 2000, ‘Creating a balance between two world views is the great challenge facing modern educators’. 20 years later this remains one of our challenges. My role is to challenge and disrupt a system/way of doing things that simply doesn’t work. I want to encourage everyone to find their role and nourish their responsibility in this complicated relationship.”
“I am most proud of the relationships that I have developed,” says Crawford. “My relationships with students, families, staff, colleagues and Elders have been truly a gift for me throughout my entire career. I think that developing and nurturing relationships is the most important part of my journey in education.”
Author of the “We are all Treaty People” and “Gdoo-Sastamoo Kii Mi” teachers guides that are part of elementary and secondary teachers kits that are in over 2000 schools across Ontario, Crawford also contributes to various curriculum projects in Ontario.
“I look forward to the up-coming changes in First Nations education at all levels. I think we are at a critical time in education,” says Crawford. “We have the potential to change the direction of elementary, secondary and post-secondary systems to be more responsive and supportive to our First Nations students.”
Crawford is committed to eliminating cultural barriers by sharing knowledge and strengthening relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people across Ontario. She is highly respected for her work in community engagement, cross-cultural training and First Nations treaty education.