Aboriginal Initiatives: Pathways to Lakehead

Throughout its history, Lakehead University has developed strong connections and partnerships with the First Nation, Non-Status, Metis, and Inuit peoples of Northwestern and Central Ontario as well as Canada. We have sought to develop innovative programming that honours and celebrates Aboriginal heritage while providing culturally appropriate support for the next generation of Aboriginal learners.

Aboriginal Cultural and Support Services (ACSS)

For individuals of Aboriginal ancestry, Lakehead University's ACSS provides a culturally supportive environment for First Nation, Non-Status, Metis, and Inuit learners.

Through a wide range of academic, individual, cultural and transitional services and support, the ACSS assists Aboriginal students in reaching their academic goals. All students have access to the Aboriginal Resource Centre and Lounge, which consists of an Elders' room, computer lab, relaxation area, and a place to study or visit with peers.

Learn more about: Aboriginal Cultural and Support Services (Thunder Bay Campus)

Access Programs

Lakehead University offers two special entry pathways for Aboriginal students to gain admission. The Native Access Program (NAP) and the Native Nurses Entry Program (NNEP) are both designed to increase opportunities and successfully integrate students into Lakehead University. 

  • You are of First Nation, Inuit or Metis ancestry.
  • You are a mature student who does not meet the general admission requirements
  • You require additional academic support and skills to become eligible for admission to  University-level programs.

NAP offers you access to tutoring, personal counselling and a culturally sensitive support network designed to provide an environment where you can reach your goals.

NAP gives students an opportunity to take charge of their future while learning new skills  in all areas of their lives: accepting personal responsibility, discovering self-motivation, mastering self-management, employing interdependence, gaining self-awareness, adopting lifelong learning, developing emotional intelligence, and staying on course to their personal and academic success!

NAP students are currently enrolled in English, Math, Science, Indigenous Learning and University Transitions. These courses provide the foundation for an undergraduate degree and build confidence in taking next steps towards achieving your personal and professional goals.

For more information, contact: 

Jerri-Lynn Orr
Phone: (807) 346-7709
Email: nap@lakeheadu.ca

Native Access Program website

Native Nurses Entry Program (NNEP)

The Native Nurses Entry Program is a nine-month preparatory program designed to increase opportunities for Aboriginal people to gain access to, and be successful in, the Lakehead University four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (for NNEP students with a minimum 70% average) or the three-year compressed Bachelor of Science in Nursing (for NNEP students with a minimum 80% average). The program consists of two semesters (twelve weeks each) as well as a two-week field placement. Upon successful completion of the NNEP, the student is then promoted to the first year of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Lakehead University.

The NNEP consists of four academic courses as well as three specialty courses and follows the nine-month academic year.  Every effort is made to incorporate cultural teachings within the curriculum content whenever possible. To date, 65 students, primarily from northern Ontario communities to name several such as Sandy Lake, Muskrat Dam, Deer Lake, Fort William, Pic River, Gull Bay, Moosefactory, AnimbigooZaagi'igan, Seine River, Flying Post, and Round Lake, have graduated with a BScN. 

The program is well developed, preparing Aboriginal students for the rigours of Lakehead University's four-year BScN program. The BScN curriculum embraces Primary Health Care and the social determinants of health as frameworks to understand the health experiences of all people, including Aboriginal people.

With our focus on northern, rural and remote health care, our graduates are equipped to work in Northwestern Ontario in a variety of settings, including nursing stations. Most, if not all, of the NNEP/BScN graduates are working with Aboriginal people to support their health goals. This degree also allows them to pursue further education towards a graduate degree in nursing or the Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner credential.

For more information contact: 
Sandra Cornell
Phone: (807) 343-8768
Email: sdcornel@lakeheadu.ca

Native Nurses Entry Program website

Learn more about Aboriginal Initiatives

Meet Exceptional Students and Alumni

Rebecca Yesno

Preparation for a Nursing Degree After having two kids I often wondered about returning to school...

Rebecca Yesno, from Constance Lake First Nation, is gaining the pre-requisites and skills for a Nursing degree through the Native Nurses Entry Program. Read more about Rebecca

Keri Cheechoo

Native Access Program is a Stepping StoneLakehead University's Native Access Program (NAP) has allowed me to successfully navigate mainstream university...

Keri Cheechoo, from Long Lake #58 First Nation, began in Lakehead's Native Access Program before going on to complete a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education, and a Master of Arts. Read more about Keri.









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