Lakehead University's Niijii Indigenous Mentorship Program, currently delivers educational programming and a hands-on experience to thousands of Indigenous youth throughout Northwestern Ontario. The program frequently visits regional school classrooms to conduct a multitude of activities, experiments, and motivational challenges. Niijii matches experienced university students (at the undergrad, graduate and post-graduate levels) with Indigenous high school students from all across the Thunder Bay region to create a positive connection that both inspires and assists the high school student in thinking about post-secondary through learning about science and cultural based activities.
The purpose of the Niijii Indigenous Mentorship Program is to increase Indigenous elementary and high school students' interest in a wide variety of educational subject areas and to present students with future career opportunities in a safe and supportive environment; while ultimately enabling and encouraging students to come to the university campus to provide further educational opportunities, and to build their confidence in a post-secondary setting. The program works diligently to show these youth that they have a place in post-secondary education by showing them evidence and relevance of Indigenous content in often Eurocentric subjects such as history, science, language, technology, and engineering. Our investment in Indigenous youth is built on trustful partnerships to inspire and facilitate educational opportunities, employment options, and the building of capacity and sustainability within our northern communities. The ultimate mission of the Niijii Indigenous Mentorship Program is to demonstrate to every high school student that post-secondary is attainable, and that there are many different pathways to get there.
- Lakehead University has one of the highest percentages of First Nations, Métis and Inuit students among Canadian Universities.
- Self-identified Indigenous students attending the Thunder Bay campus represent 14% of our total student population.
- As a leader amongst First Nation education attainment, Lakehead University has a proven track record and expertise in providing culturally appropriate programming and initiatives for our students and stakeholders.
- Given our location within Northwestern Ontario, Lakehead University is uniquely positioned to reach out to Indigenous youth not only in Thunder Bay, but in rural and remote communities as well.