CNA, People of the Dawn sign three-year Memorandum of Understanding

Partnership focuses on indigenous training, applied research, and innovation opportunities

11/3/2021 4:06:19 PM

STEPHENVILLE, NL – College of the North Atlantic (CNA) and the People of the Dawn Indigenous Friendship Centre (PDIFC) have entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will provide meaningful opportunities for both parties over the next three years.

This agreement was signed at CNA Headquarters in Stephenville on Wednesday, Nov. 3. In attendance from CNA were: Liz Kidd, CNA President & CEO, and Trudy Barnes, Vice President Partnerships and Innovation; and from the PDIFC were: D’Arcy Butler, PDIFC President; Board member and Elder Odelle Pike; Patrick Park-Tighe, Executive Director, and Nikki Laney, Executive Assistant. As part of the MOU signing, there was a traditional indigenous prayer delivered by Elder Pike, as well as a special recipe using local ingredients prepared by Butler, who is also CNA’s Commercial Cooking instructor.

The MOU marks a collaboration on initiatives related to training, innovation, student engagement, applied research and community and economic development. All are key elements for each organization when it comes to EDI initiatives, development and delivery of unique education and training opportunities, and the exploration of opportunities with potential direct and indirect economic value for indigenous students and communities.
CNA President & CEO Liz Kidd signing a three-year MOU with the People of the Dawn Indigenous Friendship Centre .

“We are proud to be part of this innovative partnership which will allow us to enrich the lives of our indigenous students and our community as a whole,” said Kidd. “We are continuing our efforts to recognize and develop strong working relationships with indigenous leaders throughout the province. It is important that CNA’s offerings and culture embrace their needs so that we can provide the best possible environment for indigenous students and employees to thrive at our campuses. This MOU is one of many great things to come. We know that partnerships are vital for the health and well-being of our students and community members, and we strive to create as many opportunities as possible and to make CNA an inclusive place to achieve these goals.”

The PDIFC was established in 2017 and became the third Friendship Centre recognized in the province and one of more than 100 nationwide. The centre provides programming and supports on a status-blind basis to Indigenous people navigating employment, education, housing, health, and justice systems in the region as well as cultural events, workshops, and celebrations. 
At the signing of a three-year MOU between CNA and the People of the Dawn Indigeneous Friendship Centre were: CNA President & CEO Liz Kidd; PPDIFC President D'Arcy Butler; Partnerships , Entrepreneurship and Community Engagement Director Wayne Quilty; Public Affairs AVP Heidi Staeben-Simmons; AVP Partnerships & Innovation Trudy Barnes; Nikki Laney, PDIFC Executive Assistant; Patrick Park-Tighe, PDIFC Executive Director; and, Board Member and Elder Odelle Pike.

“We see this as the next chapter in our relationship with CNA with new opportunities for members of our Indigenous community for education and training,” said Butler. “This partnership will create unique and inclusive avenues in learning, practical experience, research and innovation for Indigenous students and stakeholders.  Most importantly, it will allow these students to better participate in a changing economy and workforce by giving them the tools to shape a future of their choosing.”
D'Arcy Butler, President of the People of the Dawn Indigenous Friendship Centre

The intent of the MOU is to develop and strengthen the relationship between CNA and PDIFC to work together in an open and transparent manner. Both parties have expressed interest in promoting best practices in Indigenous-focused joint initiatives, sharing knowledge and expertise. All will coincide to develop and deliver training initiatives and partnering on CNA student and graduate employment in areas, such as applied technology, project design and management, community leadership, business and natural resources.

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Media contacts:

Ryanne McIsaac
Content Specialist
College of the North Atlantic

Patrick Park-Tighe
Executive Director
People of the Dawn Indigenous Friendship Centre