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The Bishkaa program supports first year Indigenous students in their transition to Fleming College!

Bishkaa: Anishnaabemowin For "Rise Up"

The Bishkaa program starts as a summer orientation for new students and continues as a mentorship program, with upper-year students, throughout their first year.

The program is culturally centred and personalized to create a community of support before you start your journey at Fleming College.

Student Mentor Testimonials

Adrianne Sutherland-Gagnon - Ecosystem Management Technologist student Taykwa Tagamou Nation, Treaty 9

From my previous year as a Bishkaa mentee, I realized the importance in support and resources that help students like myself. Bishkaa provides a safe space for Indigenous students, by giving them positive involvement in a community. The Bishkaa program connects us to our Indigenous roots and it helps ground ourselves into our new surroundings. To me, being a part of Bishkaa and taking on this leadership role is important because I want to create a meaningful experience for these Indigenous students. Through traditional teachings, elders, and workshops, I hope to make their first year a welcoming one. I would like to see them connect and create good memories in the time spent together.

Adrianne Sutherland-Gagnon - Ecosystem Management Technologist student, Taykwa Tagamou Nation, Treaty 9
Dylan-John Garton - Paralegal student Ojibway Curve Lake

I wanted to be a Bishkaa mentor because I wanted to be able to help my fellow students, be culturally aware, immerse myself in my culture, and integrate what I have learned in the Paralegal program and the Indigenous gen eds I have taken. I believe there is more we can do in reconciliation and more we can do to grow, so being able to grow as an individual and as a community.

Dylan-John Garton - Paralegal student, Ojibway Curve Lake
Mkons Stone-Debassige - General Arts and Science – University Transfer Aamjiwnaang First Nation, Treaty 29.

I took the opportunity to be a Bishkaa mentor to help students get a step ahead, because it helped me when I was a mentee. And whether that step is friendship, academic, community… whatever that ‘step ahead’ is to each student, it helps. And for me personally, taking on a leadership role will help me prepare for my future.

Mkons Stone-Debassige - General Arts and Science – University Transfer, Aamjiwnaang First Nation, Treaty 29

What to Expect

Bishkaa Summer Orientation

  • A five-day Summer Orientation held before classes for the Fall (September) semester begin.
  • Move in early and stay in residence at Sutherland while participating in Bishkaa Orientation.
  • Team-building activities, craft workshops, introductions to several departments at Fleming College, and field trips.
  • You will also be paired with your mentor during orientation and have an opportunity to meet with local elders and knowledge holders.

Bishkaa Mentorship

The Bishkaa mentors will help guide you through your first year experience and will be able to support you by drawing on their own personal experiences as students at Fleming College. The Bishkaa mentors will work with their mentees to arrange regular meetings throughout the school year to help with academic and social supports.

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