Seven Generations Initiative

By giving to this initiative you are supporting local and international scholarships and enrich our Indigenous programming.

Seven Generations is a vital and integral part of the school's identity, curriculum, and student experience. It grew in part out of an understanding that Indigenous students encounter barriers in accessing and succeeding in postsecondary education, leading to a gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous educational outcomes. The federal government recognizes and prioritises addressing this issue. Although more Indigenous students are entering post-secondary education, the achievement rate remains lower than that of non-Indigenous students.

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The first Indigenous student attended RLC in 1992, and we’ve had students from local communities enrolled at the school every year since. In 2016, in response to the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report and the 94 Calls to Action—particularly those related to education and the legacy of residential schools—RLC commissioned its own process of consultation with the local Indigenous communities. 

The result was the Seven Generations Initiative. It was supported by a desire to see RLC emerge as an independent school leading with a pedagogy that celebrates Indigenous traditions of teaching, learning, knowledge, and culture. It would address the barriers–geographic, personal, institutional, financial, and cultural–that Indigenous students may encounter. Per the strategy document written in 2018: “As a small independent school in a remote natural setting in traditional Anishinaabek territory, one with a long-standing partnership with local First Nations, RLC is uniquely positioned among Canadian schools to take a leadership role in education for reconciliation.” 

The Seven Generations Initiative provides a culturally sensitive pathway through secondary education to higher education. RLC is positioned as a preparatory school for Indigenous youth who would benefit from a transitional step from elementary school to life at university or college. Band funding and RLC scholarships offered to Indigenous students ensure that those who can benefit are able to access the school. A full range of Indigenous perspectives is represented in the classroom, on faculty, and on the board of directors. 

During the course of the last thirty years we have built a trusted relationship and a fine reputation with local communities. We currently have 13 Indigenous students at the school, 7 of which are boarding students. Of 32 Indigenous alumni graduates, 26 are College or University graduates and one is a Doctoral student. We now have six families where alumni have children at the school.  Local Indigenous families come to RLC with their children to explore the opportunity we offer. This trusting relationship is a remarkable accomplishment. We have also built partnerships, including one around the development of RLC as a regional centre for the sport of lacrosse.

For all students who attend RLC, the Seven Generations Initiative aims to foster a sense of community and responsibility, encouraging them to take action to create positive change in the world. The values and sensitivities of the Seven Generations Initiative are universal and transferable. The teachings from the Seven Generations Initiative are globally relevant—they infuse the values of respect, love, honesty, humility, truth, wisdom, and courage—leading to a more equitable and environmentally sustainable future. 

This exceptional, possibly unique, program is funded by local Bands and parents and philanthropy from Kelly Carrick ‘86 and family. At best this combined funding covers the marginal cost of educating the current students. Our ambition is to have an appropriately funded national program where Indigenous students consistently make up 15% of the school population. This requires us to provide fully funded scholarships - both local and national. 

We also aspire to have specialist Indigenous faculty and bring in ‘visiting’ Indigenous knowledge holders (eg: beaders, drummer, artists).  It is a further ambition that Seven Generations Initiative contribute to RLC capital needs and have the program come from abundance rather than scarcity. Your donation to this program will further RLC’s objective to become a center of excellence in relationship building and celebrating Indigenous teachings and culture.

  • Individual (local) Student Scholarships: With our present model the local Bands pay a portion of the fees and parents make a contribution. The shortfall between this funding and our fees is currently around $6,000 per year for day students ($20,000 for boarding). The shortfall is currently covered by RLC subsidies and philanthropy from the Carrick Family. We wish to gather external funding for 7 Day Scholarships the cost of each would be $6,000 pa (for either 2 or 4 years) and 7 Boarding Scholarships the cost of each would be $20,000 pa (for either 2 or 4 years).
  • National Scholarships: We believe RLC should offer some spaces for Indigenous students from across Canada. The ambition would be to have funding secured for 5 full scholarships within a decade. The annual cost of a National Scholarship would be $75,000 per annum for a minimum of 2 years.
  • Cultural Enrichment: The further enrichment of the current Seven Generations Initiative could be accomplished if funding were available to bring in external knowledge holders on a regular basis. This could include; beaders, carvers, drummers and other artists.  We’d like to find $25,000 per annum to enable this.
  • Contribution to Capital: Ideally the program should also provide capital for the further planned development of the campus: Recreation Centre, STEAM Complex and eventually the Welcome Centre. The students enrolled through the Seven Generations Initiative represent around 15% of the student population, so we would like to raise a $630,000 capital contribution toward the Recreation Centre and a $900,000 capital contribution toward the STEAM Complex.
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As a small independent school, in a remote natural setting in traditional Anishinabek Territory, RLC is in a unique position to take on a leadership role in Education for Reconciliation.

– Kelly Carrick ’85