Mount Royal University and Old Sun Community College partner for new Indigenous Business and Economic Development Program

April 13, 2022

Mount Royal University’s Bissett School of Business and Siksika Nation’s Old Sun Community College are working together to advance Indigenous business leaders with a new Indigenous Business and Economic Development (IBED) concentration that is unique in Canada at the undergraduate level.

“We are so pleased to be able to partner with Old Sun Community College for the establishment of the IBED concentration within the Bissett School of Business, which will further progress MRU's indigenization efforts and drive economic growth for Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities,” says Dr. Tim Rahilly, PhD, MRU president and vice-chancellor.

Through the IBED, Indigenous students will immerse themselves in a business and management education designed specifically for them. MRU faculty are developing 10 courses specific to Indigenous management with a strong focus on Indigenous partnerships to help guide the IBED curriculum. Examples include land-based learning, Indigenous ways of knowing, elders as co-instructors and co-operative education placements with Indigenous bands or organizations.

Dr. Andrew Bear Robe saw an opportunity for Old Sun to take the lead on implementing his vision and presented the idea while with the College’s Board of Governors. Mount Royal has a long history with the Old Sun. Once a residential school, in the 1970s leaders of the Siksika Nation took control of the Old Sun Residential School building and transformed it into the Old Sun Community College for Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) students. It was one of the first “partnership” colleges in Canada and began as a satellite campus of what was then Mount Royal College.

A Memorandum of Understanding and signing ceremony have been completed with Old Sun to mark the undertaking of the IBED initiative. Longer-term, additional Treaty 7 partnerships are anticipated with the potential to extend further as the program grows.

“The IBED program is a shared educational space rooted in mutual understanding and allyship and reflects our Indigenous worldview and community-based economic and business acumen.  This program strengthens the knowledge base of our Indigenous leaders and business administrators and provides transformative business tools to carve the path forward to community economic prosperity,” says Maria Big Snake, vice-president of Business Affairs and Government Relations at Old Sun.

For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Peter Glenn, Senior Media Relations Officer