Current Indigenous Top Ten

August 21, 2019

UAlberta Indigenous law centre gets federal boost

The University of Alberta’s Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge will be working with Indigenous communities to better access, understand, and apply Indigenous laws. “For a century few, if any, Canadian lawyers ever asked the question about how First Nations on the prairies regulated their societies and relationships and dealt with the same issues that common law, Western law dealt with,” said David Percy, UAlberta’s Interim Dean of Law. “The lodge is a great example of an academic institution listening to Indigenous communities and organizations. Canada will be better off for the work being done here and elsewhere across the country.” The initiative has received $134K in funding from the Government of Canada. CBC | Edmonton Journal (AB)

Time for a major education reform, says NWT minister

Northwest Territories Education Minister Caroline Cochrane has called for major reform in the territory’s school system. "We're failing our children, our graduation rates are low, our early developmental index is coming in low, it's not OK,” said Cochrane during the Legislative Assembly earlier this month. "Our children are our future — we keep saying that. As a society, we have to put our energy, our resources behind it, and the next government has to focus on that.” CBC reports that in the 2016-17 school year, only 8% of Grade 9 students in small communities achieved acceptable standards in standardized math tests, and only 17.7% had an acceptable score in English language arts. Cochrane stated that a reform would see Indigenous governments take a larger role in education, adding that it was time to begin engaging with Indigenous governments: “They have a right, they have concerns, and we can’t solve this on our own.” CBC (NWT)

VCC offers first-of-its kind certification program for Gladue report writers

Vancouver Community College will be offering a Gladue report writing program this fall, which the college says is the first certificate program of its kind from a Canadian post-secondary institution. The program is designed for law students, lawyers, advocates, judges, Indigenous court workers, and others with an interest in this topic. Gladue reports stem from a Supreme Court decision stipulating that judges must consider “unique systemic or background factors” that may have resulted in an Indigenous person encountering the justice system. Students of the program will learn about the impact of colonization; conducting interviews with people who have experienced trauma; and capturing a person’s “sacred story,” which includes discovering experiences that shaped them since childhood. VCC (BC)

FNTI builds greenhouse to support Indigenous Food Systems degree

The First Nations Technical Institute is constructing a greenhouse to support its new Indigenous Food Systems degree. FNTI reports that the build was specifically conceived to support the new standalone Bachelor of Science in Indigenous Food Systems program. Slated for delivery in September 2020, the new degree program will provide students the knowledge and skills needed to improve food sovereignty. “The greenhouse can be used to address two critical issues that affect Indigenous communities: food security and our relationship to food and diet,” said Luke Jeffries, Indigenous Food Systems program coordinator at FNTI. “This program and the food grown within the greenhouse will expose students’ minds and palates to a wide variety of ideas and tastes and will begin to change their relationship with food and the Earth.” NationTalk (ON)

NLC returns Loon River site to full campus status

Northern Lakes College’s Loon River Site will be returning to full campus status in September 2019. The site has been a Community Access Point since 2013, but has seen growing demand for programming and proven enrolment. “Providing students with the opportunity to live at home while developing skills and furthering their education is a priority for Loon River First Nation,” said Loon River First Nation Chief Ivan Sawan. “We have made, and will continue to make, financial contributions in the investment in education for our members and community.” NLC (BC)

Canada’s faculties of medicine commit to improving Indigenous health

The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada has approved a Joint Commitment to Action on Indigenous Health that will aim to train medical students to better serve Indigenous communities. AFMC Indigenous network chair Marcia Anderson said that the commitment was made in response to the TRC, and that she hopes it will bring consistency to “highly variable” Indigenous health initiatives at schools across the country. The commitment includes several action items related to relationships with Indigenous communities, admissions, the medical school environment, curriculum, and post-graduate education. University Affairs | AFMC (National)

Welding camp partnership with Wabanaki Communities

The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada has approved a Joint Commitment to Action on Indigenous Health that will aim to train medical students to better serve Indigenous communities. AFMC Indigenous network chair Marcia Anderson said that the commitment was made in response to the TRC, and that she hopes it will bring consistency to “highly variable” Indigenous health initiatives at schools across the country. The commitment includes several action items related to relationships with Indigenous communities, admissions, the medical school environment, curriculum, and post-graduate education. University Affairs | AFMC (National)

Canada invests in new K-12 school for KI First Nation

A new school will be built in the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation community, thanks to a $42M investment from the Government of Canada. The new school is expected to be constructed by Fall 2021, and the new K-12 school will accommodate nearly 400 students. “Every child deserves access to a high-quality education, regardless of where they live. First Nations children in the Kenora riding, and across Canada, are no exception,” said Bob Nault, Member of Parliament (Kenora riding). “Children should be able to complete their education at home, in their own community and once the new school is completed, educators will be able to meet the community’s unique needs and provide culturally appropriate programming and language supports.” Net News Ledger (ON)

MtA plants Indigenous gardens

The Mount Allison University community and members of the Fort Folly First Nation have embarked on an Indigenous garden project. Fourth-year student Raven Elwell has been working to establish several Indigenous gardens on campus, which include local plants with important meanings and uses in Indigenous culture, and marking plant species with new signage in English, French, and Mi’kmaq. “We’ve worked with the University to design several gardens. One focuses on the medicine wheel, and another is called the Three Sisters garden, which includes corn, beans, and squash,” explains Jesse Popp, MtA Geography and Environment professor. “We’re looking forward to sharing these with the campus and wider community in the fall.” MtA (NB)

Canada invests in early learning in the GTA

The Government of Canada has announced $1.8M in funding for seven early learning and child care innovation projects in the Greater Toronto Area. The projects will take on challenges such as synthesizing and consolidating research and resources into accessible tools; developing and testing an enhanced, accelerated ECE training program in Ontario; and creating a network of employers, labour unions, Indigenous representatives, and more to develop solutions to ELCC workplace challenges. “The early years of life are critical to a child’s development and future well-being,” explained Adam Vaughan, Member of Parliament for Spadina—Fort York. “As the needs of Canadian families evolve, we are committed to finding creative solutions to ensure our kids have the opportunity to experience the kinds of quality early learning that will help them build the skills needed to succeed.” Nation Talk | Canada (Project Backgrounder) (National)