Current Indigenous Top Ten

November 14, 2018

Concordia, Cree Health Board, Boscoville partner on certificate program for Cree youth workers

Concordia University, in partnership with the non-profit youth organization Boscoville and the Cree Health Board, has introduced a new certificate program for Indigenous youth workers. A Concordia release states that the certificate is the culmination of a partnership between Cree Health and Boscoville that began in 2016. “[Concordia Continuing Education] is providing instructional design support to Boscoville to ensure alignment of program objectives, outcomes and assessment,” said Isabel Dunnigan, Associate-VP and Executive Director of CCE. Concordia says that the program’s first cohort will graduate in 2020. Concordia

UNB Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre launches educational resource on Wabanaki people

The Mi'kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre at the University of New Brunswick has launched an online resource that provides access to Wabanaki history, reports CBC. Centre Director David Perley told CBC that the initiative was prompted by requests for historical resources on the Wabanaki dating as far back as the 1990s, but that there were virtually no references to be found. “And especially not any resource that was written by or produced by Wabanaki people — the Wolostoqiyik, the Mi'kmaq, the Passamaquoddy and the Abenakis,” he added. According to CBC, the collection includes treaties from the 18th century, several productions from the National Film Board, language learning apps, and interactive maps that feature Wabanaki legends. CBC

UManitoba Indigenous students say racist posters symptomatic of larger issues

CBC reports that Indigenous students at the University of Manitoba remain uneasy after racist posters bearing the message “It’s ok to be white” were discovered on campus. According to several Indigenous students interviewed by CBC, racial tensions are prevalent at UManitoba. “I've been dealing with this for three or four years,” said Chance Paupanakis, National Executive Representative of Circle of First Nation Mé​tis and Inuit Students with the Canadian Federation of Students. “I have students coming to me saying, 'I don't feel safe,' and they feel like their existence is being questioned.” UManitoba has condemned the posters, and both the university’s security service and the Winnipeg police are investigating. “It just goes to show that racism isn't only something that elders are upholding,” said student Jack Theis. “It's the younger generation as well, and we have to be vigilant of that.” CBC

McGill students hold referendum on team nickname

The Students’ Society of McGill University is holding a referendum that asks if the university should rename its men’s sports team, currently nicknamed the Redmen, reports the Canadian Press. “I think it’s a healthy sign. The fact that the petition exists and that there are people willing to take it on as an issue for them, I couldn’t be happier, really,” said Rick Montour, a chief on the Mohawk Council of Kahnawa:ke. “Over time I think people have changed. People are learning to question: ‘Really, is that OK?”’ SSMU states that it will release public letters in support of the name change before McGill Provost Christopher Manfredi takes up the issue with a working group. Manfredi stated that the decision “must emerge from a process that engages all relevant stakeholders in conversation, drawing us together while building on a sense of shared community and dedication to McGill University.” SSMU Indigenous Affairs Commissioner Tomas Jirousek, the driving force of the online petition and a member of the McGill rowing team, encouraged the institution to move away from working groups and tasks forces and understand the “need for expediency in changing the renaming of the Redman Team.” NationTalk (CP)

Land-based education and food forest at Muskeg Lake Cree Nation a success

Muskeg Lake Cree Nation has built a new land-based education centre named the kihiw waciston school, which is Cree for “eagle’s nest.” The construction of the open concept cabin-style building is nearly completed, but the school has already begun offering land-based activities, according to Principal Jack Rayne. “The kind of reactions that we get from our students is priceless,” said Rayne. “[Our students] learn in different ways and one of the biggest ways is the hands on, having them learn hands on by going out to the land and actually getting their hands dirty.” The building provides students with a place to process rabbits, skin moose, and prepare hides. The school offers classes in picking and tying sage, picking and braiding sweet-grass, preparing different types of meat, and preparing traditional foods for feasts. The nation also recently planted a food forest that saw local children help to plant cherry and apple trees. “[The kids] were really excited… they really got into it and you could tell they were digging right in,” said Canadian Feed the Children community program coordinator Glenna Cayen. “We had elders there as well, so [we're] really grateful that they participated.” CBC

Pauquachin First Nation, Kelset Elementary students unveil canoe after year of collaborative work

After over a year of work between Pauquachin First Nation carver Curtis Henry and students of Kelset Elementary School in North Saanich, a canoe built from a cedar tree has taken its inaugural voyage. The canoe-building project was made possible by a grant secured by the Pauquachin Nation, and saw each of the 400 participating students travel to the First Nation on field trips to engage in storytelling and other cultural teachings. They witnessed the felling of the tree and went on to sand and varnish it. “It’s not just about building canoes,” explained Henry, who emphasized the importance of bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners. “It’s about teaching our culture.” The students named the canoe the Kelset Thunderbird in honour of what they had learned. Kelset Indigenous support teacher Robin Dupree noted that a project like this would not have occurred 100 years ago, but that “now in 2018 our education system is changing.” Sooke News Mirror | CHEK News

GDI, SK Health Authority partner to develop Indigenous Doula Training Program

Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research and the Saskatchewan Health Authority have partnered on the development and delivery of an Indigenous Doula Training program. The 12-week program will meet the requirements of Doula Canada and incorporate the requirements for the Opamihowosiw Indigenous Doula Program and the SHA Safety Tickets. SHA and GDI’s technical institute will work together in the areas of recruitment, program development, and employment. A release states that there is an increasing demand for trained Indigenous Doulas across Canada, and that the two parties have joined to respond to the need in SK. The program is projected to begin in Spring 2019. NationTalk

Lennox Island First Nation celebrates $5.3M contribution towards school renovation, expansion

Lennox Island First Nation’s John J Sark Memorial Elementary School has received a $5.3M contribution from the Government of Canada towards the school’s renovation and expansion project. The expansion will accommodate a principal’s office, kitchen, cafeteria, and a health room, while the renovations will introduce pre-kindergarten classrooms and dedicated space for Mi’kmaq language and cultural education programs. “When we get back in school (next September), everybody’s going to be at their own desk in their own classrooms,” said Chief Matilda Ramjattan, “and it is going to be awesome.” Robert Henderson, MLA of O’Leary-Inverness, noted that Lennox Island is the fastest growing community in Western PEI and added that “it’s good to know that you’re going to have a school that is going to keep up with that growth.” The Guardian

BC Government, Indigenous communities partner to create child care supports

A new partnership between the Government of British Columbia, Métis Nation BC, the BC Aboriginal Child Care Society, and the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres will see increased child care planning supports introduced for Indigenous children and their families. The province has announced an investment of $3.6M over three years to support new planning and positions focused on the needs of Indigenous children, families, and communities in BC. “We have learned from our engagement with communities that Indigenous-led planning and programming sets us on a path toward reconciliation,” said BC Minister of State for Child Care Katrine Chen. “We have listened, and we have taken the first steps toward resourcing this commitment in early care and learning.” Indigenous organizations, governments, and councils may be eligible for up to $500K for child care spaces in their community through the program. The province is also reportedly investing $30M to expand the Aboriginal Head Start program. NationTalk

NIC provides more early childhood educators to Vancouver's West Coast through partnership

An in-community partnership between North Island College and the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation will bring nine new qualified early childhood educators to Vancouver Island’s West Coast. “Limited access to childcare has a big impact on families, whether it’s a parent’s ability to work, or go to back to school to train for a new career,” said Tla-o-qui-aht Education Manager Iris Frank, who originally approached NIC about bringing the program to the West Coast. Frank notes that one of the main benefits of having more qualified childcare providers is that it enables more people to work or return to school, which in turn benefits the entire community. “We’ve found offering training where people live, rather than making students travel to their nearest campus, makes a big difference to student success,” added Theresa Gereluk, department co-chair and instructor in NIC’s Early Childhood Care and Education program. “It allows students to stay with their families, community and support system while they go back to school.” NationTalk