Indigenous Top Ten

October 17, 2012

Chief Matthews Elementary challenging conventions of BC public education system

"Chief Matthews is one of a handful of BC reserve schools breaking the stereotype of derelict portables, black mould and a flailing native education system, pointing the way to a more innovative and nimble model," reports the Globe and Mail. The Haida First Nations band school, which covers K-4, offers cultural activities and has done away with grades. Students are grouped into reading, writing, and math classes based on skill level, and are then tracked weekly. Every student who completed Grade 4 at Chief Matthews last year had excellent Canadian Achievement Test scores, and most have a smooth transition to the public school system, says the school's principal. Chief Matthews has a waiting list while enrolment in local public schools is decreasing as Aboriginal students leave to study off Graham Island. Most parents say they want the Chief Matthews to expand to all grades, but the principal says the resources are not there. Globe and Mail

Indspire distributes record amount of bursaries and scholarships to Indigenous PSE students

Indspire—formerly the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation—reports that in 2011-12, its "Building Brighter Futures" program provided a record $6,205,100 to 2,200 individual recipients. Since Indspire's inception, Building Brighter Futures, which is the largest supporter of Indigenous education outside the federal government, has awarded more than $49 million in bursaries and scholarships to 14,000 First Nation, Métis, and Inuit recipients across Canada. Indspire News Release

uWinnipeg receives $500,000 grant for residential school research

The Aboriginal Healing Foundation recently awarded the University of Winnipeg's Oral History Centre a $500,000 grant to document the intergenerational effects of the residential schools through a digital storytelling project that will focus on Aboriginal men. The research project is being conducted in partnership with uWinnipeg's Indigenous Studies Department, the Prairie Women's Health Centre of Excellence, Ka Ni Kanichihk, and Moon Voices. uWinnipeg's research will take place in Winnipeg until March 2014. uWinnipeg News Release

Hobemma Nations celebrate opening of renovated Outreach School

On October 5, the 4 Hobemma Nations in Alberta celebrated the official opening of the newly renovated Maskwacis Outreach School at Ermineskin Cree Nation. The outreach school was initiated in 2010 at Samson Cree Nation to accommodate students who wanted to return to secondary school. An enrolment increase resulted in the need for a new facility. The federal Aboriginal Affairs department committed $500,000 to convert an existing facility for school use. The goal of the outreach school diploma is to graduate students with a high school diploma. Serving 15- to 20-year-olds who are not able to attend a regular daily school program, the Maskwacis Outreach School uses a student-centred approach that emphasizes individual student needs and encourages lifelong learning. Aboriginal Affairs News Release

Six Nations members protest lack of school supplies, funding

Members of the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve, near Brantford, Ontario, gathered in Toronto last Thursday to lobby the federal government for school funding and backlogged supplies. The group, which chanted and marched outside the AANDC regional office, said elementary schools on the reserve have yet to receive supplies and curriculum materials for the current school year. A councillor with the reserve told the Canadian Press that just 16 of the 44 orders filed in May have arrived so far, forcing parents and students to purchase supplies. As a result, many supply teachers have gone without pay since August and schools have been scrambling to create photocopies of workbooks, the group said. The group vowed to continue to pressure the federal government until the issues are resolved and school supplies are delivered. Canadian Press

UBC Faculty of Education kicks off Year of Indigenous Education

The University of British Columbia's Faculty of Education is recognizing 2012-13 as the Year of Indigenous Education. Throughout the year, the faculty will bring together community members, faculty, teachers, students, and leaders in the field to engage in dialogue, share insights, and explore issues in relation to Indigenous education. The faculty kicked off this year-long initiative on October 11 with the inaugural "Musqueam Excellence in Education Lecture" in partnership with the Musqueam First Nation. The faculty has created a website for The Year of Indigenous Education, providing news and updates and an event schedule. UBC Media Advisory | Year of Indigenous Education website

Lakehead research project aims to boost number of Aboriginal nurses in Ontario

In a bid to see more Aboriginal people in nursing, a team of Lakehead University researchers is conducting an Ontario-wide study of nursing schools and the nursing profession. The study involves interviewing Aboriginal nurses and Aboriginal nursing students to determine why such a relatively small proportion of nurses in the province are of First Nations or Métis descent. Researchers will also conduct interviews at all Ontario nursing schools, with a particular focus on schools that have had success attracting Aboriginal students. The study's lead researcher says he hopes the results lead to Ontario-wide recommendations on how nursing schools can better accommodate Aboriginal students, and how the profession as a whole can better recruit and retain Aboriginal nurses. Wawatay News

Canadian Lawyers Abroad creates "Dare to Dream" program for Aboriginal youth

On October 11, Canadian Lawyers Abroad launched the Toronto pilot of its "Dare to Dream" program, which supports Aboriginal youth and promotes law and law-related careers. Under the program, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal law students and lawyers will participate in justice education and mentoring activities with Aboriginal students at the First Nations School of Toronto and the Mnjikaning Kendaaswin Elementary School in the Chippewas of Rama First Nation. The program will also offer Aboriginal law students access to opportunities that give them the legal and business skills they need to succeed and to help their communities prosper. Canadian Lawyers Abroad News Release

OCADU to offer Canada's first BFA in Aboriginal Visual Culture

In fall 2013, OCAD University will welcome its first students in a new interdisciplinary Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Aboriginal Visual Culture that combines contemporary Aboriginal aesthetic and social studies with a comprehensive studio-based art education. "This program is the first of its kind in Canada, especially when considering Aboriginal culture within the spectrum of art and design education," says the dean of OCAD U's Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies. "It gives students with an interest in Aboriginal issues and practices a degree program that allows them to develop their skills and knowledge, and will graduate students who will be thoughtful contributors to these concerns." Next fall, the institution will also launch an Augmented OCADU First Year Program for Aboriginal Students, to be delivered at Laurentian University. OCADU News Release

Manitoba continues support of Shine On initiative

On October 9, the Manitoba government announced $65,000 in support of the Shine On initiative, which aims to increase secondary school graduation rates, as well as PSE enrolment, among Aboriginal and inner-city students. The initiative helps these students access quality learning at the University of Winnipeg through school-based, after-school, weekend and summer camp activities to help them prepare for PSE learning. Aboriginal students enrolled at uWinnipeg serve as role models and senior leaders to the high school students taking part in Shine On. Participating students are guaranteed full-time summer enrolment in the field of community development. Since 2007, Manitoba's education ministry has contributed $395,000 to the Shine On initiative. Manitoba News Release