Indigenous Top Ten

July 3, 2013

uManitoba named host of TRC’s National Research Centre

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has chosen the University of Manitoba to house the National Research Centre, which will store the Commission's documents and digital files. The agreement was signed at uManitoba on June 21, National Aboriginal Day, and marks uManitoba's commitment  to continue the spirit and work of the TRC after its mandate expires next June. uManitoba has long supported reconciliation in Canada, and in 2011 president Barnard was the first Canadian university president to offer a formal apology for residential schools. The chair of the TRC noted that uManitoba’s “current and pending partnerships for this project ensure that the records of the Commission will be accessible across Canada.” The exact campus location of the Centre has not yet been determined. uManitoba News

Postscript: July 15, 2015

Manitoba has passed the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Act, recognizing the University of Manitoba as the official home for the centre. The Act will support uManitoba in its efforts to maintain and manage the records from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. “It is a prestigious honour that our province will be home to this centre,” Premier Greg Selinger said. “By passing this legislation, we enable uManitoba to take on the vital task of holding this information and ensuring the painful legacy of residential schools is not forgotten.”

New resource shares Aboriginal issues with wide audience

The Alexa McDonough Institute for Women, Gender and Social Justice at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax has released a new best practices kit, titled Women, Contemporary Aboriginal Issues, and Resistance. It is a free learning resource available to educators and individuals who wish to learn more about what it is like to grow up as an Aboriginal person in Canada. The kit helps to address the stigmas that prevent people from discussing Aboriginal issues. “Our goal is to share the diverse stories of real Aboriginal people and friends in a way that’s just as welcoming as a weekend book club,” says Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell, principal investigator and project director. The kit has several components, including books and video, and is available online at no cost. MSVU Media Release | Project website

Shell provides bursary funding to Northern Lakes College

Shell Canada has donated $250,000 to Northern Lakes College to establish the Shell Canada Aboriginal Education Advancement Fund, which will provide bursaries to students who wish to enter a PSE program, but do not yet meet academic requirements. The funding will enable these students to upgrade their education to meet entrance standards in various programs, without having to leave northern Alberta. Rick Neidig, president and CEO of Northern Lakes College, noted that the funding will enable “northern Albertans to be job ready and employable in a number of high demand careers.” Northern Lakes News Release

Queen’s receives funding for Aboriginal Access to Engineering Program

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has committed $90,000 over 3 years to Queen’s University’s Aboriginal Access to Engineering Program, as part of NSERC’s PromoScience initiative. The program is designed to support undergraduate Aboriginal students enrolled in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science through culturally relevant services. The grant will facilitate a new outreach aspect of the program meant to introduce and engage Aboriginal youth in engineering and related fields. Queen’s students will travel to cultural festivals across Ontario and Quebec and set up interactive displays that youth can engage in. The displays and connected activities teach engineering within an Aboriginal context, what program director Melanie Howard calls “ancestral engineering.” Queen’s News | NSERC News Release

Montreal college establishes training programs in Nunavik

Collège Marie-Victorin in Montreal recently announced a new partnership with the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services to offer training to frontline community workers in the health and social services sectors in Nunavik. Up to this point, community workers either had to travel south to take courses at Marie-Victorin, or had to wait until trainers travelled to Nunavik to offer sessions. Starting in September 2013, courses will be offered in the communities of Kuujjuaq and Puvirnituq. Nunatsiaq Online

Program makes math fun for Aboriginal students

A math professor from Simon Fraser University has developed a math program for K-12 students that makes learning math fun. Veselin Jungic created “Math Catcher: Mathematics through Aboriginal Storytelling” in order to address a problem he saw among university students: they did well in other subjects, but struggled in math. Jungic believes the aversion to math starts very young, and his goal is to introduce math to students using storytelling, models, and hands-on projects. Although any student can benefit from his program, Jungic is especially interested in reaching Aboriginal students, so he incorporates Aboriginal storytelling and imagery, and brings Aboriginal university students into the classrooms to serve as role models. Tri-City News

Wabano Centre establishes Cree, Algonquin language classes

Ottawa’s Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health will offer classes in Algonquin and Cree starting this September. The languages program will offer 2 classes: one for school-aged children, and one credited course for high school students and adults. The funding for the new classes was provided by the local French Catholic school board’s international languages program. A spokesperson for the Wabano Centre said they are expecting a lot of interest in the courses, and although each class has limited enrolment room, they expect the courses to be offered “for a long time” due to long-term funding provisions. Ottawa West EMC

Education gap persists for Aboriginal peoples

Statistics Canada has released the second round of data from the National Household Survey. The data released focuses on education, and although Aboriginal Canadians continue to fall behind non-Aboriginal Canadians when it comes to PSE attainment, the numbers indicate a cautious increase in PSE success for Aboriginal peoples in Canada. The data reports that almost half (48.4%) of the Aboriginal population aged 25-64 surveyed had a PSE qualification. The data also suggests that younger Aboriginal men and women (age 35-44) were more likely to have higher levels of education than the generation before them (age 55-64), and Aboriginal women were more likely to have higher education than men within the same age group. Statistics Canada website | Postmedia News

Providence University College to offer bachelor’s degree in partnership with NAIITS

Manitoba’s Providence University College signed an agreement with the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies (NAIITS) to offer a bachelor’s degree in Community Development Studies to be designed and delivered by Indigenous peoples. The degree program will offer a large “learning by doing” component through in-community internships. PUC officials seek a mutually creative relationship where the insights, skills, and experience of First Nations scholars and communities will be embraced. NAIITS currently offers 3 other advanced degree programs in partnership with various PSE institutions: a Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies; a Master’s in Theological Studies, Indigenous; and a PhD in International Development. PUC News Release

Nunavut spends less per student than NWT, Yukon

A Statistics Canada report has found that Nunavut is spending less per student than neighbouring NWT and Yukon. The figure takes in all education costs, from school supplies to teacher salaries and policy work. At $15,428 per student in Grades K-12, Nunavut is ahead of the national average of $11,044, but far below the spending of NWT ($22,784) and Yukon ($19,499). The same report found that although Nunavut is spending less than NWT and Yukon per student, they are spending more of their GDP on education. With 12.2% of GDP going towards education, Nunavut is double the national average of 6.1% on educational institutions, including PSE programs. 70% of Nunavut’s education spending is going to primary and secondary schools. CBC