Indigenous Top Ten

August 28, 2013

Harper announces over $10 million to train Northerners for mining industry

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced $5.2 million in funding for a new mining education and jobs program at Yukon College. The Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining at Yukon’s Ayamdigut Campus in Whitehorse will be a "one-stop state-of-the-art education, training and research facility for people looking to begin a career in the mining industry as well as for those who want to improve their skills," a government-issued press release reads. Harper also announced $5.9 million towards the NWT Mine Training Society’s “Mining the Future” project, which will provide mining-sector training programs for residents of NWT and the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut. The funds will be used “to develop and implement a 25-month program, which will train 400 Aboriginal participants in essential mining sector skills.” CBC | Yukon College News | Canada News Release | NWT News Release

VIU to offer tuition waivers for youth in care

Vancouver Island University has become the first PSE institution in BC to offer a tuition waiver program for youth in care, responding to a challenge issued earlier this year by BC’s representative for children and youth. On Vancouver Island alone there are just over 900 youth in care under a continuing custody order, the majority of whom (63.8%) are Aboriginal. VIU’s program will represent the “first step in overcoming financial barriers that make it difficult for these students to consider and achieve success in higher education.” The new pilot program will begin this September for students who meet the eligibility criteria, and VIU will work with participating students throughout the year to “identify other financial barriers or necessary supports.” VIU Chancellor and Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo expressed his “firm and enduring belief in the power of education to dramatically change a person’s life.” VIU News

Couchiching Institute examines Indigenous issues

The Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs, Canada’s oldest public affairs forum, held their annual summer conference earlier this month, and for the first time the conference theme was focused on Canada’s Indigenous peoples. The conference examined issues such as poverty and education, and aimed to encourage dialogue between Indigenous communities and the rest of Canada. Former Prime Minister Paul Martin spoke at the conference, stating that “the answer to poverty historically in Canada has been education and decent health care.” Speaking on the final day of the conference, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo stated that Canada is at a moment of “unprecedented engagement on an important discussion…” Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne spoke to the need to make Ontario’s curriculum more inclusive in order to address high drop-out rates for Indigenous students. The Institute also announced at the conference an MOU with Lakehead University to provide learning opportunities for students. Lakehead supported the involvement of local First Nation communities in the conference by facilitating a display of local artists and organizations. CTV (1) | CTV (2) | Lakehead News

JIBC to offer new certificate in Aboriginal leadership

The Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) is this year offering a new Associate Certificate in Aboriginal Leadership in the community of Dease Lake, BC, which focuses on moving Aboriginal women beyond front-line administrative roles to position them as leaders in their Northern communities. The program, as defined by the Canada-BC Labour Market Agreement, is specifically aimed at women who are not enrolled in high school or PSE training, are unemployed and not receiving Employment Insurance benefits, or are employed and low-skilled. Students who complete the Associate Certificate can enter into the Aboriginal Leadership Certificate, Aboriginal Leadership Diploma or the Law Enforcement Studies Diploma offered at JIBC. In addition, graduates can transfer the credits to other PSE institutes, including Thompson Rivers University, University of the Fraser Valley, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, and Royal Roads University. JIBC News Release

New educational comic book brings together Canadian artists

Canadian comic-book creator James Waley is launching a 200-page compilation of comics mainly based on Native stories by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists. The One Tribe Anthology is an all-ages publication that will be distributed free-of-charge to schools and libraries across Canada, and will be sold at bookstores nationwide with all proceeds going to Shannen’s Dream, which supports the goal of equal funding for culturally-based, on-reserve education. “I wanted to see this nice alliance of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal comic creators coming together for a cause,” said Waley. The comic book will be launched at the opening of a new elementary school in Attawapiskat First Nation. Wawatay News Online

BC invests $4.4 million in Aboriginal Service Plans

The British Columbia government has announced that it will invest $4.4 million for programs and activities at 11 PSE institutions that enhance the educational experience of Aboriginal learners. “The Aboriginal Service Plans help Aboriginal communities and PSE institutions provide education and training opportunities and focused services for learners where they live, work and go to school,” said BC’s minister of advanced education Amrik Virk. Since the service plans were first announced in 2007, programs and activities have included elders-in-residence programs, cultural events, mentoring programs, cultural awareness training, partnerships with Aboriginal communities and organizations, development of Aboriginal curriculum and courses, community-based education, and bridging programs for Aboriginal learners. BC News Release

Matawa First Nations sign several training agreements

An MOU has been signed between Matawa First Nations, Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment and Training Services (KKETS), Noront Resources Ltd and Confederation College, creating The Ring of Fire Aboriginal Training Alliance (RoFATA). Through the Government of Canada’s Skills and Partnership Fund, over $5.9 million has been provided for the RoFATA to offer training in various mine-related programs, including some pre-trade programs. Also, KKETS has signed an MOU with Aecon Group Inc, a construction and infrastructure development firm, to set up remote training centres that will provide local access to community-based education, trades and apprenticeship training. Both MOUs are in anticipation of the jobs that will be created in coming years by Ring of Fire mining projects. Canada News Release | Confederation News Release | Mining Weekly | Daily Commercial News

uManitoba hosts Indigenous Mini U

For the first time, the University of Manitoba offered an Indigenous, culturally-based camp as part of its Mini U program. Indigenous Mini U welcomed 30 Indigenous youth to an inclusive and culturally-affirming summer camp where they enjoyed active play, creativity, and leadership development while integrating lessons and activities that taught youth about cultural traditions and identity. Students participated in pow-wow dancing, Michif language lessons, and traditional Aboriginal games, among other activities. Indigenous Mini U organizers hope that the program helps youth recognize PSE as a viable future goal. uManitoba News

Nunavut launches new online attendance-tracking system

The Nunavut government has launched a new online “student information system” that will track attendance records from all 43 NU schools on one database, beginning this year. Using the Maplewood system, the database will provide the provincial government with more information on attendance trends. Adbus Salam, president at Arctic Bay’s Innujaq School, says administration received a 1.5-day training session on the system, but that “hiccups will be inevitable.” The Maplewood system can also track student progress, and teachers can use it to grade projects and write report cards. Eventually, parents and students will be able to view attendance, marks, and historical achievement from their own home; however, this feature will not be available until after this year. The Maplewood system is also used in Alberta, BC, Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan. Nunatsiaq Online

Big River First Nation signs job-creation deal

Saskatchewan’s Big River First Nation has signed a job-creation deal with a company that provides lodging and housekeeping services for the oil industry. PTI Group will send staff to the First Nation to conduct week-long training programs, open to members of Big River First Nation and surrounding communities. The training takes place at the First Nation's PSE facility, the Sgt Darby Morin Centre, which also houses training programs under partnerships with the University of Saskatchewan for teaching and nursing. According to Chief Bruce Morin, 40 people have already taken part, and can now access jobs that pay up to $28/hour. Saskatoon StarPhoenix