Indigenous Top Ten

September 25, 2013

FNUniv celebrates enrolment growth on 10th anniversary

First Nations University of Canada recently celebrated its tenth anniversary as a university and the opening of its iconic Regina campus building with a traditional powwow.  Further cause for celebration, FNUniv enrolment experienced another year of growth, with a 15% increase from 2012. There are now 755 registered students. Originally the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, FNUniv has grown to 3 campuses across SK, and welcomes over 4,000 students from FNUniv’s federated partner, the University of Regina, as well as Campion and Luther College for classes under transfer agreements. In 2010 financial and management issues caused the provincial and federal governments to pull funding, but a student-led campaign to save the school was successful. Since then, enrolment has increased 30%. FNUniv News Release | APTN News | Global News

AUCC website for Indigenous students

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada launched an online resource in February 2013 that provides information about programs and services available on campuses to Indigenous students. The Aboriginal student resources site features success stories of Indigenous students who have contributed to their schools and communities in various ways. As well as linking to the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada website for bursary information, the site features information on institutions, programs, and various statistics including numbers of Indigenous students and faculty. The website is part of an effort to improve access to PSE for Indigenous youth. AUCC Website | St Mary’s University News Release

BC students and educators gain knowledge through TRC events

The British Columbia Teachers Federation (BCTF) is calling for more history of residential schools to be taught in BC schools. Although the subject is mandatory Social Studies 11 curriculum, BCTF First VP Glen Hansman stated “it’s important that all students … have had time to do some deep learning about the truth about that history and come back to it more than once.” The BCTF established a $100,000 grant for teachers to travel to Vancouver’s national Truth and Reconciliation Commission events held last week; more than 4,000 students and 200 teachers were estimated to be taking part in TRC events, which culminated in a speech by Dr Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr, and a Reconciliation Walk which was attended by thousands. Hansman called this a “tremendous opportunity” for teachers as well as students, as many teachers passed through the education system before residential school history was made part of the curriculum. Vancouver Sun  | CBC News (Canadian Press)

Brandon U offers new Indigenous-focused social justice program

A new honours undergraduate program in social justice at Brandon University is likely the first in North America to combine Indigenous healing practices and traditional knowledge with clinical counseling skills. The Clinical Specialization in Native Studies will provide students with insight into the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of Indigenous culture, while developing their counseling skills. Brandon U President Deborah Poff noted that graduates will have strong employment prospects in Indigenous and non-Indigenous agencies, organizations, and communities, especially in rural and northern areas. The first cohort began classes in early September. Brandon U News Release

Diet, nutrition and environment study launches in Alberta

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) has announced the launch of a study of nutrition and traditional food and water safety data collection this fall in 11 First Nations communities in Alberta. The study is part of the national First Nations Food, Nutrition, and Environment Study (FNFNES), a partnership between the AFN, the University of Ottawa and the Université de Montréal that aims to gather information from 100 randomly selected First Nations communities in Canada about traditional and modern dietary habits and issues, and environmental contamination issues. “The FNFNES is a positive example of First Nations working directly with the research community to collect and analyze information that affects their lives and their communities,” said AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo. AFN News

GDI introduces guidebook for teaching Métis children’s literature

The Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research in Saskatoon released a new resource for educators who wish to bring more Métis culture and history to their classrooms. Bringing Métis Children’s Literature to Life: Teacher Guidebook for GDI Publications was created by Wilfred Burton and is designed to support the children’s literature published by GDI. The resource includes strategies to improve literacy, as well as tips to incorporate Métis content into teaching practices. The guidebook also allows teachers to be culturally responsive while adhering to provincial guidelines. The resource is available for free online and in-print from GDI. GDI News | Guidebook

uAlberta students learn from the land in NWT

The University of Alberta has signed an MOU with NWT-based Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning, a land-based PSE institution, which will allow students to take courses that combine academic tradition with land-based Indigenous knowledge. uAlberta faculty, alongside elders and northern experts, teach critical northern issues such as Indigenous political theory, economic development, sustainability and decolonization; students also learn valuable wilderness and survival skills. Dechinta students can use the accredited courses towards a degree at uAlberta, and uAlberta students can take the optional courses to enhance their own degrees. Courses are taught at Blachford Lake Lodge, east of Yellowknife, a site only accessible by snowmobile, dog team, or bush plane. uAlberta News

Kobo commits $100,000 to encourage literacy among Indigenous youth

Kobo, an eReading company, has partnered with Free the Children and committed 3,500 eReaders and $100,000 to advance literacy among Indigenous youth. The year-long partnership will include a speaking tour of 25 schools and community/friendship centres across Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. Students will take part in workshops to learn about “the role literature plays in storytelling and maintaining a strong cultural identity,” and all donated eReaders will be pre-loaded with books by Indigenous authors. Kobo’s CEO stated the “partnership with Free The Children is designed to empower youth across Canada to become active in their own learning, develop their imaginations, and explore the world through the written word." Canada NewsWire

Inuit youth study culture, history in Ottawa

Nunavut Sivuniksavut, a preparatory college in Ottawa for Inuit youth from Nunavut, is celebrating its largest intake ever, reports Nunatsiaq Online. The 8-month program prepares youth for education, training, and career pathways, educating them on Inuit history, organizations, land claims and other issues. The program also includes guidance on living independently in the city, with focus on “how to live without family support, how to budget money, how to resist alcohol and focus on school work, how to function in a city full of noise and distraction, and how to be leaders and cultural performers.” This year, there are 39 first year students from 13 communities, and in a normally female-dominated program, this year there are 15 men. Nunatsiaq Online | Nunavut Sivuniksavut Website

Manitoba announces new programs for northerners

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger was at the new University College of the North campus in Thompson last week to announce 3 new training initiatives to help northern Manitobans secure quality employment. Through a $1.9-million investment, Manitoba is creating the Training to Employment Pathways Initiative (TEP), the Northern Apprenticeship Training Co-op, and the Process Operator in Training (POinT) Program. The initiatives are “succeeding because we’re delivering them in the communities where they’re needed and we’re also working closely with industry to meet their needs,” said Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton. UCN also recently opened a new state-of-the-art training facility in Norway House, MB, which will house the heavy duty mechanics program. Manitoba News Release  | UCN News Release