Indigenous Top Ten

January 29, 2014

Carleton launches Indigenous Human Library

This week, Carleton University’s Centre for Aboriginal Culture and Education (CACE) launched an innovative program designed to connect people of First Nations, Inuit and Métis ancestry with others who wish to learn from their life experiences. The ‘Indigenous Human Library’ allows ‘Readers’ to borrow a ‘Human Book’ for 30 minutes of conversation. The Readers can learn about the “unique set of life experiences, stories and knowledge” that the Human Books have to share, but must respect the ‘Books’ and must “return them in the same mental, physical, spiritual and emotional condition as they found them.” Readers are encouraged to have an open mind and to engage in discussion, within the Book’s discussion topic. Carleton NewsEvent website 

Personal education credits available for CEP recipients

Recipients of the Common Experience Payments (CEP) under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement are now able to apply for one-time personal credits for education programs. The $3,000 personal credits are available for various educational programs, including those at universities and colleges, trade and training schools, and community-based organizations that offer culture and/or language instruction. The credits can be used by the CEP recipient themselves, or can be transferred in whole or in part to up to 2 family members. Applicants can also pool their credits to pay for group educational or cultural programs. AANDC News Release | Nunatsiaq Online

Postscript: January 14, 2015

The deadline for former residential school students to apply for education credits of up to $3,000 has been extended. The education credits are available to Common Experience Payment (CEP) recipients, and can be transferred to certain family members. CEP recipients now have until March 9, 2015 to submit an application, and education entities have until June 8, 2015 to submit redemption forms for payment; all payments will be made to institutions by August 7, 2015, with all education programs and services to be complete by August 31, 2015. Survivors and family members asked for the extension after expressing serious administrative concerns. The decision to extend the deadline was made by the BC Supreme Court. AFN Update | Canada News Release | CBC | FAQs

Hydro One commits $750,000 to pre-trades programs at Confederation

Hydro One has announced a $750,000 donation to Confederation College that will establish new outreach and pre-apprentice programs for students interested in trades in the electrical utility sector. The partnership is a compliment to the Hydro One College Consortium which provides scholarships, curriculum development, co-op placements and equipment to students at partner colleges. Outreach activities will focus on youth and First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, and Hydro One, Confederation and Northern College will collaborate on outreach and skills training. “This is an incredible partnership opportunity for Confederation College and Hydro One,” said Jim Madder, Confederation President. “Hydro One will be able to hire the skilled trades they need in the coming years – and hire them locally from communities throughout the region. Our technology students will know that when they graduate, there will be jobs available. It’s a win-win for all involved.”Confederation News Release

Audiovisual internet in the North supports language retention

Zacharias Kunuk, the celebrated Director of Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, has developed an innovative internet broadcasting project that could help those in the far North retain language and culture in the age of modern internet communications. Digital Indigenous Democracy (DID) was created by Isuma TV as an audiovisual internet that allows films and videos to be shown in traditional languages, an option rarely possible in the low-bandwidth areas of the North. Isuma TV Co-Founder Norman Cohn remarked, “Languages that have survived 4,000 years, through whalers, traders, priests, government, residential schools and cable TV, will not survive 20 years of a literary Internet forcing everybody to communicate in their second language.” Users can install a DID media player to locally stream high-speed programs from the 5,000 available in the Isuma catalogue. Local filmmakers can also upload their own work, enabling them to reach a much wider audience. DID is also useful for community members who wish to weigh in on natural resource extraction projects, as audio broadcasts of community hearings can now be shared.Globe and Mail

Northern College partners to offer 2 new programs

Ontario’s Northern College has announced 2 new partnerships designed to bring educational opportunities to more Indigenous peoples. A partnership between Northern and the Timmins Native Friendship Centre will establish Women in Technology, an innovative 10-week training program focussed on developing computer skills along with other skills crucial to employment such as resume building, interview tips, etc. The program is free to participants, who will have access to Northern’s academic support services, the Aboriginal student advisor, and resident Elder. A separate partnership with the Moose Cree Education Authority will see the same program offered in Moose Factory in the spring. Northern has also signed an agreement with the community of Arviat in Nunavut to offer an 8-week Welding Trade Readiness program. The program will teach students the fundamental skills and knowledge required to carry out basic welding tasks in a safe and competent manner, allowing them to enter the workforce as welder’s helpers in the mining or construction fields. “As an educational institution, responding to community need is essential in achieving our goal of success for all through learning and partnerships,” said Fred Gibbons, President of Northern College. Northern News (Timmins) | Northern News (Arviat)

CBU adds Aboriginal Education specialization to BEd program

Cape Breton University has added a new Aboriginal Education Concentration to its Bachelor of Education program. BEd students can now choose to specialize in the teaching and learning of Aboriginal language, specifically Mi’kmaw, which is a core component of the courses in the concentration. Fluent Mi’kmaw speakers instruct Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students in teaching models and strategies for in-class language acquisition. BEd student Elizabeth Baird says, “I took the Aboriginal courses because I wanted to learn more about Aboriginal culture and teaching strategies … the learning environment was very positive. I learned many techniques and strategies that will help me be a better teacher for my students, both Native and non-Native.” The first cohort in the new Aboriginal Education Concentration will graduate in fall 2014. CBU News

Portage College signs MOU with Samson Cree Nation to provide training opportunities

Portage College has signed an MOU with Classroom Connections and the Samson Cree Nation that will bring the "Change it Up! Trades" program to Maskwacis, AB. The program is a bridge to employment for young, unemployed Aboriginal peoples that offers training necessary for the oil, gas and construction industries. The new hybrid trades program will provide a combination of up-skilling and apprenticeship training through Portage College. "We all know that employment is key to the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities; we partnered with Classroom Connections and Portage College because they are thinking outside the box to address First Nations barriers to employment," said Derek Bruno, Councillor, Samson Cree Nations. Portage News 

BC highlighting increased graduation rates for Indigenous students

British Columbia currently has a number of ventures underway designed to improve Aboriginal education rates, which are seeing strong results. In Vancouver, a pilot project developed by the Vancouver school board is helping Aboriginal high school students graduate by focussing resources on individual students’ needs. In the Richmond area, the school board has announced that Aboriginal graduation rates have increased to 73.8%, largely due to funding increases after the signing of an Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement that allowed for the hiring of support workers and curriculum consultants. In Coquitlam, the new Suwa’lkh School is a high school for Aboriginal students that struggle in the mainstream school setting. Students take part in cultural activities and also undertake project-based learning in areas of interest. Suwa’lkh School is helping the local school division achieve a 90% graduation rate, one of the highest for Aboriginal students in the province. The Sea to Sky school district recently signed another Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement; since the first was signed, the graduation rates have improved from 35.4% in 2008-09 to 72.8% in 2012-13. Globe and Mail | 24 Hours Vancouver | Tri-City News |BC News Release

Kainai High School latest to offer Martin’s entrepreneurship program

Kainai High School announced it has partnered with the Martin Aboriginal Educational Initiative (MAEI) and Scotiabank to launch the Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program (AYEP) at the school. Located on the Kainai/Blood Reserve near Calgary, the school will now offer AYEP programming, designed to encourage students in Grades 11 and 12 to stay in school and pursue PSE. AYEP teachers use innovative, hands-on techniques to teach a variety of skills and knowledge to program participants, while respecting cultural traditions. Scotiabank President Brian Porter stated, “Education is critical for economic growth and progress, and with Canada’s young and growing Aboriginal population, investing in education for Aboriginal students is good for the community and is also critical for our country’s success.”Kainai News Release | Maclean’s On Campus

FNUniv receives recognition for Health and Science Camps

First Nations University of Canada has received Actua’s “Making Friends with Science” award for its Health and Science Summer Camp. Actua is a charitable organization that aims to engage typically underrepresented and underserved youth in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. FNUniv’s Health and Science Camp offers hands-on introductions to the sciences and to a variety of career options in different fields. Lynn Wells, FNUniv VP Academic, noted, “Whether it’s our two-week Health and Science Camp or our university programs such as the Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Health and Science, we ensure that an Indigenous based perspective on health and science is promoted with the cooperation of Elders who serve the important role of teachers of traditional ways.” FNUniv News Release