Indigenous Top Ten

February 26, 2014

New online resources for Indigenous learners and communities

Several new online resources have recently been launched that will assist Aboriginal students as well as those involved in Indigenous education and research. The Canadian Career Development Foundation (CCDF) in partnership with Employment and Social Development Canada’s Office of Literacy and Essential Skills, the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, has launched the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Essential Skills Inventory Project(FIMESIP), an online inventory of essential skills initiatives which includes markers of promising practice and a toolkit for program evaluation. The First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC) has launched a new online service that provides the public with access to data published by FNIGC. This resource allows users to access data, and to create charts, tables and graphs at no cost. The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) recently launched a new online resource,, which will help Aboriginal people transition from rural/remote locations to urban centres. The site targets both service providers and individuals and offers practical information for those planning to relocate, as well as a searchable database of programs and services available to Aboriginal peoples across Canada. About FIMESIP | FNIGC News Release | NAFC News Release

Canada commits $6.1 million to skills training in BC

The Canadian government has announced it will commit $6.1 million to the Pacific Trail Pipelines Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership Training Society to help Aboriginal people train as welders, heavy equipment operators, electricians, and pipefitters. The Training Society will partner with the private sector to provide skills training to almost 800 individuals, offering opportunities to gain well-paying employment in the resource sector. "The Government of Canada’s top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. Our government is helping Aboriginal people get the skills and training they need to secure meaningful employment and build better futures for themselves and their families,” stated Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism. Canada News Release

SK institutions supporting Aboriginal learners

The Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology has received a $100,000 donation from Gordon and Jill Rawlinson for the creation of the Rawlco Aboriginal Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunity Award. The funding, matched by the Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunities program for a total of $200,000, will provide awards of $1,000 to Aboriginal students in a business certificate or diploma program at any SIAST campus. “Our Aboriginal youth are a big part of the future of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan’s economy,” says Gordon Rawlinson, President of Rawlco Radio. “We need to ensure that we are growing the number of students studying business.” Also in SK, the University of Saskatchewan is reporting its highest number of Aboriginal students ever. With 1,999 students self-declaring as Aboriginal, uSask estimates 10% of its total student population is Aboriginal. “When you consider that Aboriginal people make up 15% of the province’s total population—we’re closing the gap,” said Candace Wasacase-Lafferty, Director of Aboriginal Initiatives at uSask. SIAST News Release | uSask News Release

Canadian institutions get help to support women in trades

Ontario’s Cambrian College has launched a pre-apprenticeship carpentry training program targeted specifically toward women, which will be offered free of charge to 16 students thanks to funding from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. In BC, Thompson Rivers University is also getting help to encourage more women to go into trades. TRU received a $700,000 donation from RBC to fund the RBC Women in Trades Training Program, which includes 7 bursaries for women in trades, a team of 6 industry and student mentors, and a mentorship coordinator at TRU. CBC | TRU News Release

GPRC announces new diploma program in Aboriginal administration

Alberta’s Grande Prairie Regional College has announced a new Aboriginal Administration diploma, set to begin in September 2014. The new, interdisciplinary diploma combines aspects of business studies, university/college preparation, and Native studies, and is designed to provide students with basic business knowledge as well as the essential skills needed to succeed in PSE, using a flexible structure and delivery. Graduates will be able to pursue entry-level positions in a variety of organizations or use the diploma to access other college or university programs. “The diploma is a rare blend of business and university studies courses,” according to Kazem Mashkournia, Dean of Arts, Science and Upgrading at GPRC. Elder Angie Crerar, of Alberta Métis Association Local 1990, an active supporter of the new program, notes, “I am proud and honoured to have been part of this journey. The College heard our concerns and vision then joined us in our determination to provide greater opportunities for our Aboriginal community in the future.” GPRC News Release

Nunavut Arctic College and uWinnipeg sign credit-transfer agreement

Nunavut Arctic College has signed an MOU with the University of Winnipeg that will allow graduates of Arctic College’s Environmental Technology Program to transfer up to 45 credits to the Bachelor of Science, Global Environmental Systems program at uWinnipeg. The 4-year degree program offers a broad range of knowledge and skills related to environmental issues that will complement the Arctic College diploma for those wishing to work in environmental management and protection, policy development, and higher level field and office work. uWinnipeg “is committed to creating seamless pathways into PSE for non-traditional students, recognizing it is our responsibility to be responsive to the real needs of today’s learner and the marketplace,” said Lloyd Axworthy, uWinnipeg  President. “This partnership with Nunavut is of particular significance as we have attracted expert faculty and dedicated students within our Richardson College for the Environment and Science complex which has a focus on research related to the global North, climate change, sustainability and Indigenous science.” uWinnipeg News | CUP News

UQAT launches Aboriginal tourism management program

The Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) is currently welcoming applications for its new short program in Aboriginal tourism management. The program is intended for those who are working or who wish to work in the Aboriginal tourism industry, providing a current view of the management of Aboriginal tourism businesses using a sustainable and equitable development approach. The program is available as a full-time in-class program at UQAT's Val-d'Or campus or via videoconference and online so learners can remain in home communities and/or continue working while studying; the program is unique in Quebec, consisting of only 5 courses and offered in both French and English. “The training will allow Aboriginal entrepreneurs [to] learn the basics of developing quality and eco-friendly tourism products in accordance with our distinct culture and as per customer and industry expectations,” stated Claude Boivin, Innu entrepreneur from Mashteuiatsh and founder of Aventure Plume Blanche. UQAT News Release

SAY Magazine releases 2014 Education Guide

SAY Magazine has released its 2014 Education Guide for Native Students, providing prospective and current students with information about programs and institutions in Canada and the US. Much of the institution-specific information is designed to provide information regarding an institution’s sensitivities to the educational needs and experiences of Aboriginal students, including programming, financial and academic supports, and community connections. Results of the survey of Canadian institutions reveal that 38% of responding institutions offer a Native degree course, 59% accept transfer credits from other Native programs, 49% offer transition programs to help students upgrade skills, and 53% have a dedicated Native Student Centre. The Education Guide lists over 300 Canadian and US PSE institutions and notes which ones provide Aboriginal degree programs, programs with Aboriginal focus, transition courses, student centres, Aboriginal student associations, Aboriginal coordinators, scholarships/bursaries, childcare, community services, emergency funds, housing, and employment partnerships. The Education Guide also includes stories from Aboriginal students and business people about their own education and career pathways. SAY Magazine website

UBC journalism students focus on Indigenous youth

Journalism students at the University of British Columbia are learning about Canada’s Indigenous youth, and how to report on them in the media. Students in Duncan McCue’s Reporting in Indigenous Communities course are focusing on Aboriginal people under 25, with a goal of exploring “what it means to be an Aboriginal youth in this country, by hearing the oft-neglected voices of youth themselves.” The students will spend the semester studying Indigenous ethics, histories, and politics before visiting dozens of First Nations and urban Indigenous communities in BC’s Lower Mainland. Participating community partners include the Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, Tsawwassen First Nation, Sto:lo Tribal Council, the Sto:lo Nation, and the Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council. The students will produce a final project consisting of multi-media stories on Aboriginal youth, which will be published by mainstream media partners CBC Radio and the Vancouver Sun. “The UBC School of Journalism is committed to improving the quality of Aboriginal representation in the media, and our partnership with Indigenous communities continues to be the cornerstone of this course,” says McCue. Ahki News 

High schools welcoming all students to Aboriginal studies classes

High schools in Edmonton, AB and Orillia, ON are welcoming increasing numbers of students to Aboriginal studies classes, and many of the new students are not of Aboriginal descent. The Aboriginal Studies class at Edmonton's Centre High Campus introduces students to Aboriginal history, culture and current issues and includes sharing circles and hands-on cultural components. "Not enough people are getting this type of education in the school system and it's creating a misunderstanding of Aboriginal people in our country," said Naim Cardinal, the school's First Nations, Metís and Inuit liaison worker. In Orillia, students in the Grade 11 Aboriginal Beliefs, Values and Aspirations course at Twin Lakes Secondary School learn Aboriginal histories and current issues, including treaties and residential schools. Students can also take a separate course on the Ojibway language, and next year will have the option to take a new course in English Contemporary Aboriginal Voices. CBC | Orillia Packet