Indigenous Top Ten

November 5, 2014

New website encourages Aboriginal participation in the health sector

A new website has launched in Manitoba designed to encourage Aboriginal people to think about careers in the health sector. The Manitoba Aboriginal Health Careers website provides information on more than 40 careers in the health sector—including training/education requirements—and resources, job openings, and success stories. The success stories profile more than 20 First Nation and Métis health-care professionals currently working in MB, and are designed to inspire and encourage others to explore the health sector. The website is reportedly the first of its kind in Canada, and was developed by the province’s Office of Rural & Northern Health (ORNH) in partnership with the tribal councils of 7 area First Nations. “We need to ensure [that the Aboriginal population is] equally represented in the workforce in the health care sector. The web portal will provide easy access to all the information needed to help you get started,” said Wayne Heide, ORNH Director. CBC (1) | | CBC (2) | APTN | Website

Nunavut creates first health glossary in all 4 territorial languages

Nunavut’s Department of Culture and Heritage has produced a human anatomy glossary in the 4 official languages of the territory: Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun, English, and French. The glossary is designed to facilitate communication among medical practitioners, interpreters, and patients. “During times of stress, it is common for patients to revert to their first language, their mother tongue,” said Minister Paul Okalik. The illustrated glossary—called Timiup Kisukuttilimaangita Taiguusingit—has more than 400 terms relating to the human body; the government consulted more than 75 Elders, health professionals, and interpreters during the creation of the guide. The glossary will be distributed to health centres throughout the territory and used as a reference guide by the Department of Health and Nunavut Arctic College. Nunatsiaq Online | CBC

Aboriginal alumni association created at Queen’s

Queen’s University has created an Aboriginal Alumni Chapter to connect graduates with current and prospective students. Online mentoring and networking will be the main focus of the chapter, although Janice Hill, Director of the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, notes that she wants to involve alumni who can give accounts of their time at Queen’s and make suggestions for improving programming. “I’ve told students that when you have a Queen’s education, you can go anywhere in the world. Your education isn’t just your diploma, it’s your network. And you don’t necessarily realize that when you’re young,” said Hill. Recruiting efforts are underway, and it is hoped an official launch can be held later this year. Queen’s News

Elsipogtog and St Thomas University partner for in-community program

New Brunswick’s St Thomas University has partnered with the Elsipogtog First Nation to provide introductory university classes in the community. Under the agreement, students can take first-year math and English classes at home; upon completing the courses, students can transfer to the Bachelor of Arts program at STU. Elsipogtog Chief Aaron Sock noted that the odds of success are better if students have a good first year, stating, “you’re such a close-knit community [and] that’s what you’re used to so when you go off the community it’s bit of a culture shock.” Global News

Professors work to preserve Indigenous languages at FNUniv and UBC

At First Nations University, Cree language professor Soloman Ratt has launched a new storybook, Woods Cree Stories, and is working on 3 other book projects designed to preserve and teach Cree. The storybook includes Cree, English, and Cree syllabics and is designed for readers of various levels. Ratt hopes his books make their way into classrooms “to the children, so they can hear the stories and have a lot of good laughs.” Mark Turin, Chair of the UBC First Nations Language Program, is also determined to help preserve Indigenous languages by bringing increased language programming to the university beyond currently offered classes in Cree, Kwak’wala, Nle’kepmxcin, and Dakelh Dene. Turin noted that studying Aboriginal languages is important for culture preservation as well as for gaining a deeper understanding of history, stating that he hopes that UBC can become a centre for a “progressive and community-focused study of First Nations culture and languages.” Regina Leader-Post | Ubyssey

uSask strives to foster Indigenous culture and history on campus

The University of Saskatchewan has recently engaged in a series of initiatives and events that encourage the sharing of Indigenous arts, cultures, and history. Partnering with the Montreal Lake Cree Nation (MLCN), uSask will house a newly emerged historical treaty document. The document is an original handwritten copy of the adhesion to Treaty 6 signed in 1889 by MLCN and the Lac La Ronge Indian Band. The document was recently recovered during an auction and returned to MLCN, who has permanently loaned it to the university library at uSask. Further, the drama department at uSask has launched an innovative new program, thought to be the first of its kind in Canada, designed for Aboriginal students interested in drama. wîcêhtowin: Aboriginal Theatre Program is a 2-year certificate program where students create "new stories for a new generation.” Finally, uSask’s Cultural Co-ordinator Bob Badger is working to help students learn about and remain connected to their cultures. “I want to make the transition smoother for students coming from their communities to the university,” said Badger, who organizes sweatlodges and other events for students uSask News(treaty) | uSask News (theatre) | uSask News (culture)

BC government introduces new initiatives for Aboriginal learners

Through its Skills for Jobs Blueprint, the BC government has recently announced 2 new initiatives designed to increase opportunities for Aboriginal learners to access training. Under a protocol agreement with the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC), the government will support skills training and employment for off-reserve Aboriginal peoples through focus on 3 priorities: increasing education and training opportunities, increasing employment recruitment and retention, and engaging the growing youth population. In addition, BC has committed $1.5 M to Nicola Valley Institute of Technology for the creation of a new trades training facility. NVIT is contributing $300,000 to construction of the 670-square-metre facility, expected to open in 2016. The added space will allow NVIT to increase enrolments in the electrical, plumbing, and piping foundation programs. “The new trades facility at NVIT is a significant step toward meeting the training needs of Aboriginal learners desiring a career in the trades. This partnership between NVIT and government provides access to the relevant skills and knowledge required for learners to be successful in their careers,” said NVIT President Ken Tourand. BC News (BCAAFC) | BC News (NVIT)

Program focuses on building students’ confidence

Educators in Lethbridge, Alberta’s school district 51 are highlighting the benefits of the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit programming in practice at all district schools. The primary objective of the program is to encourage confidence and appreciation in the students, and consists of initiatives such as high school literacy intervention, Aboriginal studies, mentorship groups, and a program called “career quest” that includes extensive career preparation. “I was able to accept myself more because of this and I was able to meet so many great people,” said one student. Sarah Heimbecker, lead teacher of the programs, said, “the reward is building that sense of belonging in the school, allowing our kids to be leaders in the district in terms of any type of FNMI programming.” Global News 

Yukon College partners to deliver career-coaching program

Yukon College has partnered with Selwyn Chihong Mining Ltd, the Yukon Mine Training Association (YMTA), and Ross River Dena Council to deliver an 8-week life- and career-coaching program to YMTA clients. Program topics will include personality types, communication skills, computer literacy skills, professionalism and ethics, teamwork, problem solving and decision-making, worker rights and responsibilities, and health and wellness. A Yukon College instructor will deliver the program at the college’s Ross River campus. “Ross River Dena Council sees this as a very beneficial program for our youth of the community. We strongly believe the program will enhance their skills in all aspects of their lives. Many community members, including elders, are getting involved, sharing their skills and knowledge. The students are doing an amazing job. They are seen as very strong role models of the community and we wish them nothing but success,” said Verna Nukon, Ross River Dena Council Deputy Chief. Yukon College News

DFC and Confederation partner to provide dual-credit courses

Dennis Franklin Cromarty high school in Thunder Bay, Ontario has partnered with Confederation College to provide dual-credit courses for Aboriginal students. The institutions launched a 4-course pilot project this fall that will allow students to receive high school and college credits for courses in areas such as manufacturing, construction, and transportation technologies. The pilot project is part of DFC’s plans to introduce a First Nations trades-training school within the high school. A fundraising campaign is planned to fund facility and equipment improvements. “The students that I’ve talked to over the last year are excited,” said Nishnawbe Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief Goyce Kakegamic. “Bear in mind, this is an option, it is not for everybody. But there are some who prefer to go the trade route. They are excited, and even the parents are encouraged that this is developing and that their students will have an option to go to academics or the trade route.” Wawatay News