Indigenous Top Ten

May 20, 2015

uSask introduces Indigenous language certificates

The University of Saskatchewan’s College of Education and College of Arts and Science have signed an MOU to enhance and deliver First Nations, Métis, and Inuit programming, beginning with Indigenous language certificates. The College of Education will this fall begin offering a certificate in Cree language proficiency that will be recognized by the provincial education ministry as a specialized qualification for teachers in SK. The College of Arts and Science will this fall hire a tenure-track faculty member focused on Cree, leading to the language certificate also being offered through the Department of Native Studies. The ten-course certificate will take two years to complete. uSask News

UBC student defends punctuation-free dissertation

A PhD student at UBC has successfully defended his dissertation, a 149-page document that is written without punctuation or capitalization. Patrick Stewart is a 61-year-old architect from the Nisga’a First Nation. His Interdisciplinary Studies dissertation, entitled “Indigenous Architecture through Indigenous Knowledge,” is designed to “make a point” about Aboriginal culture, colonialism, and “the blind acceptance of English language conventions in academia.” Stewart’s first draft was written entirely in Nisga’a, but after it failed to receive approval from a senior UBC professor, Stewart translated it into English. To satisfy the many critics and scholars who “couldn’t handle” the writing style, Stewart added a short abstract, written in standard, punctuated English, at the beginning of each chapter. National Post | Inside Higher Ed

Pilot program in Toronto Catholic schools encourages self-identification

A pilot program created in partnership by the Toronto Catholic District School Board and the Indigenous Education Network at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) is helping Aboriginal students self-identify while educating all students about Aboriginal culture and history. Aboriginal graduate and undergraduate students from OISE act as peer mentors to Aboriginal students in grades 5 and 11, and also provide resources on Aboriginal identity, culture, and education to teachers and other students. The goal of the program is to educate all students about Aboriginal issues while encouraging Aboriginal students to embrace their identities. “Education is now a place of knowledge and healing for Aboriginal students and that begins with making it safe for Aboriginal students to self-identify,” said OISE professor Suzanne L Stewart. TCDSB News Release

TD provides $1 M in support of National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at uManitoba

TD Bank Group has gifted $1 M to the University of Manitoba for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR). The funding will support student interns for the next ten years who will work to process and digitize the materials gathered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The NCTR has been created to house the four million historical records and more than 7,000 interviews of residential school survivors. President David Barnard noted that uManitoba is “honoured to help maintain these sacred records, and is committed to ensuring the NCTR is accessed by as many people as possible … We celebrate a transformational contribution to our country’s first and only research centre dedicated to studying the impact of the Canadian Residential School System.” uManitoba News

uManitoba and UBC celebrate Aboriginal med school graduates

Both the University of Manitoba and UBC are celebrating Aboriginal medical school graduates this month. At uManitoba, this year’s medical school graduation boasts the largest number of self-identified Aboriginal graduates in the last five years. All nine students will stay in Manitoba for their residencies, with five entering family medicine. uManitoba has had an Aboriginal admissions stream for years, and recently issued a proposal to reduce spaces offered to out-of-province students, re-allocating them to students from qualified but traditionally under-represented groups. The changes would offer more spaces to children of single and/or teen parents, Indigenous students, non-heterosexual students, students who grew up in low-income homes, and refugees. This year’s med school graduation at UBC will see five Aboriginal students graduate, marking an important milestone for the Aboriginal MD admissions program. In 2002 the faculty set a goal of graduating 50 Aboriginal MDs by 2020; this goal has been reached five years ahead of schedule. uManitoba News | CBC | Winnipeg Free Press | UBC News

ON nurses release report on attracting nurses to rural and northern areas

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) has released the results of a year-long task force investigation into issues around recruiting and retaining nurses in rural, remote, and northern communities. The report, Coming Together, Moving Forward: Building the Next Chapter of Ontario's Rural, Remote and Northern Nursing Workforce, makes 23 recommendations to address the shortage of nurses in these communities. These include improving access to nursing education in rural and remote communities, increasing the number of Aboriginal and Francophone peoples in the nursing profession, and providing funding for orientation programs for nurses who choose to work in rural and northern areas. The Conference Board of Canada’s Saskatchewan Institute recently released a report highlighting the benefits of having more Aboriginal people in the nursing profession. RNAO News Release | Sudbury Star CBC | Full Report

Métis Nation of Ontario signs MOU with Cambrian College

Cambrian College and the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) have signed an MOU that outlines the commitment of both to the improvement of Métis education. The MOU identifies several key areas of collaboration, including improving Métis education and training outcomes; establishing partnerships around ongoing skills development and training; identifying ways to increase college recruitment, retention, and graduation rates for Métis students; and increasing Métis participation in, and access to, Cambrian programs and services. “Cambrian College is the twelfth postsecondary institution in the province to recognize and address the unique needs of Métis and to agree to work in partnership to ensure that programming offered at the college addresses those needs,” said MNO Chair France Picotte. Cambrian News Release | MNO News Release

ON contributes $1.5 M to Indspire in support of Indigenous education

Ontario has committed $1.5 M to Indspire to support access to PSE for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students. The funding will support the Building Brighter Futures: Bursaries, Scholarships and Awards program, providing support for up to 400 scholarships and awards. Funds will also be used to encourage more Aboriginal students to enter teaching and other education-related programs. ON is providing the funding through the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities; the province committed $5 M for the Postsecondary Fund for Aboriginal Learners in this year’s budget. A recent report showed that Aboriginal students who received an Indspire award have a 93% graduation rate and an 84% employment rate. ON News Release | Indspire News

ACC to offer tuition-free health-care aide program for Aboriginal learners

Assiniboine Community College has partnered with the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples to offer the Aboriginal Comprehensive Health Care Aide certificate. The 24-week program will be offered at no cost to 25 Aboriginal people who reside off-reserve. Graduates of the program will be eligible to transfer a block of credits towards ACC’s Practical Nursing program. “This is an incredible prospect if you’re looking for a career in health care,” said Karen Hargreaves, Dean of Health and Human Services at ACC. “There is an abundance of jobs in this field.” ACC News

SK and SaskPolytech expand dual-credit program

High school students in Saskatchewan will have more opportunities to complete dual-credit courses through an expanded partnership between the provincial government and Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Three more courses will be recognized through the program, with students gaining credits for high school graduation and towards certification in Early Childhood Education. The courses will be available via distance education for grade 11 and 12 students from across the province, including students at First Nations schools. Students who successfully complete all three courses will be eligible for entry-level provincial certification, allowing them to work in provincially licensed child care centres. The courses are available through the program beginning in September 2015. SK News