Indigenous Top Ten

July 15, 2015

New report shows Aboriginal women closing employment gaps

A new report suggests that Aboriginal women are outperforming other groups in labour market growth and have shown the greatest employment recovery since the recession when compared to Aboriginal men and non-Aboriginal people. The report, by TD Bank economist Brian DePratto, focuses on the off-reserve population using data from the 2011 National Household Survey and other sources, discovering that although there are persistent gaps remaining, overall the gaps are narrowing between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women when it comes to employment rates and wage growth. Employment growth has been particularly strong in sectors such as education, finance, and professional services, reflecting increased rates of postsecondary attendance and graduation. Globe and Mail | Toronto Star | Full Report

CMEC reveals new Aboriginal Education Plan at AGM

The Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC) held its AGM earlier this month, where ministers from Alberta and the Northwest Territories revealed CMEC’s Aboriginal Education Plan. The plan consists of four key priorities: supporting the development of more Aboriginal teachers, promoting understanding of the history and legacy of residential schools in all K-12 education systems across the country, ensuring all teachers understand the intergenerational legacy of residential schools, and sharing best practices on improving Indigenous education throughout the country. CMEC members also put forward a draft intergovernmental agreement that would allow a territorial minister to chair the organization for the first time, allowing increased participation by northern educators in the improvement of Canada’s education system. Northern Journal

New uSask President commits to indigenization

Peter Stoicheff, the incoming President of the University of Saskatchewan, has announced that he will make indigenization his top priority for the institution. “We cannot do our role in fostering a civil society with success unless we become demonstratively … the best place we can possibly be for the Aboriginal people of this province and of this country,” the new President said. “None of the rest of it matters at this point in our nation’s history if we do not achieve this.” The university must be a leader in closing the gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, he continued, calling this a “moral imperative.” StarPhoenix | CBC | Globe and Mail

STU creates logo for First Nations students

St Thomas University in New Brunswick has released a new logo specifically for First Nations students and alumni. Aboriginal Student Services Officer Dan Robichaud said that they wanted to create an image that would better represent First Nations learners and the existing partnerships between STU and Aboriginal communities. The new logo was designed by Shane Perley-Dutcher, a member of the Nekootkook (Tobique) First Nation, and consists of the traditional “T” combined with a double curve motif, a design element used by the Wolastoqiyik and Mi’kmaq for many generations. “I like that it represents the duality of the student. They are First Nations and they are a STU student and this represents both of these identities,” added Robichaud. STU | Logo

uSask and uRegina create awards for former youth in care

Both the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina have announced new awards for students who were in the child welfare system. At uSask, the Saskatchewan Youth From Care Bursary will fully cover the costs for up to five students per year, including tuition, books, housing, meals, and a laptop. The bursary is the brainchild of former uSask Students’ Union President and Rethinking Higher Ed contributor Max FineDay, and stems from his commitment to bringing diverse voices into higher ed. At uRegina, two new awards have been created for eligible students: one will provide $1,500 towards tuition and fees, and the second will cover tuition and fees for two semesters. uSask | CBC | uRegina

St Lawrence and Lakeland create awards for Aboriginal students

New awards for Aboriginal students have been created at St Lawrence College in Ontario and Lakeland College in Alberta. The St Lawrence College Foundation recently established two new bursaries designed to support Indigenous students at the college. One award will honour a student whose parent or grandparent attended residential school; the second award recognizes Aboriginal learners whose parents did not attend postsecondary education. At Lakeland College, a partnership with the Métis Education Foundation has created a special purpose fund that will provide awards to Métis students attending the college. “The establishment of this fund by the Métis Education Foundation is not a donation to the college, but we believe it’s an investment in Métis education, Métis students, and our future as a Métis nation,” said Métis Nation of Alberta President Audrey Poitras. St Lawrence | Lakeland

Education key topic at AFN annual meeting

Much of the focus of the Assembly of First Nations’ Annual General Assembly, held last week in Montreal, was on education and closing the gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students. National Chief Perry Bellegarde urged attendees to use the upcoming federal election to encourage politicians to address key issues, such as education. Former Prime Minister Paul Martin also spoke at the AGA, saying the federal government’s underfunding of Aboriginal education is morally wrong, and encouraging Aboriginal educators and leaders to make a public case for more education funding. Both NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau spoke at the meeting, Mulcair committing to a government-wide approach to addressing Aboriginal issues and Trudeau promising to boost funding for Aboriginal education. CBC | Globe and Mail Montreal Gazette | AFN | Times Colonist

NT educators discuss benefits and barriers to recruiting Indigenous teachers

At a recent Aboriginal Educators Symposium held in Yellowknife, educators spoke of the need for more Indigenous teachers in the Northwest Territories. Pointing to studies that suggest Indigenous students learn better when the material is relevant to their lives and cultures, northern educators noted that schools and communities can benefit from having Indigenous teachers that share the students’ histories and cultures. Educators identified lateral violence as one reason why it is hard to recruit and retain Indigenous teachers in the North; lateral violence occurs when members of a marginalized community or group resort to bullying, shaming, and other negative behaviours as a result of being oppressed. “We really want to move forward. I think we have the answers within ourselves, but we need help in actioning those,” said Denise Kurszewski, Superintendent of Schools in the Beaufort Delta Region. APTN

$1.8 M in federal funding for upgrades at SGEI

Canada has announced $1.18 M in funding through the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor) for Seven Generations Education Institute (SGEI) to support renovations at the Manidoo Baawaatig facility in Kenora. The Institute will use the funds to upgrade its culinary school, and create a conference and performing arts space as well as a technology and communications centre. CEO Brent Tookenay said the funding will allow SGEI to establish a “world-class educational, tourism and conference venue that … will help attract students and visitors to the area, while maximizing the tourism and economic potential of the region.” Canada

Feds announce funding for Lethbridge College program

Lethbridge College has received $380,000 from the federal government through the Post-Secondary Partnerships Program. The college will use the funds to support its new Community Health Promotion Program, which is designed for Indigenous learners and incorporates Indigenous knowledge. The program will offer both certificate and diploma options and will be delivered in partnership with Northern Lakes College and Red Crow Community College. The first intake of students will begin in January 2016. Lethbridge College | Lethbridge Herald