Indigenous Top Ten

August 26, 2015

Fire destroys Red Crow Community College

A fire at Red Crow Community College on the Blood Reserve near Cardston, Alberta has completely gutted the building’s interior and destroyed school records and documents. College VP Henry Big Throat said that existing plans to relocate the college to Saipoyi School in nearby Stand Off have been expedited in order to accommodate the approximately 300 students expected to attend the school in September. Big Throat noted that he is optimistic that students will be able to start fall classes with minimal interruptions. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is suspected to be electrical, although the investigation is ongoing. The building was the former site of St Mary’s Residential School. CBC | Global News | Calgary Herald (Fire) | Calgary Herald (Update)

Trudeau pledges $2.6 B for First Nations education if elected

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has announced that, if elected, his party will invest a total of $2.6 B in First Nations education over the next four years. His plan, which would replace the stalled First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act (FNCFNEA), includes immediate annual investments of $515 M in core funding for K–12 education, rising to more than $750 M by end of Trudeau's first mandate; it also includes $500 M over three years for First Nations education infrastructure and $50 M for the federal Post-Secondary Partnerships Program (PSPP). Trudeau also promised funds to support the inclusion of Indigenous history in Canadian curriculum and pledged to work with First Nations leaders to support the preservation of Indigenous languages. National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Perry Bellegarde welcomed the announcement and called on all federal parties to commit to First Nations education and other issues. CBC | APTN News | StarPhoenix | Globe and Mail AFN

Postscript: December 15, 2015

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently unveiled to a gathering of chiefs and delegates his government’s five-point plan to reset the relationship with Canada’s Indigenous peoples. The plan echoes promises made during the recent election and includes commitments to make significant investments in First Nations education and to remove the 2% funding cap from First Nations programs, beginning with the 2016 budget. Other commitments include holding an inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women and implementing the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. CBC | Turtle Island News | Winnipeg Free Press

Researchers working to develop cultural digital library for Canada’s North

Researchers from the University of Alberta’s School of Library and Information Studies are working to develop a cultural digital library for the people of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region in Canada’s North. The SSHRC-funded project, titled Digital Library North, aims to establish the digital infrastructure for a wide variety of items that are currently difficult to access. The digital library will hold items such as oral history collections, images and photos of various people and cultural activities, maps, digitized versions of cultural objects, and language-related resources. The uAlberta researchers will work with local communities and organizations to learn what their digital needs are and to ensure community input and collaboration. uAlberta Illuminate | Digital Library North

FNUniv and Parkland expand BEd partnership

First Nations University of Canada and Parkland College will now offer a four-year Bachelor of Indigenous Education program at Parkland’s Yorkton campus. The new program expands the existing partnership with FNUniv for the delivery of the BEd at Parkland’s Fort Qu’Appelle campus. Students will be prepared to work within the provincial curriculum framework, with an emphasis on Indigenous perspectives; program specializations include First Nations Language Instructors’ Certificate, Indian Arts, Indigenous Languages, and Indigenous Studies. “We are delighted to partner once again with Parkland College so that we can help learners pursue their academic dreams without requiring major upheaval from their home community. Delivering … community-based programs means that our students can concentrate on thriving in their studies and not surviving in a new city,” said FNUniv President Mark Dockstator. Parkland | FNUniv

GDI receives $11 M in funding from province

The Saskatchewan government has committed $11.2 M over five years to the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP) and the Dumont Technical Institute at the Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research (GDI). The investment represents almost 40% of GDI’s annual budget. “Steady growth within Saskatchewan’s Métis population has created an ongoing demand for basic education, skills, and university training through the Institute,” GDI Executive Director Geordy McCaffrey said. “In this 35-year partnership with the province, GDI has provided thousands of Métis people with training leading to good jobs in Saskatchewan.” SK | StarPhoenix

Translated legends are a way to bridge generational gap

Kevin Brousseau, Cree Language Coordinator for the Cree Nation Government in Eeyou Istchee, Quebec, is hoping to connect generations through the Cree language, and fables, legends, and folklore. Brousseau has been working to translate traditional Cree legends heard from his grandparents and local Elders into English for the younger generations. In addition, he is translating European folklore and modern fairy tales from English into Cree for the Elders and other speakers. Brousseau notes that he has had to get creative in order to account for some elements lost in translation, but has managed to translate dozens of stories. CBC

Edmonton group offers free education sessions on Indigenous history

The Amiskwaciy History Series group in Edmonton is hosting a series of free talks this summer that aim to educate the wider community about Indigenous history and worldviews. The project came out of talking circles held after Edmonton hosted the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2014; participants identified a need for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people to learn more about local cultures. “It’s a way to bridge gaps and bring people together,” said one of the organizers. “It’s a way for us to tell our stories, and be able to tell our history from our perspective. Education is powerful.” All of the sessions are being recorded and published on the group’s website. The project has received support from the City of Edmonton, Edmonton Public Library, and Niginan Housing Ventures. Edmonton Journal

HEQCO report examines alternative entrance pathways into undergraduate degrees

A new report from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) finds that there is “no one-size-fits-all pathway into university for non-traditional students as they face different barriers and require varied support.” The report, titled “Is there a Best Fit? Assessing Alternative Entrance Pathways into an Undergraduate Degree for Non-Traditional Students at York University,” examined four entrance pathways for non-traditional students. It found that full and equal access to a university education “can best be achieved by offering multiple program options that vary by intervention type, delivery, financial and academic supports, and by addressing student characteristics.” HEQCO | Full Report

UCN highlights successful Onikaniwak institute for educators

Earlier this summer, University College of the North (UCN) hosted its second annual Onikaniwak Summer Institute for educational leaders in partnership with the University of Manitoba and the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. Participants learned of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit histories, worldviews, and knowledge through a combination of academic presentations and cultural teachings and experiences. School divisions, education organizations, and PSE institutions from western Canada and the US were represented at the institute, which also offered activities for families and the local community. “Events like Onikaniwak only happen because of collaboration and a will to try different ways of learning in authentic ways,” said a UCN news release. UCN

Indigenous education symposium attracts global participants

A research symposium recently held in Fort Frances, Ontario attracted educators, researchers, and students from a number of countries to discuss Indigenous education. The World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC) organized the event, which was hosted by the Seven Generations Education Institute. Participants from Canada, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere explored similarities and differences between the various systems and discussed ways of improving Indigenous education and including language and culture within education systems. Participants planned to return to home countries to share new knowledge and pedagogies with educators and to apply new methods in the classroom. APTN | Symposium Program