Indigenous Top Ten

September 9, 2015

New Inuktitut digital library developed for early childhood educators

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) has launched a new digital library of Inuktitut resources for young children. Katiqsugat: Inuit Early Learning Resources is a database of early education materials gathered from Inuit educators from across Canada; the culturally relevant collection includes Inuktitut games, songs, stories, and research and is available for free to parents and educators. “Katiqsugat offers a way for Inuit to share our knowledge, and provides support to childcare centre staff and other professionals in communities that may not have training opportunities,” said ITK President Terry Audla. The interactive library is expected to grow as users contribute their own English and Inuktitut resources. Nunatsiaq Online | CBC | Katiqsugat

uAlberta launches hands-on learning program for Aboriginal youth

The University of Alberta has launched a three-year pilot of “Moving the Mountain,” a hands-on educational program designed to help troubled Aboriginal youth, aged 12 to 21. uAlberta will reportedly be the first Canadian university to offer the program, which originated at Harvard University. “If you’re on the streets or something you can just come here and work on things,” said Kirsten Threefingers, who until recently had lived in an inner-city safe house for three years. “The stars are lining up, particularly around Aboriginal education and diversity in education,” said uAlberta Dean of Education Randy Wimmer. “I think this is a tremendously exciting time for us.” Global News

Tribal council opens new Anishinaabe immersion school in ON

A new Anishinaabe immersion school has opened in Kenora, Ontario for local First Nations children. The school is called Kiizhik Gakendaasowin and is an initiative of the Bimose Tribal Council. The school will be open this year for children from participating First Nations in K–grade 2; the tribal council plans to add one new grade each year. Students will receive literacy and numeracy lessons in English while all other subjects will be taught in Anishinaabemowin. Organizers are looking at tuition agreements that would open the school to students from other First Nations and to non-Aboriginal youth. "It's so important that our students have access to the language, the Anishinaabe language, but also the cultures and traditions that unfortunately our public schools are not able to provide," said Andy Graham, the tribal council's Director of Education. CBC

Mohawk breaks ground on new Indigenous Gathering Place

Mohawk College has begun construction on its new Indigenous Gathering Place. Located at the main campus, the new outdoor space will consist of four elements: an open-air pavilion, a fire circle, a water garden, and a traditional garden. With seating for more than 60 people, it is designed to be an ideal space for ceremonies, teaching, or studying. Mohawk expects the Gathering Place to be open next summer. The creation of the new outdoor space aligns with other recent initiatives, such as the Wampum Belt Wall, designed to strengthen relationships with the local Indigenous community and to welcome Indigenous students, staff, and faculty to the college. Mohawk (1) | Mohawk (2)

Layoffs at FNUniv due to budget deficit

First Nations University of Canada has announced it will make layoffs to address an $800 K budget deficit. “In total there are nine staff members impacted,” said VP Academic Lynn Wells. “We tried to minimize the impact in any [one] area, so the layoffs were spread over a number of administrative and academic units.” Wells added that the layoffs were designed to minimize any impact on students. The deficit is largely due to lower tuition revenues than originally projected, although the institution did see enrolment growth this year. Current renovations underway at FNUniv’s Regina campus are expected to make room for more students in the future, and no further layoffs or operational impacts are expected. Leader-Post

NOSM boosts northern doctor numbers

The Director of the School of Rural and Northern Health at Laurentian University has found that more than half of the students graduating from the Northern Ontario School of Medicine choose to stay in northern Ontario cities and nearly a quarter are working in rural northern ON locations. Director Elizabeth Wenghofer compared 67 students from NOSM’s first two graduating classes to 468 students who graduated from other Canadian medical schools during the same period. She found that 64% of students who did both their undergraduate and post-graduate training at NOSM went on to work in urban settings in northern ON, with 25% working in rural settings. She also found that 70% of students who completed undergraduate training elsewhere but completed their postgraduate training at NOSM stayed to practice in northern ON. CBC

Winnipeg group launches website on Indigenous issues

A group from Manitoba has developed a new website that aims to help non-Aboriginal Canadians learn more about Indigenous issues in the country and connect with local Indigenous communities. Groundwork for Change (GFC) was developed by a group of non-Indigenous individuals who were inspired by the Idle No More movement; GFC organizer Monique Woroniak said the idea is to provide a spot where people can get information on Indigenous issues from an Indigenous perspective. “People have these questions, we know they do. Where are they finding the answers? You're talking about generations of non-Indigenous people in Canada who did not receive a public education about these issues in any way that could be called adequate,” added Woroniak. The website contains curated sources of information—such as articles, videos, maps, and links—on issues including Indigenous history, funding, and residential schools, as well as information about local Indigenous groups. CBC |

SK and FSIN sign education agreement

Late last month, the government of Saskatchewan and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) signed an agreement to work together to improve Indigenous education in the province. The MOU outlines each party’s respect for and recognition of the other’s contributions and responsibilities, and acknowledges Indigenous control of Indigenous education. Education Minister Don Morgan explained that the provincial government has committed to “work with FSIN, work with our partners across the province, to identify the things we can do to improve [education] outcomes.” The province committed more than $5 M in its most recent budget for initiatives designed to benefit Aboriginal learners, including shared service agreements and specialized programming. APTN

Aurora College develops new app for students

Aurora College has launched a new interactive smartphone app for students to keep track of schedules and courses. The app also provides a forum for local businesses and organizations to post events, housing and job opportunities, and information about other services for students who may not be from that community. The idea for the app was developed during meetings around the reinvigoration of Aurora’s student services offices. The college is also embracing technology in teaching, according to Northern Journal, which recently highlighted a number of programs using technology for remote delivery and training purposes. “We’re really looking at embracing technology and making it part of the way we do business at Aurora College,” said President Jane Arychuk. Northern Journal (App) | Northern Journal (Technology)

Fire destroys high school in Nunavut community

A fire at Peter Pitseolak High School in Cape Dorset, Nunavut has completely destroyed the building and displaced approximately 170 grade 7–12 students. No injuries were reported. Along with school records and materials, the fire destroyed IT infrastructure equipment belonging to the territorial government and a number of valuable paintings by local Inuit artist Kenojuak Ashevak. In a news release, the Government of Nunavut said for the short- to medium-term the community elementary school would operate on a swing schedule so that the high school students can continue classes. Nunavut RCMP has charged three youths with arson. CBC (Fire) | CBC (Arson) | Nunavut (Fire) | Nunavut (Update) | Nunatsiaq Online