Indigenous Top Ten

February 24, 2016

uManitoba education program dedicates 45% of seats to diversity

The Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba will select 45% of its students from five diversity categories for its September 2017 program. Indigenous students, LGBT people, racialized students including non-Canadian Indigenous students, students living with disabilities, and disadvantaged students will each be allotted a specific percentage of space in the Bachelor of Education program. “The policy attempts to address the social and historic inequities faced by marginalized groups,” said Melanie Janzen, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs. “As the Faculty of Education, we need to be making a more concerted effort to ensure that our teachers reflect [Manitoba's] diversity.” uManitoba | CBC | Winnipeg Free Press

BC to restrict use of Evergreen certificates

The BC government has introduced new rules around the issuing of Evergreen certificates to address what some call a “systemic bias” of low expectations. In BC students are streamed towards the Dogwood certificate, which is a traditional high school diploma, or the Evergreen certificate, which was designed for students with special needs but is often issued to Aboriginal students completing grade 12. An Evergreen certificate is not sufficient for direct entry into most postsecondary programs. While 1 in 67 non-Aboriginal students receive an Evergreen, approximately 1 in 7 Aboriginal students receive one. A 2015 report on Aboriginal education by BC’s auditor general recommended that there be decreased reliance on Evergreens, and numerous education groups have called for restricted use of them. Tyrone McNeil, President of the First Nations Education Steering Committee, said that the new guidelines will help improve education outcomes for Aboriginal students by ensuring each student gets the attention s/he deserves. “Now they have to pay more attention, they have to be more cognizant of where our kids are at and provide the supports that they need so that the majority of our kids will graduate with a Dogwood certificate,” said McNeil. BC | Vancouver Sun | Windspeaker | CBC

ON commits to teaching public employees, students about Indigenous history

Ontario has announced it will introduce mandatory Indigenous cultural competency and anti-racism training for all public employees in response to the calls to action by the TRC’s final report. In addition, the province is working with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities and education partners to develop a plan to implement mandatory learning expectations into provincial curriculum. The training for employees will include topics such as terminology, diversity, aspects of colonial history such as residential schools and Indian hospitals, and contexts for understanding social disparities and inequities. It will also include a focus on violence against Indigenous women. In addition, public servants will learn tools and techniques for more effective communication with, and enhanced services for, Indigenous people. ON | CBC

AB signs education deal with 5 northern First Nations

Alberta has signed a deal with the Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council that will benefit students in five northern First Nations. The agreement, reportedly the first of its kind in AB, outlines the framework for establishing a First Nations education authority. Through the partnership, current programs involving traditional skills and culture will be expanded, and literacy, numeracy, and environmental responsibility elements will be enhanced. The agreement will affect about 1,000 K–12 students from the Loon River, Lubicon Lake, Peerless Trout, Whitefish Lake, and Woodland Cree First Nations in northern AB, and could serve as a model for future agreements with other First Nations. "We want to ensure First Nations students have the instructional supports they need while receiving an education that reflects their rich culture and perspectives," said Minister of Education David Eggen. AB | Edmonton Journal | CBC

Million dollar gifts create awards for Indigenous postsecondary students

Two separate gifts of $1 M will create awards for Indigenous students attending PSE. At Queen’s University, a gift of $1 M from Birch Hill Equity Partners will create an entrance award for an Aboriginal student entering the commerce program in the Smith School of Business. The Birch Hill Equity Partners Achievement Award will provide $9 K annually and is renewable each year for the 4-year program. Furthermore, Indspire has received a gift of $1 M from the mining and metals company Rio Tinto to create the Rio Tinto Award for Indigenous Students. The federal government will match the funds for a total of $2 M. The award is designed to provide financial support to Indigenous students who are currently enrolled in PSE or would like to enrol in the future. The award gives priority to students in STEM fields, but students from all disciplines are welcome to apply, including mature learners and those pursuing trades. Queen’s | Rio Tinto

uSask, Dal partner with NCTR to promote education and reconciliation

Dalhousie University and the University of Saskatchewan have both partnered with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) to provide access for students, researchers, and community members to the NCTR’s resources and programs. The two universities join seven others in a national network of institutions committed to continuing the work of the TRC and developing the NCTR as a living archive. Librarians at partnering institutions will receive training about the NCTR database, which will be available as a link from all public library computers. “The opportunity to partner with this unique centre of national and international significance is an important part of our commitment … to supporting Indigenous education and reconciliation,” said uSask President Peter Stoicheff. Dal | uSask | Saskatoon StarPhoenix

SMU opens new Indigenous Student Space

Saint Mary’s University in Halifax has opened a new Indigenous Student Space on campus. The space provides a place for Indigenous students to work and gather and is designed to provide a welcoming atmosphere for the students. The space was officially opened with a ceremony conducted by a local Elder. Creating the space was a recommendation of the President’s Task Force Report on Aboriginal Students released by SMU in 2015. “This is just one of the many ways Saint Mary’s is celebrating and recognizing the diversity of cultures on our campus and building on respect for all the ways we intersect,” said President Robert Summerby-Murray. SMU

AFOA and CBU sign articulation agreement for Aboriginal students

A new partnership agreement has been signed that will benefit Indigenous students and communities. The agreement was signed between AFOA Canada and Cape Breton University to create pathways for Aboriginal graduates of AFOA’s Certified Aboriginal Professional Administrator (CAPA) program. Under the new agreement, CAPA graduates that meet certain requirements will be granted transfer credits in the BBA program and MBA-Community Economic Development program at CBU. “This is a very significant step for AFOA Canada since these are the first articulation agreements signed for the CAPA program. It opens up new possibilities for the continued development of CAPA graduates. It will enable them to make a very positive contribution in providing quality service in their home communities. It will make a difference,” said AFOA President Terry Goodtrack. AFOA

MNO and Detour Gold create Métis bursary fund at Northern and Boréal

The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO), Detour Gold, Collège Boréal, and Northern College have all signed MOUs to create a new bursary award for Métis students living in the MNO Region 3 of Abitibi-Temiskaming-James Bay. The award is available to Métis students studying a number of programs related to the mining industry at any campus of either institution. The funds have been available for the past two years, but the signing of agreements formalizes the arrangement and outlines the minimum ten-year commitment made by Detour Gold. The bursary comes as a result of the 2012 Impact and Benefit Agreement between the MNO and Detour Gold. Northern | Boréal (in French) | MNO | Timmins Press

Okanagan, Westbank First Nation sign collaboration MOU

Okanagan College and the Westbank First Nation have signed an MOU committing to a deeper partnership. Under the agreement, both organizations will work together to increase access to PSE and build professional capacity. “Okanagan College and Westbank First Nation have been working together for decades,” said Okanagan President Jim Hamilton. “Both of our organizations signed the Colleges and Institutes Canada nationalIndigenous Education Protocol earlier this fall and it seemed like the time was right to embrace the spirit of that document and commit more formally to developing opportunities for a deeper collaboration with this very important partner.” Okanagan | KelownaNow |