Indigenous Top Ten

June 1, 2016

Laurentian adds mandatory Indigenous content requirement to BA

Laurentian University has approved a new mandatory Indigenous content requirement for the Bachelor of Arts program. Starting September 2017, students will have to complete six credits of courses with Indigenous content. There are currently more than 100 courses available at Laurentian with over 50% Indigenous content, said Sheila Coté-Meek, Associate Vice President, Academic and Indigenous Programs. The new requirements are designed to promote greater understanding of Indigenous histories, cultures, and current issues in a Canadian context and to foster inter-cultural dialogue among students, faculty, and the wider community. Laurentian is currently constructing a new Indigenous student space that is expected to open in 2017.

Laurentian | CBC

UVic offers new diploma in Indigenous governance

The University of Victoria’s School of Public Administration is offering a new diploma program in Indigenous Community Development and Governance. The two-year, part-time program will include courses on governance; strategic planning; land, resources and economic development; human resources; and intergovernmental relations. Developed in consultation with Indigenous alumni and leaders, the program respects traditional forms of governance and is designed to meet the needs of Indigenous learners currently working or hoping to work with Indigenous communities and organizations. The program is reportedly the first of its kind in BC to use the specific model of blended online courses and multi-day, on-campus sessions. Applications for the first cohort are currently being accepted, with classes to begin in September 2016.


New keyboard app includes more than 100 Indigenous languages

A new keyboard app created by the First Peoples' Cultural Council (FPCC) in BC brings Indigenous languages from around the world to mobile devices. The app, called FirstVoices, provides keyboards for more than 100 Indigenous languages from Canada, the US, Australia, and New Zealand. The app’s creators hope to revitalize Indigenous languages by bringing them to youth via social media and technology; in addition, fluent speakers will have easier access to language resources that help to strengthen and share the languages. "When our languages are accessible and we're using them, they're visible and that's a huge part of reconciliation: to be visible, to be valued, for our languages to be supported," said Tracey Herbert, FPCC CEO. The app is available for free for both Apple and Android users.


JIBC opens new Aboriginal Gathering Place

The Justice Institute of British Columbia has officially opened its new Aboriginal Gathering Place at the New Westminster campus. The facility will provide space for student supports, studying, classes, ceremonies, and social events, and will serve as home base for Aboriginal-focussed programs such as the Aboriginal Justice Workers course. The space was funded by the provincial government, which—according to a BC news release—brings the total number of Aboriginal student centres at public postsecondary institutions funded by the government to 31. JIBC is encouraging the local Aboriginal community to make use of the new space and to provide input into programs and representation.


CBU to receive $1 M for chair in Aboriginal Business Studies

Cape Breton University has announced that it will receive $500 K from RBC to support its Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies, along with matching federal funds that will bring the total contribution to $1 M. The donation will be made specifically to In.Business: A National Mentorship Program for Indigenous Youth, which engages approximately 300 high school students per year across Canada. CBU also recently celebrated the release of a new textbook about, and for, those interested in Indigenous business practices in Canada. The book—Indigenous Business in Canada: Principles and Practices—is edited by Keith Brown, CBU VP International and Aboriginal Affairs and Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies; Mary Beth Doucette, Executive Director of the Chair; and Janice Esther Tulk, Senior Research Associate. The textbook includes contributions from more than 20 authors across Canada and the US and focuses on contemporary business practice in Indigenous contexts and the impact of historical policies and procedures on Indigenous business.

CBU (funding) | CBU (textbook) | YouTube (textbook)

New website launches to preserve and share Inuit knowledge

The Nunatsiavut government, in partnership with Memorial University, has launched the Tradition & Transition Partnership website, designed to enhance traditional Inuit knowledge and highlight the research currently being done in Nunatsiavut. Tradition & Transition is meant to be a place where “academic curiosity and the knowledge of lived experience of the Labrador Inuit meet.” The website is available in English and Inuktitut and has made wide use of input from Labrador Inuit on community knowledge and values, which inform both the website and much of the ongoing research highlighted. The website also serves as an archive of historical resources related to the Inuit of Labrador and will act as a hub for researchers from around the world.

Nunatsiavut | Radio Canada International | Tradition & Transition Website

Northern College partners with Lac Seul training centre

The Lac Seul Training Centre of Excellence and Northern College have formed a partnership designed to increase labour market training programs in northwestern Ontario. The partnership is a result of the work of the region’s Labour Market Working Group, formed in 2015 to address local needs. Through the new collaboration, area employers can now deliver short training programs such as WHMIS and Aboriginal Cultural Awareness to employees through an online training platform. In future, the partnership hopes to bring more second-career and needs-based programs to communities that don’t currently offer many opportunities for training. “Our goal with Northern College is to bring essential training where it needs to be delivered; if clients are unable to come to us, we can go to them,” stated Barry King, Manager of Business Operations for Lac Seul Economic Development.

Northern | Training Platform

Revelstoke school district signs agreement to benefit Aboriginal students

BC’s Ministry of Education and the Revelstoke School District (SD 19) have signed their second Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement. The first five-year agreement was signed in 2010, and since then, SD 19 reports improved graduation rates for Aboriginal students and increased literacy rates; the six-year completion rate for Aboriginal students has increased from 62% to 76% in five years. The agreement was informed by community consultations and workshops with students, staff, parents, community members, and educational partners. A provincial news release states there are now 104 education agreements that have been signed in BC.


Feds announce funding for skills training

The federal government has announced a call for proposals for funds to support First Nations training and labour market participation. The $50 M in funding is through the Skills and Partnership Fund, which encourages Indigenous organizations to partner with governments, businesses, and community groups to improve skills training. "We are the fastest growing population in this country and our people are seeking jobs and good training," said Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde. "We need initiatives that start to close the gap in employment, income and education between First Nations people and the rest of Canada."


Nunavut and Greenland working to establish student exchange program

Nunavut students may soon be able to participate in a student exchange program with Greenland. Officials with Nunavut Arctic College and Clyde River's Piqqusilirivvik School are working with high school Knud Rasmussenip Højskolia and trade and mining school Sanaartornermik Ilinniarfik, both located in the community of Sisimiut, Greenland, to establish an exchange program. Inuktitut is a dominant language in both regions, which will allow students to study in their home language. Students will also be able to access educational and cultural programs not available in their home countries. Students from Nunavut have often studied in Greenland in the past, but a new arrangement would make it easier for more students to explore exchange opportunities. Education minister Paul Quassa recently signed an agreement for the proposed program, but the details and logistics have yet to be worked out.