Indigenous Top Ten

November 16, 2016

UBC’s Museum of Anthropology receives $7M in Indigenous art

The Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at the University of British Columbia has received a donation of over 200 pieces of Indigenous art from an anonymous donor, the Doggone Foundation, and the Government of Canada. Valued at roughly $7M, the gift is believed to be the largest collection of Northwest Coast First Nations art to return to BC in recent decades. “It is an honour for UBC to receive this distinguished collection of Indigenous art at MOA where it will be accessible to both the campus community and visitors,” said UBC President Santa Ono. “The collection supports the university’s long-standing commitment to Aboriginal engagement, and to furthering the public’s awareness and understanding of Indigenous cultures and histories.” MOA Musqueam curator-in-residence Jordan Wilson added that “the belongings made by our ancestors have always helped tell the story of who we are and where we come from. I am excited by the possibilities of contemporary community members and artists engaging with this collection.” UBC |Vancouver Sun | Medicine Hat News | CBC

Arctic College announces law program start date, applications being accepted

Nearly a decade after graduating its last cohort of lawyers, Nunavut Arctic College has announced that it is accepting applications for a long-anticipated law program to be offered in partnership with the University of Saskatchewan. The program is due to launch in Fall 2017 and will have seats for 25 students. “I look forward to the first intake of students into the law program in the fall of 2017,” commented Nunavut Minister of Education Paul Quassa. CBC reports that the program will "place emphasis on the development of skills in research, writing, analysis and negotiation,” and that it plans to include courses about Indigenous legal traditions and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. Paul Okalik, who was the only Inuk lawyer in the territory at Nunavut’s inception, noted that “we are supposed to be a trilingual jurisdiction, and we can't even write our laws in Inuktitut because we don't have Inuktitut-speaking lawyers to assist us in drafting.” CBC

KTEI to build $2M centre on Manitoulin Island for 2018

The Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute and federal government are investing $2M to build an Anishinabek Skills, Innovation and Research Centre that will support the learning and cultural needs of Aboriginal students in Northern Ontario. The new centre will be “focused on skilled trades, innovation and research,” according to KTEI Director of Business and Training Beverley Roy-Carter. “We are looking at trades such as welding, electrical, auto, carpentry and plumbing—but not all at once—we will look at what the needs are first. It has been a vision of KTEI to offer skill-specific training and we are pleased to be taking this step forward. We are anticipating a 40% student increase over the next three years.” The centre will reportedly be open to both First Nation and non-First Nation individuals who are interested in education in trades, innovation, and research. Manitoulin states that the centre will be opened in summer 2018. Manitoulin | Radio-Canada

James Bay students learn Cree syllabics in virtual reality

The Quebec-based Cree School Board has launched the Cree Syllabics Virtual Reality project, which allows students from three James Bay communities to learn Cree syllabics in a virtual reality environment. By wearing a headset, students are able to enter and explore a virtual camp setting with a little girl named Niipiish and her dog Achimush. The learning tool was introduced this fall to Oujé-Bougoumou, Chisasibi, and Nemaska communities, and the school board hopes to expand the project to other Cree elementary schools in the future. “It excites me. I think the project can grow by adding more stories to the virtual reality,” said Lucy Shem, co-ordinator of Cree programs at the Cree School Board. “I know the children will enjoy and learn from it because children are already good with technology.” CBC | NationTalk

Cambrian, Atikameksheng Anishnawbek sign MOU

Cambrian College and the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation have signed an MOU that will serve as a framework for strengthening their working relationship, addressing the First Nation’s educational needs and promoting Indigenous culture at Cambrian. The partnership will see the two partners take on initiatives such as increasing the recruitment, retention, and graduation rates of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek students; identifying opportunities to collaborate on the development of new curricula, academic programming, research initiatives, and funding supports; and exploring the delivery of community-based programming and services from Cambrian in Atikameksheng. “Through this partnership, we will have a stronger voice in the development of programs and training that supports the unique needs of our community,” announced Chief Edward Steve Miller. NationTalk

MRU launches Indigenous Strategic Plan, permanently raises Treaty 7 and Métis flags

Mount Royal University has permanently raised the Treaty 7 and Métis flags on its campus as part of its newly initiated Indigenous Strategic Plan. The new plan reflects 18 months of consultation with both MRU's campus and surrounding community, and reportedly marks a clear commitment by the university to make “space for reconciliation, Indigenous ways of knowledge, learning, ceremonies and culture and create cross-cultural opportunities for all students, Indigenous and non-Indigenous.” “At Mount Royal we really believe that Indigenous people have the right to meaningful success and access to post-secondary education,” said MRU President David Docherty, who noted that the purpose of the flag-raising ceremony was to honour all students and members of the Treaty 7 Nations. MRU | Metro

Atlantic universities renew agreement with Aboriginal communities on economic development

A partnership of Atlantic Canadian universities and the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs gathered at St Francis Xavier University earlier this month for the renewal of the Atlantic Aboriginal Economic Development Integrated Research Program. “The Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat is renewing our relationship with our university partners at a time when all Canadian institutions, including universities, are working to address the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” said John Paul, Executive Director of AAEDIRP. “The renewal of our partnership, through the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding, is an important step in building bridges here in the Atlantic region. Together, we will work to advance awareness and understanding of reconciliation; and provide knowledge to support strategic policies and programs that will improve the lives of Atlantic Aboriginal peoples.” NationTalk

“Parity is not too much to ask for”: Chief on Lennox Island First Nation reserve school funding

“Parity is not too much to ask for. We have every right to receive the education that someone across the [Lennox Island] bridge receives,” says the chief of the Lennox Island First Nation.  Matilda Ramjattan says that the reserve’s elementary school receives $6K per student from Ottawa, which CBC juxtaposes with PEI’s Department of Education, which found that the cost per student in its public school system was nearly $11K. “Of course we always make the best with the money that we have. I always say that we're creative natives,” said Ramjattan. “But it means we're not always going to provide everything the province is doing, which we would love to do. We would like to be on par with the province.” A spokesperson for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada reportedly stated that the government is committed to improving education infrastructure in First Nations communities. CBC

Confederation, Fort William First Nation partner to support Indigenous learners

Confederation College and Fort William First Nation have signed an MOU to create new opportunities for Indigenous learners in the First Nation and beyond. The agreement specifically formalizes the partners’ efforts to deliver community-based education and training in a blended format to the First Nation with programming and support from Confederation. It will also foster consultation and participation from FWFN members in the development of college policies surrounding Indigenous education, and encourage the establishment of scholarships and bursaries for FWFN students, especially in the area of skilled trades. “The project that is being created here in Fort William First Nation is just the beginning stage of meaningful opportunities for our people,” said Chief Peter Collins. “It is a chance for those who have fallen through the cracks of the traditional education system to set goals, encouraging them to pursue post-secondary education and trades training.” NationTalk

Georgian acknowledges campus built on traditional Anishnaabeg land at Indigenous plaque unveiling

Georgian College unveiled a new plaque on campus this month that acknowledges that the college is built on traditional Anishnaabeg land. The plaque further announces the school’s dedication to honouring Indigenous history and culture and moving forward in a spirit of reconciliation alongside First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people. “Georgian wants to be part of the nationwide effort to restore trust between Indigenous peoples and public institutions—and we think that effort begins right here on our campuses,” commented Georgian President MaryLynn West-Moynes. “There’s a long way to go, but the college has demonstrated consistently its commitment,” commented Anishnaabe Education and Training Circle representative Kevin Wassegijig, who is also a Georgian governor and chairman. “That’s what led to my involvement with Georgian because it is embedded throughout this institution. It’s not something set off to the side, not something we just do just once in a while. It’s an important part of the fabric of the college.” Barrie Examiner | Georgian