Indigenous Top Ten

August 23, 2017

Anishinabek signs historic self-governing education agreement

The Anishinabek Nation in Ontario signed the largest self-governing education agreement in Canadian history earlier this month. The agreement enables the Anishinabek Nation to govern its K-12 education system on reserve, which includes managing classroom curriculum and school resources in the hopes of improving academic achievement and keeping students in school. “These 23 communities will be in the driver's seat in creating a great future for their children,” said Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee. “The impacts of colonialism in particular around the world with Indigenous people, they kept us uneducated and in poverty. And I think education is the key to our future, where we build capacity and we take over and run our own lives.” The ON government has also signed a “complementary agreement in education” for Anishinabek students who attend schools off reserve, which will see the First Nation communities and the province collaborate on programs and supports. CBC | Globe and Mail |  APTN News (video)

OECD gives Canada “mixed marks” for Indigenous education

An Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development report has given “mixed marks for the education of indigenous students in four Canadian provinces and two territories,” reports Indian Country Today. The OECD report examined Indigenous education in Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, the Northwest Territories, and Yukon in order to identify best practices and policies for improved learning outcomes. The report found that successful schools tended to share a common formula that included “an inspirational leader; strong relationships with students, parents and local communities; capable and committed staff; the use of every possible lever to engage and support students to be successful, and sustained commitment to achieve improvements.” However, the report noted a distinct lack of regional cooperation, and expressed doubt in the system’s capacity to meet the TRC recommendation to close the education achievement gap within one generation. Indian Country Today (OECD) | NIT (OECD)

UWinnipeg students take part in Youth United course, land-based learning

In recent months, eight students from the University of Winnipeg took part in a land-based learning course hosted by the Keeseekoowin Ojibway First Nation, and twenty students took part in a course that paired them with organizations dedicated to reconciliation. The unique field school hosted by Keeseekoowenin Ojibway First Nation allowed students to learn from elders about Indigenous ethnobotany. “This course provides a unique experiential learning opportunity to weave academic knowledge (basics of botany and plant taxonomy) with Indigenous knowledge of Elders,” explained UWinnipeg Indigenous Studies Professor Shailesh Shukla. Youth United@Winnipeg connected 20 students with community-based organizations in Winnipeg’s North End that are committed to carrying out the calls to action cited in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The program will take place again next summer. UWinnipeg (1) | UWinnipeg (2) | CBC

Laurentian student’s Indigenous cultural camp launches with last-minute support from union

An Indigenous cultural camp hosted by a Laurentian University student was nearly cancelled due to a lack of funding, but a last-minute donation from a local union enabled the camp to go forward. The event, which was designed to build relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, had only raised $500 by a few days prior to its scheduled date. “Five minutes [after I decided to cancel] the UFCW 175 from Thunder Bay emails me and says ‘we're going to fund this whole thing,’” said Laurentian student and camp organizer Kaella-Marie Earle. “He said it's because your story has touched our hearts, and we're horrified by the racism happening in our community of Thunder Bay.” Earle states that the event drew 10 participants, mostly non-Indigenous, who learned about medicine teachings, made medicine pouches, and discussed Indigenous governance. All participants were then welcomed to the Wikwemikong Cultural festival. CBC

Aamjiwnaang day camp sees youth engage with STEM

Earlier this month, the Aamjiwnaang First Nation held a science, technology, engineering and math education day camp for children aged seven to 12 at its Maawn Doosh Gumig community centre. “[We want to] help them realize that STEM is all around them, not just making slime,” explained Sasha Ekomiak, an Inuit Nipissing University student from Elliot Lake, who was one of the instructors at the camp. “We go from Ozobots, which are baby robots the kids can play with; we do an activity called Minerals in your Mouth, which is like dentistry, we do chemistry. It's a lot of fun for the kids to engage in.” CBC reports that the week-long camp was held in six Indigenous communities this summer. CBC

Canadore creates Indigenous Leadership and Land Internship

Canadore College has officially launched an internship program for Indigenous youth aged 15-30 who would like to learn more about how leadership can positively influence land guardianship and stewardship. “Indigenous communities continue to identify enormous gaps in filling employment needs related to environmental sustainability,” said Patricia Chabbert, business and Indigenous relations manager at Canadore. “This program will bring together knowledge keepers and community leaders to help youth prepare to take on these roles within their own communities.” The college has launched the program in collaboration with the Nipissing First Nation Economic Development Office and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Canadore

Capilano introduces University One for Aboriginal Learners

Capilano University has announced the creation of the University One for Aboriginal Learners certificate program. University One is an 8-month program that will be offered for the first time in the 2017-2018 school year, and is designed for students of Aboriginal, Métis, and Inuit ancestry who intend to pursue PSE. The program emphasizes the critical reading, thinking, writing, quantitative, and problem-solving skills that students will need in order to succeed in higher ed. The lessons include Indigenous content, field trips, storytellers, guest speakers, and connections with Capilano Elders-in-Residence. Students of the program will graduate with 12 100-level credits that can be applied towards other degree, diploma, and certificate programs at the university. Capilano

Renison UC offers uWaterloo’s first Indigenous language course

Renison University College will be offering University of Waterloo’s first Indigenous language course, Introduction to Kanien’kéha (Mohawk Language). The course is offered through Renison’s Culture and Language Studies department, in collaboration with the Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre (WAEC) at St Paul’s University College, and is intended for University of Waterloo students with minimal to no knowledge of Kanien’kéha. “I think teaching Kanien’kéha will help non-Indigenous people understand a little bit about who Indigenous people are and what our priorities are,” said course instructor Nicole Bilodeau. “I hope it sparks interest in people, Indigenous or not, to learn more about our collective history.” Exchange Magazine | UWaterloo

NorQuest, BVC receive $1.9M for Indigenous construction training centres

The Province of Alberta has announced that it will be providing $1.9M in government funds for the development of Alberta Indigenous Construction Career Centres at Bow Valley College and NorQuest College. The centres provide career coaching, resume development, courses and workshops, and support in connecting Indigenous people with employers hiring personnel for construction projects. “Indigenous people are hard-working, entrepreneurial and important contributors to Alberta's economy,” said AB Minister of Labour Christina Gray. “This additional investment will improve access to training opportunities and help more Indigenous people find good jobs in a key industry.” “This centre helped me get the skills I needed to enter the oil and gas industry,” added former AICCC client Benjamin McDougall. “Through training in H2S Alive and other related courses, I have been able to pursue a career in areas I had not thought possible.” NorQuest | Global News | CBC

Red Crow, ULethbridge launch Niitsitapi Teacher Education Program

Red Crow Community College and the University of Lethbridge’s Faculty of Education have partnered to launch the Niitsitapi Teacher Education Program, to begin in Fall 2018. “We look forward to working with the U of L on the Niitsitapi Teacher Education Program,” said Red Crow President Roy Weasel Fat. “The program will prepare students to teach from a Blackfoot perspective and ultimately, to pass along language and culture to future generations.” ULethbridge explains that the program is for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students or interested non-Indigenous students who want to become qualified teachers and work with Blackfoot children and youth. Students are able to take part in the program as a five-year combined degree or a two-year post-degree program. ULethbridge