Indigenous Top Ten

September 6, 2017

“Why is indigenization so difficult?” ask Four Worlds authors

Indigenization efforts often begin with the best of intentions, write Michael Bopp, Lee Brown, and Jonathan Robb, but “it is not unusual to see what turns out to be a complex change and development processes falter, or even stall somewhere along the way as the rubber hits the road in terms of actual implementation.” The authors explore what success looks like when it comes to indigenization in PSE, then describe some of the most common barriers to achieving this success. These barriers include a lack of basic knowledge about Indigenous peoples and cultures, intercultural incompetency, and the mistaken belief that indigenization can occur without a comprehensive transformation in the structures of an institution. Four Worlds

FNU reconciliation studies program gives fresh perspective on residential schools

First Nations University of Canada has introduced a new reconciliation studies certificate program that seeks to give a fresh perspective on the history of Canada’s residential schools. FNU Instructor Merelda Fiddler explains that the 18-credit program was born out of the “deficits” in education and curriucula that had been noticed at the school and beyond. CBC reports that the program “focuses on recognizing the shared history of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and the need to promote healing, equity and respect for … Indigenous cultures and values in Canadian Society.” “I think it's important that we acknowledge the past so we can make better choices in our community for getting over the traumas of residential schools,” said George Gordon First Nation Band Councillor Terry-Lynn McNab. CBC | NationTalk

Confederation introduces Indigenous Governance and Public Administration Program

Confederation College has established a new Indigenous Governance and Public Administration program in an effort to help support a growing need for education focused on working with Indigenous communities. The one-year Ontario College Graduate Certificate program will be offered in both full-time and part-time study formats, and may include the opportunity to complete a 6-9 month work internship. “As an Indigenous woman who works daily in areas of governance, I have personally advocated for this type of program to happen,” said Wendy Landry, mayor of the Municipality of Shuniah. “In the reality of dealing with transparency, industry consultation and other aspects of the business world, it is important that we as First People prepare our communities, our leaders and our future for effective and strong governance going forward.” Confederation

Canada commits to helping Indigenous students succeed at KIUNA

The Government of Canada has announced that KIUNA Institution, which is located in the Abenaki community of Odanak in Quebec, will receive $650K in funding over three years to better support Francophone and Anglophone First Nations students. The funding will also enable KIUNA to better equip its cultural space and language centre to provide an environment that reflects the cultural traditions of various Indigenous nations. “It goes without saying that adequate funding is key to supporting this innovative project, which unquestionably meets a need among our youth,” commented Lise Bastien, General Director of the First Nations Education Council. “We are dedicated to providing outstanding academic training and an environment that honours the students' history and culture. Therefore, we are delighted today to accept this new financial support, which complements the funding awarded by the province.” INAC

Queen’s, Aboriginal student centre launch Intercultural Awareness Certificate

Queen’s University’s Division of Student Affairs has announced the launch of an Intercultural Awareness Certificate for staff, faculty, and students to promote an inclusive campus community. The five-session program is delivered in partnership by the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre and the Queen’s University International Centre. “We know that in-depth cultural exploration helps build awareness, support and collaborative approaches to problem-solving and community-building,” says Janice Hill, director of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre. “This program is one way that campus partners are continuing to work together to make progress on the important issues and calls to action outlined in recent reports and echoed by our community members.” Queen’s Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney also noted that the program is aligned with the recommendations of Canada's TRC Task Force. Queen's

$80K worth of equipment stolen from Waterhen Lake First Nation school

The cutting of surveillance system wires and theft of 180 tablets and laptops from the Waterhen Lake First Nation school is being condemned by a band councillor as a “stupid and just idiotic crime.” “It's not the best news to come into on a Monday morning. The first that I [felt] was outrage and I was very disheartened,” said Councillor Dustin Ross Fiddler, who estimated the value of the stolen electronics at around $80K. The equipment was reportedly going to be used by students to work on their reading and math skills, and there are no immediate plans to replace the equipment. CBC reports that the investigation is ongoing. CBC

With Nunavik graduates to receive diplomas, KSB embarks on improvements

Quebec's Kativik School Board has announced that the recent accreditation of its secondary 4-level math, science, and technology programs will allow students who complete their required courses to receive a diploma at the end of the academic year. Previously, graduates were only able to receive attestations. “We’re still working to try and backtrack, to get those students [who received] attestations, their certificates,” said Alicie Nalukturuk, chair of the KSB’s council of commissioners. La Presse reports that KSB asked the Minister of Education to issue high school diplomas (DES) to 146 former students who successfully completed their education between 2015 and 2017. With the secondary curricula now approved, KSB has moved its focus to the introduction of new programs and ensuring that the communication channels remain open so that the board can make progress on other pedagogical and curricular issues. Nunatsiaq Online | NationTalk | CBC | La Presse

Thunder Bay grants Grandview Lodge to Matawa for new school

The City of Thunder Bay’s council unanimously agreed to sign a letter of intent to turn over the city’s former Grandview Lodge to Matawa First Nations for the purpose of opening a proposed 100-student Student Education and Care Centre for First Nations Youth. “We want to try to make it the best space possible for them to live in, to educate themselves and to move on to what I believe a good future for them,” said Matawa CEO David Paul Achneepineskum. APTN News explains that the building was vacant and on the market, and that the opportunity presented a “match made in the North.” “We want this facility to be a home-away-from home,” said Matawa’s education manager Sharon Nate. “This school and care centre will create a sense of belonging for our students.” TB News Watch (Matawa) | APTN News

CNC Quesnel dedicates new learning space

The College of New Caledonia’s Quesnel Campus recently dedicated a new on-campus Aboriginal learning space. The space was named “Koo hoonzoo ‘et hots’dul’eh, which means “It’s a beautiful place; we are learning.” The name was suggested by Stephanie Boyko through a naming contest. The gathering space is designed to be a “welcoming and culturally safe environment for Aboriginal learners.” It is located at the heart of the campus, and President Henry Reiser explained that “the location is an acknowledgement of the importance of our continued relationships with the three First Nations in the Quesnel area. CNC

Loyalist, Carleton rename resource centre to use preferred term Indigenous

Loyalist College has announced that it has renamed its resource centre the Indigenous Resource Centre. “We strongly encourage the use of the word ‘Indigenous’ in lieu of the term ‘Aboriginal’ in all instances,” said Loyalist Indigenous Services coordinator Paul Latchford, who explained that “using the correct vernacular will help us create a more positive learning environment for our First Nations, Inuit and Métis students.” Carleton has also announced that its Centre for Aboriginal Culture and Education has changed its name to the Centre for Indigenous Initiatives. Both institutions explain that the change references the recent national move to embrace the term ‘Indigenous’ as a preferred term for First nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples as a collective. Carleton has also stated that Ojigkwanong, the Indigenous space on-campus, will now be called the Ojigkwanong centre. NationTalk (Loyalist) | Carleton