Indigenous Top Ten

September 20, 2017

Regina celebrates opening of one-of-a-kind mâmawêyatitân centre

Regina Public Schools, the City of Regina, and the Regina Public Library joined with Elders and members of the north central community to celebrate the opening of mâmawêyatitân centre last week. The $42.2M centre is reportedly the first of its kind in Canada, and includes the new Scott Collegiate High School, a child care centre, a city recreational complex, a public library branch, a community policing centre, and a First Nations Elders’ ceremonial room. “Years of hard work have created a significant, adaptable space that will bring the community together, as well as create a space to easily access a multitude of services and programming,” said Regina Mayor Michael Fougere. “This will help create a stronger, healthier, and more engaged community.” The name of the centre is a Cree word for “let’s be all together.” A garden, soccer pitch, basketball court, and green space for cultural teaching and storytelling are all still under construction, and are expected to be completed by Spring 2018. SK | CBC

USudbury unveils Indigenous Nishnaabe-gkendaaswin Teg arbour

Last week, the University of Sudbury officially unveiled the Indigenous Nishnaabe-gkendaaswin Teg arbour, whose name translates as “Where Indigenous Knowledge Is.” Previously known as the Sacred Fire Arbour, the sacred space serves as a place where students, faculty, members of the Laurentian Federation, and the community at large can sit with ancestors, seek the wisdom of Elders, receive teachings, explore one’s place within Creation, and share in peace, understanding, and contemplation.  “We thank all those that were present for this monumental occasion in the history of the University of Sudbury,” says USudbury President Sophie Bouffard. “We know, and we can see from the level of interest the arbour has garnered, that this space is important for our entire community.” USudbury

Pathways to Education Canada partnership to improve Indigenous graduation in Edmonton, Saskatoon

Pathways to Education Canada has partnered with Edmonton’s Canadian Native Friendship Centre (CNFC) and the Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) to improve Indigenous youth high school graduation rates and to address education and employment inequity in the cities of Edmonton and Saskatoon. The partnership will see CNFC and STC deliver the Pathways Program—which offers a combination of academic, financial, social, and one-on-one support—to Indigenous students in Edmonton and Saskatoon, respectively. “Our mutual goal of improving the graduation rates of Indigenous students in provincial schools and ultimately in our member First Nations is an opportunity to work together and share in the responsibility of educating Indigenous youth,” said STC Tribal Chief Felix Thomas. NationTalk

Oromocto First Nation launches language program

Oromocto First Nation has launched a Maliseet language program in response to a “thirst for language” in the community. “A lot of our youth are excited,” said Allan Sabattis-Atwin, the band councillor who created the program. CBC reports that Sabattis-Atwin learned parts of the language from his mother, Chief of the Oromocto First Nation, as well as in school, but that creating the program would enable him to learn and teach the language without compromise alongside anyone who is interested in learning. “I've been taught by my elders that the language is a gift. It helps you to understand our identity. The language is the heart of our people.” The program received a grant through Heritage Canada, and anyone who is unable to attend the biweekly lessons at the local community centre will be able to access them online. CBC

New education money for Saugeen First Nations students

Saugeen First Nations students attending Georgian College for the high school diploma equivalency program will be eligible for an education fund established by SFN and the Saugeen Cottagers’ Organization Incorporated. The grant covers education and living costs for students, including the cost of travel, books, child care, and specialized work-related clothing and essentials. “The Cottagers made donations through their organization and the Fund also took advantage of matching funds made available by the Foundation to meet the needs of students furthering their educations,” explained Stuart Reid, Executive Director of Community Foundation Grey Bruce. Reid further added that $3.5K is available for the first scholarship disbursements from the endowment fund of $100K. Shoreline Beacon

SFU unveils hand-carved Musqueam welcome figure to honour local First Nations territories

Simon Fraser University hosted a traditional First Nations ceremony last week to unveil a new welcome figure at its Vancouver campus. Carved by Musqueam artist Brent Sparrow, the figure aims to honour and raise awareness of the local Coast Salish territories on which SFU Vancouver is located: the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and Musqueam. “The welcoming figure will not only welcome people from all over the world, but it will help our First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students feel a ‘sense of place’ on campus,” explained Gary George, SFU Office for Aboriginal Peoples officer for community relations. The artwork is titled Si’em, an honorific used to refer to elders, chiefs or speakers in Musqueam culture and other Indigenous societies in BC and around the world. SFU

Humber hosts workshop on publishing, editing Indigenous writing

Humber College recently held concurrent Indigenous-led master classes on editing and publishing Indigenous content at its Lakeshore Campus. Hosted by the college’s School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCAPA) and the Aboriginal Resource Centre (ARC), the event was delivered in partnership with the Canada Council for the Arts, the Saskatchewan Arts Board, and the Government of Canada’s Canada Book Fund. A Humber release reports that the event used case studies and culturally informed dialogue to teach best practices on the editing and publishing of Indigenous work. “Humber College is grateful to have hosted this distinguished group of Indigenous leaders in writing and publishing along with non-Indigenous members of the publishing community,” says Steve Bellamy, Dean of SCAPA. “This week was an important first step for the Humber School of Creative and Performing Arts on that journey of learning, change and friendship.” Humber

UAlberta ATEP expands to train Indigenous teachers for secondary schools

The University of Alberta’s Aboriginal Teacher Education Program now offers an urban stream that equips graduates to teach junior and senior high school, reports the Edmonton Journal. The ATEP program offers bachelor of education students extra support through access to elders and mentors, a dedicated lounge, and extra professional development. The Edmonton Journal explains that the region has seen growing demand for educators who can confidently teach topics such as Indigenous history and reconciliation, and that the province is developing professional standards related to supporting Indigenous student achievement. “School is one of those places (children) go not just to learn, but they feel at home,” said UAlberta ATEP student Alicia Cardinal. “I just want to be that place, where they just love to enjoy to come every single day.” Edmonton Journal

Students take part in groundbreaking Reconciliation Studies program at Haida Gwaii

Students from universities across the country have begun a semester in Reconciliation Studies offered on Haida Gwaii by the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society. The program, which has been accredited by the University of British Columbia, is reportedly the first of its kind in Canada. The course is taught in Masset and Old Massett, with students living in hostels, rented houses or cabins, or homestays. “Currently, [reconciliation] is the best term to use right now for what we're imagining for this program,” said HGHES Executive Director Carlos Ormond. “But as a community […] we all realize that there might be a better term for what it is that we're doing, then we're open to that.” Globe and Mail

SNP, Canadore form new strategic education and training alliance

Canadore College and Six Nations Polytechnic have entered into a formalized agreement that commits the schools to a number of educational initiatives. These opportunities include the creation of accelerated transfer pathways, development of community capacity, and delivery of education and training programs. In addition, the agreement will see the schools share Indigenous knowledge in a way that is consistent with First Nations Principles of Ownership, Control, Access and Possession and community protocols. Canadore and SNP will immediately begin planning for programs and program delivery, with key areas focusing on health and wellness, media, and trades and technology. Canadore