Indigenous Top Ten

November 15, 2017

UWinnipeg project to preserve Rocky Cree language, history, culture receives $2.5M

A seven-year project to extend the reclamation of Asiniskow Ithiiniwak (Rocky Cree) language, history, and culture has been awarded a $2.5M federal grant.  The project, entitled Six Seasons of the Asiniskow Ithiniwak: Reclamation, Regeneration, and Reconciliation, will be housed at the University of Winnipeg and directed by Dean of Graduate Studies Mavis Reimer. “The project is founded on the revelation of an ancestor, but it is oriented to the future and the ongoing work of reclaiming Rocky Cree languages, histories, and knowledge,” says Reimer. “We plan to share our work on multiple platforms and at multiple sites with multiple audiences. Our first audience is young people, particularly First Nations young people, but we also want to reach teachers, scholars, policymakers, and the general public. We see our project as research for reconciliation.” UWinnipeg | CBC

Ground broken on new Anishanabek Skills, Innovation, and Research Centre

Stakeholders have held the official groundbreaking ceremony for the new $2M Anishinabek Skills, Innovation and Research Centre at the Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute. “I strongly believe that a lot of our band membership are moving towards the trade sector and with this new initiative, I am guaranteed that the program will be full to capacity,” said United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising Tribal Chair and Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation Chief Patsy Corbiere. Kenjgewin Teg Elder-in-Residence Roberta Oshkabewisens led a morning thanksgiving ceremony to celebrate the groundbreaking. The building is expected to be completed by 2018, and the centre is expected to help meet the region’s anticipated skilled trades shortage. Manitoulin Expositor

Districts across Canada celebrate new school names, build new schools

Sturgeon Public School Division has announced the name of its new Grade 5-9 school in Morinville, Alberta: Four Winds Public School. The “four” in the name represents the four seasons and four elements of the medicine wheel, while “winds” represents the four directions of the world. The school originally met with local elders to seek their guidance on the use of a Cree word for its proposed name, and has announced that it will instead look to incorporate a Cree word in the school's welcoming message. Bear River in Nova Scotia also recently hosted the grand opening of their K-2 school and celebrated with drumming, speeches, and a prayer by elder Agnes Potter. In Saskatchewan, the board for Regina Public Schools has begun to officially consult the public on a possible name change for Davin School. The elementary school had been named after Nicholas Flood Davin, whose influential report led to the creation of Canada’s residential school system. The Regina Board of Education hopes to make a final decision by June 2018. NationTalk (Four Winds) | CBC (Regina) | Kinu (Bear River)

Cree language classes increasingly popular among K-12, PSE students in SK

Cree language classes are increasingly popular with students of all ages across Saskatchewan, reports CBC. The article discusses how St Frances Cree Bilingual School has grown from 100 students to 650 students in the last eight years, which has led the school division to request that the Ministry of Education rebuild the school on its former site. “First Nations families and other families are deciding that Indigenous language is very important to them,” said Gordon Martell, superintendent of Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools. “That's something in the education sector that we are very proud of, that we are able to collaborate with the community to help retain and proliferate Indigenous language.” At the postsecondary level, the University of Saskatchewan has seen the first graduates of its two-year Indigenous language certificate in curriculum studies program. USask Assistant Professor Kevin Lewis said that the program was developed with language teachers in mind in order to meet a need in the province. CBC

NorQuest signs CICan protocol, offers space for Downie-Wenjack Legacy Room

NorQuest College says that it has become the first institution in Western Canada to dedicate a special space for a Downie-Wenjack Legacy Room, and the first postsecondary institution in Edmonton to sign the CICan Indigenous Education Protocol. “Today we have also launched our NorQuest College Indigenization Strategy,” said NorQuest President Jodi Abbott. “More than words on paper, it will help guide our day-to-day work. It is a living document that provides us with a holistic approach to reconciliation and decolonization.” Abbott noted that signing the CICan protocol marked a commitment to making Indigenous education a priority at the college. “As an Indigenous person, it's very important for me to see that NorQuest is making these commitments to Indigenous learners and the community,” added Naim Cardinal, an Indigenous community engagement advisor at NorQuest. NorQuest

Previous Nunavik high school graduates to receive diplomas

Education officials in Nunavik have reported that the Quebec government has agreed to reinstate diplomas for Nunavik high school students who have previously received only an Attestation of Equivalence of Secondary Studies. The agreement will see nearly 150 high school students who graduated between 2015 and 2017 receive Secondary School Diplomas. “The Council of Commissioners and the Executive Committee worked hard to ensure Nunavik students would be treated fairly and we are extremely happy of this positive result,” said Alicie Nalukturuk, president of Kativik Ilisarniliriniq, previously known as the Kativik School Board. Nunatsiaq Online states that the QC Ministry of Education has not indicated when and how it will issue these diplomas. The school board is reportedly working closely with the Ministry to implement competency-based learning in mathematics through targeted training and extra support resources. Nunatsiaq Online | NationTalk

Indigenous communities, McMaster partner on water quality research

Two Indigenous communities will work with a McMaster University research team to find the source of contaminants in the water on their land and develop an app that gives real-time updates on water quality. CBC reports that Six Nations of the Grand River in Ontario and the Lubicon Cree Nation of Little Buffalo in Alberta will be part of this three-year project that has secured $950K in funding. Dawn Martin-Hill, principal investigator of the project and a resident on the Six Nations reserve, says that both communities have had issues with their water for many years. “This is exciting because we're bringing these two systems together, that have never really engaged to this level,” said Martin-Hill, referring to how the project will bring together Indigenous knowledge and conventional western scientific research. Researchers will collect and wirelessly transmit data on water quality, where it can be accessed through a mobile app that is available in Cree and Mohawk. CBC

Dal introduces first-year Aboriginal and Indigenous law course with experiential learning

In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action No. 28, Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law has introduced a new first-year course called Aboriginal and Indigenous Law in Context (AILC). The first part of the two-credit course was piloted this year and completed in mid-September, and included field trips, a Blanket Exercise, and community speakers in order to provide students with an understanding of the historic and contemporary issues facing Indigenous peoples. “This isn’t a conventional classroom course,” said Dal Professor Richard Devlin. “There are multiple moving pieces, including presentations, field trips, and displays. We believe it’s helping us move forward in the spirit of reconciliation. But it is only a beginning. There is a lot more that we have to do.” Dal

BC funds technical and trades training for First Nations in North-Central BC

The Government of British Columbia has announced funding for skills training programs designed by First Nations in North-Central BC to be delivered in their communities. The Kyah Wiget Education Society has received $390K to deliver training in trades upgrading, business administration, trades and academic certification, and more for up to 80 members of Witset (Moricetown) First Nation. The Yinka Dene Economic Development General Partnership has received $400K to provide members of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation and Tsil Kaz Koh (Burns Lake) First Nation with programs in areas such as parts and warehouse training and professional development. The Lakes District Aboriginal Training to Employment Society (LDATES) has received $480K to deliver training to 75 members from Skin Tyee Nation and Nee-Tahi-Buhn Band in areas such as welding, carpentry, land stewardship reclamation, security.

BC (1) | BC (2)

Algoma approves new First Nation certificate program, UAlberta launches PhD

A new certificate in First Nation social policy and community development offered by Algoma University will provide a pathway into the school's degree programs. SooToday explains that the 10-course certificate will offer students the opportunity to stream into Algoma's community economic and social development and community development bachelor of arts programs. The University of Alberta’s Faculty of Native Studies has also introduced a three-year compressed PhD program, which has seen its first cohort of five Indigenous students begin this year. “It was a bit strange that we didn’t have a PhD program,” said Faculty Dean Chris Andersen. “We are super excited because we are building a discipline and we are building a discipline institutionally from the inside out. It’s something that we worked our tails off to achieve.” Soo Today | Edmonton Journal