Indigenous Top Ten

January 24, 2018

Fort William, TBCDSB partner on pilot kindergarten school

The Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board and Fort William First Nation have established a partnership that has laid the groundwork for a ‘pilot school’ in the community that will offer full-day kindergarten this fall. The classroom will open as a satellite of St Ann School at the First Nation’s community centre. It will be piloted for one year. “Short-term, we're looking to ensure that this is successful, that the programming is good and that we serve the needs of the community,” said TBCDSB Superintendent of education Omar Belisle. If successful, the school could expand to offer programming up to Grade 2. “For us, it means an exciting time and an exciting journey that we're about to embark on,” said Fort William Chief Peter Collins, who noted the opportunities to bring language and land-based teachings into the curriculum. “This is only a step in the right direction and ... maybe a long-term opportunity for ... schools in our community.” CBC

Brantford, Brant ON qualify for $2.5M in funding to increase Indigenous-led education in the area

The Ontario city of Brantford and County of Brant have qualified for over $2.5M in funding over three years to lead a plan that aims to increase Indigenous-led education in the area. “We have a large Indigenous population in our community and this program will allow them to build their languages and do it on their own terms,” said Brantford Councilor John Sless. The City of Brantford and a planning committee put together a three-phase plan to develop an Indigenous-centred early learning program that could be moved into a services hub led by a local Indigenous agency. “We are so grateful to be among the first off the mark to get this plan together and get it approved,” said Kathy Dickens, Brantford's director of program support and children's services. “What is key is that this is an Indigenous-led plan and a lot of agencies were involved. We made sure it came from the Indigenous population. They know best what serves their needs.” Brantford Expositor

USask College of Arts and Science unveils Aboriginal faculty recruitment plan

Over the next 10 years, the University of Saskatchewan College of Arts and Science says that it will “transform its existing faculty complement” by allocating up to three annual faculty job openings to Aboriginal scholars. The resulting 30 new hires will reportedly raise the proportion of Aboriginal faculty members in the school to nearly 15%, which is consistent with the proportion of Indigenous people overall in Saskatchewan. “We think it’s important that our college reflects the society we live in, but it’s not just a matter of numbers,” said USask College of Arts and Science Associate Dean of Aboriginal Affairs Kristina Bidwell. “By being more inclusive, we become more successful. We grow our knowledge base and we connect more to our world.” The college made its postings open-field and open-rank to ensure a varied and competitive candidate pool, and opted to make use of job openings from faculty renewal instead of relying on special funding. USask

BC school districts see improvements in graduation gap over 10 year period

School districts from across BC have seen great successes in closing the graduation rate gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students. Between 2008/2009 and the most recent data, the Okanagan Skaha School District (SD 67) saw the Aboriginal graduation rate of just 48% increase to 76%; resulting in only a 7% gap. The Prince George Citizen reported that School District No 57 has also seen a notable improvement, as graduation rates for Aboriginal students improved from 39% in 2006-2007 to 57% last year. The article outlines a number of the changes made in BC schools that have resulted in these increases, including the incorporation of more Indigenous-oriented curriculums and the First Peoples’ Principles of Learning. “We still, as a province, do have a discrepancy between our indigenous and non-indigenous students,” said District 57 superintendent Marilyn Marquis-Forster. “That continues to be something we want to do better with, as a province and certainly as a district.” Castanet | Prince George Citizen

Western heading up Indigenous health network

Western University will be leading the Indigenous Mentorship Network Program of Ontario, a network of 13 institutions that is dedicated to culturally relevant and scientifically rigorous Indigenous health training. “For the first time, we are connecting the networks of the Indigenous community with the networks of academia,” said Geography professor Chantelle Richmond, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Health and the Environment. “We are putting communities in the driver’s seat on health research that matters to them.” The project includes researchers from hospitals and universities from across the province, including Lakehead University, Laurentian University, Nipissing University, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Queen's University, Trent University, McMaster University, University of Guelph, and universities from Toronto and Ottawa. London Free Press | Western

Akwesasne gets online training centre through partnership between AAMB, Contact North

The Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne has a new online training centre located at the Peace Tree Trading Post on Cornwall Island, thanks to a partnership between Contact North | Contact Nord and the Akwesasne Area Management Board. The centre is located in the upstairs section of the Mohawk language school, and is comprised of computer workstations in a room with a boardroom table and teleconferencing station. “When the opportunity to partner with Contact North came about, at first I had some misgivings if I’m being truthful,” said AAMB Chairman Russell Roundpoint. “But after I found out what they were all about, I said, ‘OK, we have to jump on this.’” The centre will give students in the Indigenous community access to 18,000 online courses provided by public universities and colleges, Aboriginal institutes, school boards, and more. “This is Akwesasne’s Contact North online learning centre, that’s the way we look at it,” said Contact North CEO Maxim Jean-Louis. “You are the one leading us, we are the ones supporting you.”  Standard-Freeholder

Iqaluit high school introduces free hot lunch program to fight, teach about food insecurity

Inuksuk High School in Iqaluit, Nunavut has introduced a new hot lunch program to help address issues of food security. CBC reports that the program was started in part to ensure that students still had access to fresh and healthy food when weather issues make it impossible for food to arrive in Iqaluit by air cargo. Lunch is served by a mix of student volunteers, part-time student employees, and teachers. Students from the school’s food studies class also help prepare the meals. “Part of our food studies program is having a conversation about where our food comes from, why there's food insecurity and how we're vulnerable in our food supply,” said teacher Lael Kronick, adding that when a blizzard occurs, students are able to understand why the program tries to source as much food locally as possible.


ACC, Long Plain First Nation collaborate on counselling certificate program

Assiniboine Community College and Long Plain First Nation have announced that they are collaborating on a joint applied counselling certificate program that will focus on children, youth, and family counselling skills. The program will be offered on a part-time basis with a practicum component, and will include content on culture, Indigenous counselling, trauma, and crisis. Community elders and knowledge keepers will also be involved in the program. “Long Plain is very fortunate to partner with Assiniboine Community College in an exciting program that will benefit Indigenous people,” said Chief Dennis Meeches of Long Plain First Nation. “We look forward to the applied counselling program and wish our participants all the best in achieving desired outcomes.”

Brandon Sun ACC

NIC opens Thunderbird Campus

North Island College has formally opened its new $1.4M Thunderbird Campus at Port Hardy. By virtue of its location in Port Hardy's ’s Thunderbird Mall, the new campus is more accessible to students and community members. “Throughout my time at NIC, I've heard from many community members how important advanced education and training is to the local community,” said NIC President John Bowman. “It is critical to the health, social well-being and economic development of the North Island.” The new campus includes an open study area, a computer lab, offices, assessment areas, and a student lounge featuring wooden beams and cedar siding to emulate the Kwakwaka'wakw artistic traditions.

4-Traders | North Island Gazette

NWT Indigenous youth to receive $5.38M for skills training, nursing programming

The federal government has announced that a total of $5.38M will be invested in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, the bulk of which will go towards a new program delivered by the Gwich’in Tribal Council. GTC’s Taii Trigwatssii (Breaking Trails) project will involve about 80 youth in an eight-month skills training program that incorporates Gwich’in’ traditional knowledge,  adult basic education, essential life and workplace skills, and entrepreneurship. The remaining $800K will go towards supporting 18 Indigenous women through the two-year licensed practical nursing program delivered by Aurora College and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation. IRC Chair Duane Smith explained that the funding will help build and keep a professional workforce in the region, adding that “it provides stability, it reduces cost to the system — but they're also homegrown.”