Indigenous Top Ten

February 21, 2018

Canada announces Recognition and Implementation of Rights Framework

The Government of Canada has announced that it will develop a Recognition and Implementation of Rights Framework in partnership with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples. The Framework will aim to lay the foundation for lasting change on issues such as eliminating long-term boil water advisories, improving primary and secondary education on-reserve, and taking further steps toward reconciliation. The framework’s contents will be determined through national engagement activities, with the aim of introducing a framework in 2018 and implementing it before October 2019. “We must acknowledge that centuries of colonial practices have denied the inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said Prime Minister Trudeau. “The recognition and implementation of Indigenous rights will chart a new way forward for our Government to work with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples and to undo decades of mistrust, poverty, broken promises, and injustices.” Canoe (CP) | Financial Content

AB Education invests $8M to enrich learning around Indigenous culture, broaden inclusivity

Alberta Education has announced that it is investing up to $8M to introduce new professional standards for teachers, principals, and school district superintendents. The new standards aim to broaden inclusivity and enrich learning around Indigenous culture in the classroom, as well as ensure that university students who are about to enter the education system can “apply foundational knowledge” about First Nations customs and culture. The standards will see the introduction of a new certification process for principals and superintendents. Some parents and educators raised concerns for the way the funding was being used, as well as the amount being put towards the initiative. The Calgary Herald reports that the standards are expected to come into effect by September 2019. Calgary Herald

BMO donates $500K to SFU Beedie to support Indigenous business education

Simon Fraser University Beedie School of Business has received $500K from the BMO Financial Group to support Indigenous business education. The gift will go towards research and educational materials at the school, as well as the creation of a $10K award for a student of the Executive MBA in Indigenous Business and Leadership program. “We are deeply grateful to BMO and John Ellis for their generous support over many years,” said SFU Beedie Dean Ali Dastmalchian. “This gift will enable us to make significant progress towards our goal of developing a world-leading offering in Indigenous business education.” BMO Senior Vice President Michael Bonner expressed the organization’s excitement to see how the funding impacts the development of Indigenous business education. SFU

ON announces Indigenous early years programming

The Government of Ontario has announced that it will be expanding culturally relevant programs for Indigenous children in its early years programming and providing more childcare spaces to support Indigenous families. “We know this will have a positive impact for urban Indigenous people living in cities and towns across Ontario. The long-term effects of adequately investing in our children will be felt for generations to come.” said Sylvia Maracle, executive director of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres. The province will spend up to $70M over two years on child care and child and family programs. “These new programs will be developed and delivered by Indigenous organizations or First Nations,” said ON Ministry of Education spokesperson Heather Irwin. “Many programs will involve Elders and Indigenous language speakers working alongside early childhood educators to support learning and healthy development of participants.” NationTalk | CBC

Partnership creates police cadet training program in Lethbridge

A new partnership between Lethbridge Police Service, Blood Tribe Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service, Taber Police Service, and the Canadian Pacific Police Service has led to a police cadet training certificate program offered through Lethbridge College. The 20-week program is reportedly one of a kind in Canada, and provides the opportunity for First Nations cadets to train locally with a municipal force. “The Lethbridge College has been an important partner in this as they have crafted this program to meet the needs of all southern Alberta police services,” BTPS Chief Kyle Melting Tallow stated. “Having these cadets receive academic credit provides opportunities for them in other areas. It is hoped that they build on this education with other classes or programs offered by the Lethbridge College.” Lethbridge Herald

Recent report calls for improvements in tracking, improving Indigenous education in Canada

A recently released report on education in Canada has found that Indigenous peoples continue to be left behind by the education system. The report states that while 92% of non-Indigenous people between the ages of 20-24 have their high school certificate, only 84% of Métis people, 75% of off-reserve First Nations peoples, and 48% of on-reserve First Nations peoples hold theirs. The report co-authors point in particular to the need for better data collection methods and information sharing in order to improve graduation rates while broadening the style of delivery of education. “When you know where you are, you can target where to go. When you know where there’s a gap, you can try to fix the gap,” said report co-author Parisa Mahboubi. “With that kind of information, educators are able to design programs that help Indigenous students to perform better in all areas.” Medicine Hat News

NOSM, Matawa, Eabametoong create unique First Nations residency stream

Matawa First Nations Management, Eabametoong First Nation, and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine have created a unique two-year family medicine residency stream. The program will see the three groups collaborate on the application and selection process, after which selected residents will work in the community of the Eabametoong First Nation. Physicians who complete the program will then be required to practise in a Matawa First Nations community for four years. “The Northern Ontario School of Medicine’s Remote First Nations Residency Program will focus on experiences needed to provide culturally appropriate, skilled, comprehensive family medicine care in a remote First Nation community,” said NOSM Vice Dean, Academic Catherine Cervin. “By having residents live in the community for extended periods of time during their residency, they will learn from Elders about traditional knowledge and healing practices, while also completing all the academic requirements of a Family Medicine residency program.” NationTalk

Prince Albert, SK seeks to shift conversations through education

In the city that was once home to Saskatchewan’s largest residential school, Prince Albert educators and students are working towards reconciliation. Carlton Comprehensive High School teacher Victor Thunderchild, for example, holds smudge ceremonies on the final Monday of classes before Christmas break. “When you go through the process itself, that's when the real learning takes place,” said Thunderchild. “And when the kids began to see that, we began to see a change in them. We began to see a change on thinking there's recognition for who they are.” Jana Wilkie, co-ordinator of the Following Their Voices program, adds, "I really feel like lots of time education gets—we always get—the job of making things right for society. In fact, I think it's many people's responsibility, many sectors of society.” NationTalk

Dal focuses search for new VP on “racially visible,” Indigenous candidates

Dalhousie University says that it will focus its search for a new senior administrator exclusively on “racially visible” and Indigenous candidates as part of its ongoing effort to increase the presence of underrepresented groups on the Halifax campus. In a memo to the university community, Dal Provost and VP Academic Carolyn Watters said that the decision is aligned with the school’s employment equity policy. “This is a position where we're looking across our senior admin ranks at Dalhousie, we note that there are representation gaps for racialized and Indigenous People, and so the decision was made to try and target our recruitment efforts to find qualified candidates who will help to increase our representation in the senior ranks,” said Dal AVP of Human Resources Jasmine Walsh. Walsh also noted that the school has been “deliberate and proactive” in its recruitment so that students will be able to see themselves represented across the university's ranks. Globe and Mail

Western knowledge finally catching up to Indigenous knowledge: SFU Professor

“There are many cases where science and history are catching up with what Indigenous peoples have long known,” writes Simon Fraser University Professor of Archaeology George Nicholas. The author highlights examples in several different fields where Traditional Knowledge was aware of a phenomenon or event that was not understood or accepted by Western Knowledge until significantly later, such as the use of fire by birds of prey. The author discusses how “both are constantly verified through repetition and verification, inference and prediction, empirical observations and recognition of pattern events,” before explaining the differences and distinct value of the knowledge systems. “To return to the firehawks example, one way to look at this is that the scientists confirmed what the Indigenous peoples have long known about the birds’ use of fire,” concludes Nicholas. “Or we can say that the Western scientists finally caught up with TK after several thousand years.” Maclean’s