Indigenous Top Ten

March 7, 2018

BC invests in childcare spaces, dedicates space to Indigenous children

The Federal Government and the Government of British Columbia have announced a $153M investment in early learning and childcare systems in the province. The funding will create 1,370 new infant and toddler child care spaces, and provide operational funding to administer low-cost spaces for at least 1,786 children. The investment also includes new funds that will create on- and off-reserve programming for approximately 590 families. “The B.C. government believes that every parent deserves to be able to access quality and affordable care for their child,” said BC Minister of State for Child Care Katrina Chen. “This funding, along with our own investments in child care, will allow us to make child care more accessible for low-income families and provide focused funding in areas of need, including more Indigenous and inclusive child-care spaces.” A separate Indigenous Framework on Early Learning and Child Care is also being co-developed with Indigenous partners to reflect the unique cultures and needs of children and their families. Nation Talk

School board advisory committee proposes Fort William First Nation flag

The Aboriginal Education Advisory Committee of the Lakehead District Public School Board has proposed flying Fort William First Nation’s flag at all board elementary and secondary schools, as well as the board office. The idea reportedly came from youth who approached the elder at a pow wow held by the board, said Superintendent Sherri-Lynne Pharand. “They talked about how it would be wonderful if not only could they carry the flag at the pow wow, but also have a visual representation of the traditional territory at the schools they attend,” said Pharand, who explained that the schools are on the traditional lands of the Robinson-Superior Treaty and Ojibway people of the Fort William First Nation. The proposal has been sent to the board for consideration, but not yet discussed by trustees. Nation Talk

Oshki-Pimache-O-Win Wenjack Education Institute to deliver mobile apprenticeship training  

The Oshki-Pimache-O-Win Wenjack Education Institute has announced that it will use a $1.8M mobile trades trailer to make apprenticeship training available to all 49 communities of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN). “We want community members to be qualified tradespeople who live and work in their own community, looking after their own infrastructure but also be mobile and working in remote sites," said innovation and training coordinator Gordon Kakegamic. The trailer will be used to deliver Level One apprenticeship training for six trades: welding, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, mechanical and millwright. Oshki is reportedly working with Northern College to develop a curriculum. “Our communities really need to stop the trend of industry training our community members to become helpers,” said Kakegamic. “We want to train them to be fully qualified tradespeople.” Northern Ontario Business

Bigstone Cree Nation sues Ottawa, Alberta over school funding, treaty violations

The Ottawa Citizen reports that Bigstone Cree Nation is suing the provincial and federal governments over “a series of funding and treaty violations that have caused sub-par education for its children.” The First Nation has reportedly filed a statement of claim, contending that money due to Bigstone Cree Nation under Treaty 8 was funnelled to Alberta without consent. The statement further adds that “practically all of Bigstone members who wish to attend post-secondary education or training are required to take additional courses or otherwise upgrade their academic knowledge and skills.” “Over the years, we have tried to talk to both levels of government without success,” said Bigstone Coun. Josie Auger. “Our children’s future has not been taken seriously by government.” Ottawa Citizen

Many student experiences are “embedded in racism”: Cote-Meek

The classroom experiences of many postsecondary students is “embedded in racism,” says Sheila Cote-Meek, Associate Vice-President of Academic & Indigenous Programs at Laurentian University. In an interview with CBC’s Unreserved, Cote-Meek notes how in her PhD research, she found a lack of scholarly work “that actually documents some of the experiences that Indigenous students and Indigenous peoples have, in their own words.” Indigenous students are often singled out to comment on issues facing Indigenous peoples, Cote-Meek argues, adding that the same is the case with Indigenous professors, who are often asked to comment on subjects outside their expertise because they are seen as speaking on behalf of Indigenous peoples. CBC

Partnership connects McGill nursing students with QC Indigenous communities

McGill University’s Ingram School of Nursing (ISoN), in partnership with Glenda Sandy, a Naskapi-Cree woman and Indigenous Nurse consultant for ISoN, have developed the Ashukin program, which enables Bachelor’s- and Master’s-level nursing students to acquire clinical experience in Indigenous communities in Quebec. “Students get to exchange culture and knowledge with members of an Indigenous community, while learning clinical competencies ranging from health promotion, health education to primary prevention care, and the communities get to share their knowledge, and benefit from the students’ work,” says ISoN co-chair Francoise Filion. McGill

Philpott promises budget will improve funding for on-reserve education, services  

Federal Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott has stated that the Liberal budget will put an end to the underfunded nature of child welfare agencies and services on First Nations reserves. Funding changes will allegedly meet the minimum increases needed to comply with the directive issued in 2016 by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. “The goal is that every First Nations child on reserve should get up to what provincial standards are for per capita funding,” said Philpott. “And then on top of that, we’re committed to adding on things like language and culture training and things that are particular to First Nations children. There’s evidence out there that that will make a massive difference.” The Edmonton Journal notes that there are 140 new schools planned or under construction. Edmonton Journal

RRU, FNTC partner on education, supports for Indigenous innovators

The First Nations Technology Council and Royal Roads University have announced a partnership that will provide Indigenous innovators with access to key tools and training. RRU reports that its technology-enabled teaching and learning expertise will be used to expand the council’s Foundations in Innovation and Technology, a digital skills program, from classroom to online delivery. “Values-aligned partnerships such as this represent an opportunity to advance our vision of Indigenous innovators leading and thriving in a digital age,” said FNTC Executive Director Denise Williams. “We look forward to working with Royal Roads University to expand access to digital tools and training for Indigenous peoples across the province.” The program will include training modules focused on topics such as web development / coding, GIS/GPS Mapping, communications, and software testing. It is scheduled to launch in Fall 2018. RRU

UBC launches public health program to train Indigenous health leaders

The University of British Columbia has announced that it plans to address health inequities by training Indigenous health leaders working in communities across the country. The school’s new Certificate and Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Public Health Program will be available through the Faculty of Medicine’s Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health starting in August 2018. “Focusing on these public health pillars through an Indigenous lens will help future students gain research skills and understand perspectives that can be marginalized in mainstream curricula,” said CEIH co-director Nadine Caron. “It is not a coincidence that the first step we are taking is a course focusing on research ethics through an Indigenous lens in addition to an introductory course in public health.” UBC reports that the program represents the first of its kind in Canada. UBC

ON invests in training for Indigenous communities

The Ontario Government has announced funding for Indigenous communities across Ontario to improve economic outcomes through training and job creation. “These grants are part of Ontario’s commitment to work closely with Indigenous partners so they can fully develop the talent and economic potential in their communities,” explained David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. In the Georgian Bay region, ON is supporting the Huronia Area Aboriginal Management Board Skills-Ready Aboriginal Peoples Project with nearly $250K in funding. The project will see Indigenous people receive training for jobs to support the refurbishment of the Bruce Power nuclear plant. In Southeastern ON, the Aboriginal Labour Force Development Circle in Tyendinaga will receive $120K to provide educational and career development support through the Developing our Future--Phase 2 program. In the Manitoulin Island Area, ON will provide $75K to the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation. The funding will expand the Foundation’s current cultural programming and support a new youth internship program. ON (1) | ON (2) | ON (3)