Indigenous Top Ten

April 18, 2018

$1M gift supports Indigenous entrepreneurs program at UVic

BMO Financial Group has donated $1M to support and expand the Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs Program (ACE) at the University of Victoria, reports the Victoria Times Colonist. Developed out of a partnership between UVic’s Gustavson School of Business and Tribal Resources Investment Corporation, ACE offers culturally-informed business education for Indigenous communities in BC. According to UVic business professor Brent Mainprize, ACE has helped launch 72 businesses through the province, with an additional 128 in the planning stage. “Learning business skills is going to be transformational,” adds Miles Richardson, executive director for the National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development at UVic. “Maybe you can turn that money over in our communities, which is the beginning of having our own economy.” Victoria Times Colonist | UVic | Nation Talk

Lakehead law school dean steps down, citing systemic discrimination

Lakehead University Bora Laskin Faculty of Law Dean Angelique EagleWoman has announced that she is stepping down from her position. “I have been the victim of systemic discrimination at Lakehead University,” EagleWoman wrote in a letter to the law faculty’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee. The Toronto Star reports that EagleWoman was accused of focusing too much on the Indigenous mandate of the school. Yet EagleWoman maintains that her requests to provide cultural competency training “fell on deaf ears,” and that she taught all mandatory Indigenous courses in the past academic year in addition to her workload as a dean. The Star also highlights the experiences of complainant Amanda Trevisanutto, who filed a human rights complaint against EagleWoman and Lakehead after being terminated with “no justification.” In an emailed statement, Lakehead emphasized its “unwavering” commitment to its core pillars, and stated that it did not comment on personnel matters beyond confirming the resignation. Toronto Star | CBC

Enoch Cree Nation turns sod on new K-12 school

The Enoch Cree Nation in Alberta recently celebrated a sod turning ceremony for their new K-12 school Maskekosak Kiskinomatowikamik. The new school will be a state-of-the-art facility and has a projected enrolment of over 270 students. “As a Nation, we are extremely excited for our new K-12 School Project,” said Enoch Cree Nation Chief William Morin. “I'd like to thank my colleagues, Indigenous Services Canada, The Workun Garrick Partnership, Fillmore Construction, and our New School Building Committee for their continued efforts to make this project a reality.” The building project is reportedly being funded by a $22.5M investment from the Government of Canada, as well as $1.5M from Enoch Cree Nation. Construction on the school began in March 2018, and the building is set to open in September 2019. Newswire

UBC opens Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre

The University of British Columbia has opened the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre. The Centre contains archival photos, maps, and personal accounts of survivors collected by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is intended to raise awareness about the abuses committed at the schools, said Linc Kesler, Director of the First Nations House of Learning at UBC, adding that the Centre also includes an archive for those who wish to research further the legacy of settler colonialism in Canada. “The centre will be an important reminder for Canadians and will be a valuable resource for residential school survivors,” said Grand Chief Edward John of the First Nations Summit Political Executive. “It will also serve as an important source of information in the ongoing path of reconciliation by helping to preserve the history and to tell the stories of this very dark time in Canadian history.” Globe and Mail (CP) | UBC

Eastview students raise awareness of injustice toward First Nations people

Students in the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Cultural Club from Eastview Secondary School in Ontario recently shared stories with their peers and held a justice walk in hopes of raising awareness and understanding of the struggles faced by First Nations people. About 100 students took part in the justice walk. Grade 10 student Hannah Gill, one of the co-founders of the group, explained that the shooting of Colten Boushie encouraged them to raise awareness at the high school. “We realized there was no other representation at the school, so we took it upon ourselves to be that representation,” added Grade 10 student and club co-founder Samantha Scott. “It was a pretty big win that people wanted to sign up and come out. We hope that they realize that it is happening and it brings it to their attention because I know a lot of people are just oblivious.” Simcoe

Eastview students raise awareness of injustice toward First Nations peopleConcordia journalist-in-residence, students revitalizing Mohawk language

An initiative launched by Concordia students and Journalist-in-Residence Steve Bonspiel is attempting to revitalize and preserve Kanien’kéha, the language of the Mohawk people. While the federal government funds English and French education, explained Bonspiel, Indigenous languages have yet to be incorporated into school curricula. “Parents are torn,” said Bonspiel. “They want their kids to learn the language, but they also want them to have a higher education in university, so oftentimes it is seen as choosing between the two.” The initiative will see Bonspiel and six Concordia students examine the efforts of two Mohawk communities to revitalize and preserve the language, and develop a multimedia project that includes a feature article, a radio report, and a video documentary. The Concordian

Osgoode introduces new Indigenous and Aboriginal Law requirement

York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School will reportedly introduce an Indigenous and Aboriginal Law Requirement in September 2018. YorkU states that the requirement fulfills one of five priorities toward reconciliation outlined in Osgoode’s 2017-2020 Strategic Plan, while also meeting the TRC’s Call to Action #28, which advises Canadian law schools to require all students “to take a course in Aboriginal people and law.” The new requirement means that all students will gain familiarity with Indigenous law, which stems from communities; Aboriginal law, which is non-Indigenous law that pertains to Indigenous people; and codes of professional and intercultural conduct for serving Indigenous clients. YorkU

St Malachy’s Memorial High School holds Action Day to bridge Truth and Reconciliation gap

St Malachy's Memorial High School in Saint John, New Brunswick held a reconciliation Action Day as part of an effort to educate students about the history of Indigenous experiences. Hundreds of students took part in an assembly that was opened by Tobique First Nation Elder Edward Perley, a survivor of Indian day schools. Perley told St Malachy’s students about residential schools and their impact on Indigenous peoples for years to come. CBC reports that there are no First Nations communities close to the city, and that the assembly was an “unusual” experience for many students. “There is a lack of knowledge. A lot of teachers don't really know either. Some of the students don't know,” said Grade 10 student Connor McFarlane, a member of the Plains Cree. “I think it's better to get it into the schools.” CBC

CapilanoU University One program to offer path into PSE for Indigenous students

Capilano University says that this fall, it plans to launch its University One for Aboriginal Learners program, which aims to help Aboriginal, Métis, and Inuit students establish an academic foundation to prepare them for university.  The program will consist of several 100-level credit courses focused on reading, writing, and problem-solving skills, and will initially take in a small cohort of between 10 and 16 students. The program evolved out of discussions with First Nations communities, said CapilanoU First Nations adviser David Kirk. “The history of education for our people has not been the greatest,” said Kirk. “The whole intention (of residential schools) was to take away our language, our culture and our connection to the land. It takes generations to heal from that.” North Shore News

Piikani Nation takes on tiny home pilot project

The Piikani Nation in Alberta hopes to both address a housing crisis and give high school students the opportunity to develop skills for careers in the trades by testing out a tiny home pilot project. The Nation recently broke ground on the federally-funded program that will see a dozen high school students build a one-bedroom tiny home for a local elder. “We're giving these kids an experience as a team, empowerment, pride and a sense of community,” said program manager Jay Noel, adding that the project gives students apprenticeship hours, a high school class credit, and a paycheque. “The cool thing about the tiny house build is it still goes through every ticketed and non-ticketed trade, and every module is a segment of the build so they're going to get exposed to every career option in building a house.” “I feel very excited and I think I'll be overwhelmed when it happens,” added Piikani Nation Elder Joyce Little Moustache, who has been selected to move into the first home. CBC