Indigenous Top Ten

May 2, 2018

VIU to recognize Indigenous Peoples with Canadian ancestral lands as domestic students

Vancouver Island University’s Board of Governors has moved to approve a new tuition framework that allows any Indigenous peoples whose ancestral lands are within Canada to be considered domestic students rather than international students. The change was made after discussions with Indigenous communities indicated a strong interest in enhancing educational opportunities for members of those communities who live outside of Canada. “The Jay treaty is part of a legacy of obligations and understandings respecting Indigenous peoples that have for too long been ignored and violated,” said Snuneymuxw Councilor and VIU Centre for Pre-Confederation Treaties and Reconciliation Director Douglas White III. “It is through concrete action that changes the lives of people, like this tuition adjustment, that a better future can be built.” VIU

NOSM engages panel to examine School’s relationship with Indigenous communities

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine has engaged an Expert Panel to gather input from key stakeholders and report on the relationships, structures, and policies existing between the school and Indigenous peoples. The panel will seek input from key stakeholder groups—including the Elders Council; Indigenous communities and organizations; and NOSM learners, staff, and faculty—on topics such as curriculum, Indigenous leadership and influence, and support structures. “The Northern Ontario School of Medicine has a mandate to be accountable to the Indigenous Peoples and communities of the region,” said NOSM Interim Director of Indigenous Affairs Darrel Manitowabi, “and if we are to be accountable, we have to reflect on where the School’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples currently stands, and where it can be improved.” Nation Talk | Thunder Bay Newswatch

SK will not reach 65% target for Indigenous grad rates: advocate

An advocate for children and youth in Saskatchewan says that he does not believe that the SK government will achieve Indigenous high school student graduation rates of 65% by 2020. SK Advocate for Children and Youth Corey O'Soup released a report on the subject last month, highlighting issues related to mental health and education. “If we're going up 1.4 per cent per year, I find it pretty difficult that we'll do 20 per cent in the next two years, so I would say no — and I was a part of the ministry when we set those targets and I think they were pretty ambitious,” said O'Soup. CBC reports that graduation rates among First Nations and Métis students in the province have lagged behind non-Indigenous students for years. In 2012, the SK government announced the goal of closing the gap in high school graduation rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students by half by 2020. CBC | Global News

Medicine Wheel Gardens planted in Peterborough elementary schools

Students at St Alphonsus Catholic Elementary School in Peterborough, Ontario gathered inside the school’s Medicine Wheel Gardn to learn about the significance of the garden to First Nations people. “When we begin a Medicine Garden, the first thing we should do is the teachings so they understand what that Medicine Garden is about,” said knowledge keeper Kim Muskratt. “They are very important. They help us remember those ancestors. You are on Mississauga Territory and having that Medicine Garden is honouring those ancestors…and the territory.” The Garden was installed last October with a Grant from the RJ McCarthy Foundation, and St Alphonsus has since joined with the local St Anne Catholic Elementary School to help create a garden at St Anne and participate in lessons together. “We also wanted to help them (St. Anne students) get a Medicine Wheel Garden and encourage them to go out into nature,” said St Alphonsus student Thera Tubera, who felt St Anne students would benefit from learning about Native Studies. MyKawartha

YorkU students’ Indigenous Friends app receives grant for expansion

York University’s Indigenous Friends Association’s social networking tool, which was designed to connect and support Indigenous postsecondary students, has received an Ontario Trillium grant to expand to universities and colleges across the province. The application is free to users, but requires a membership tag from YorkU’s Indigenous student centre to ensure the app's community is a safe space for Indigenous people. “The Indigenous Friends app has given me many opportunities to learn the knowledge within our Aboriginal communities for our people,” said McKenzie Toulouse, a YorkU student of Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation and the administrative advisor of the Indigenous Friends Association. The association hopes to be able to reach into communities in northern ON. Nation Talk | CBC

UVic IGOV suspends enrolment, plans to redesign program in light of review

A third-party review of the Indigenous Governance program at the University of Victoria found that current and former students were “traumatized” by “dysfunctional classroom dynamics.” New student enrolment for the program has been suspended for the 2018-19 school year as the institution revises the program. “We see redeveloping this program as part of a process of healing and reconciliation,” said UVic Associate Vice-president for Academic Planning Nancy Wright. In a letter to alumni of the program, UVic Provost Valerie Kuehne added that the university would be working with Indigenous scholars, local Elders, and community members to guide the redesign of the program. CBC

Indigenous leaders call for changes as law school dean resigns from Lakehead

Angelique EagleWoman’s resignation as Lakehead University’s Dean of Law has prompted dozens of Indigenous leaders to call for “immediate changes,” reports CBC. EagleWoman stated that Lakehead ignored her concerns about staffing, workplace respect, and the need for cultural competency training. “At times, I went to people higher in the administration and asked for their intervention and, again, it all led to me seeing there was no way forward,” she said. CBC adds that two Indigenous leaders have forwarded several recommendations to Lakehead in light of the resignation. In a statement, Lakehead responded that it is “committed to creating the conditions whereby everyone at Lakehead University can flourish and we look forward to ongoing dialogue and action.” CBC | APTN (1) | APTN (2)

New programs, positions at RRC advance Indigenous education in MB

Red River College has announced five new programs for Indigenous learners. According to an RRC news release, two of the programs will offer “preparatory, exploratory and transitional experience, while the remaining three programs aim to grow Indigenous representation within their respective sectors.” The programs are reportedly part of an ongoing consultation process with RRC and community stakeholders focused on Indigenous education. “Over the last year, we have been working to create better access to programs, new training opportunities, and more pathways to post-secondary education for our Indigenous learners,” stated RRC Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy Rebecca Chartrand. RRC adds that the college has have also created 12 new positions based on its Indigenous education infrastructure. RRC

Education students use tech to bring storytelling to diverse academic subjects

A group of students in the Indian Teacher Education Program at the University of Saskatchewan is working to use technology to bring traditional storytelling into today’s classrooms. The group is using technologies like virtual reality and animation to bring lessons of traditional living into modern classrooms, allowing students to have a more interactive experience and come away with a feeling that they have participated in those Indigenous practices. CBC reports that the students are using traditional stories as a way to introduce topics like biology, conservation, and medicine. “What we are doing is using technology as a conduit…to allow students to see [the] Indigenous world view and non-Indigenous world view,” said Rollin Baldhead, a member of the student group behind the project. CBC

Longue Sault Public School, Ahkwesahsne Mohawk School exchange ideas

Students and staff from Longue Sault Public School and Ahkwesahsne Mohawk School recently gathered to participate in a “Celebration of First Nations” at LSPS. At the event, Grade 1 and 2 students learned First Nation games and the history behind them, Grade 3 students learned about wampum belts, and Grade 4 students listened to stories about First Nations culture and spiritual practices. “They shared many stories and legends about (First Nations) rich culture and heritage,” LSPS Teacher Helene Sauve said. “Students came to understand the many influences the Indigenous culture has had on our lives.” The event is reportedly one of multiple initiatives that the Upper Canada District School Board has undertaken to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action. Grade 2/3 students have reportedly also had the opportunity to write to pen pals at Tsi Snaihne School, and last May, Grade 5 and 6 students from across the region were able to attend the Truth and Reconciliation Commission +2 Gathering-Reflection and Renewal event in Cornwall, ON. Standard-Freeholder