Indigenous Top Ten

May 30, 2018

Maskwacîs Cree Nations, Canada celebrate landmark education agreement

The Maskwacîs Cree Nations and the Government of Canada have signed a landmark First Nations education agreement marking the official transition of true local control of education to the Cree Nations. The Agreement ensures that all 11 Maskwacîs schools are placed under full administrative control of the Maskwacîs Education Schools Commission, which will serve as the single education authority for students in the area. “This is an historic moment,” said MESC superintendent Brian Wildcat. “Through this Agreement, Maskwacîs Cree Nations have exercised their Treaty right to education by delegating education responsibility to MESC to provide a quality and culturally relevant education for Maskwacîs children.” Over the past year, the Chiefs and Council of the Maskwacîs and the ISC have negotiated details centred on the need for better integration of Cree language and traditions, as well as more unified and securely funded system for the Maskwacîs schools. Financial Content

BC expands Aboriginal Head Start programming

The Government of British Columbia has announced a $30M expansion of the Aboriginal Head Start program across the province. The program supports culturally appropriate early learning opportunities for Indigenous children under six. “Our government is committed to the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and reducing the number of Indigenous children in care,” said BC Minister of Child and Family Development Katrine Conroy. “This investment in Aboriginal Head Start assists us in this important goal by recognizing the right of Indigenous families and communities to care for their children, guided by their culture.” The funding will go towards the creation of licensed childcare spaces, as well as the enhancement of existing programs and creation of new seats in these programs. CKPG Today | Prince George Citizen

Time for ON First Nations university: Regional Chief

“It’s time” for the Government of Ontario to seriously consider introducing a full, First Nations-led university, according to Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day. “We're now at an impasse, I believe, where all of what mainstream universities can offer our First Nations has pretty much run its course,” Day recently explained. “We have seen issues of racism, discrimination and systemic barriers that I believe will continue to occur because the foundation of mainstream education is not founded in Indigenous value systems and worldviews.” Day added that similar discussions had been taking place in local Indigenous communities for some time, and pointed to First Nations University in Saskatchewan as an example of what he would like to see in the province, but with tailoring to ON First Nations. CBC

Nanaimo district considering reconciliation principal, increased elders in schools, cultural facilitators

Naniamo Ladysmith Public Schools in British Columbia are considering using surplus budget dollars for supports such as a reconciliation principal, more elders in schools, and Coast Salish and Métis cultural facilitators. “We are starting to feel like we’re building some good momentum and some really true collective ownership right now with the initiatives that are already in place and we want to build upon the successes that we’re already starting to see,” said Vice-Principal of Aboriginal Education Anne Tenning. “Schools have so many ideas right now and they’re always looking for cultural guidance and help with the protocol pieces so having dedicated positions … can support these ideas.” The Nanaimo Bulletin states that the department will learn more about the surplus available for different initiatives in July. 

Nanaimo Bulletin

USask introduces Gladue database for Indigenous offenders

The University of Saskatchewan has reportedly launched a first-of-its-kind database to ensure the Gladue rights of Indigenous offenders are “fully accounted for during sentencing.” The Saskatoon Star Phoenix states that Gladue reports detail how an Indigenous offender might have suffered from settler colonialism and physical or sexual abuse, in addition to providing the individual’s residential school history. “This database will permit report writers and defence counsel to efficiently and effectively acquire information that can be submitted for judicial notice as part of sentence submissions,” said Craig Goebel, CEO of Legal Aid Saskatchewan. The Phoenix adds that the database will provide access from over “500 academic works related to Saskatchewan’s colonial history.” The Star Phoenix

SNP launches tuition-free welding course for women

Six Nations Polytechnic has launched a tuition-free welding program for low-income women. CBC reports that “the program, which is designed to meet a reported shortage of welders in the region, will also include modules on resume building, soft skills, and trades math. "Together, with community, industry and academic partners, this project will offer workshops and a speaker series to help women begin a career as a welder,” said Linda Parker, Acting Director of Operations and Advancement at SNP's Brantford campus. Education News Canada adds that students will conclude the 28-week course with a paid work placement, enabling students to have the education, skill sets, and attitude to enter and remain in the labour market. CBC | Education News Canada

Comox Valley SD 71 students participate in Big House Experience, learn more about history

Over 600 students from School District 71 in Comox Valley, British Columbia recently visited the K’ómoks First Nation as part of an annual Big House Experience. Students watched a presentation from the Kumugwe Dancers that included a number of dances from the First Nation. “I think it’s really important for kids, especially at that age, where they’re forming their ideas to interact with other members of the community, for them to come into the Big House and see positive role modeling from their own peers, people their own age, from the school district, dancing,” explained Band Member and Kumugwe Dancer Andy Everson. Aboriginal Curriculum Support Teacher Lynn Swift explained that teachers gave two lessons prior to Big House to prepare the students for what they would see, and the dancers took over once they arrived on-site. “I think if they all had a chance to be part of this or understand a bit more, we’d know about the history of Aboriginal people in Canada,” said Swift. “I think this is one of the small steps to get there.” My Comox Valley Now

Multi-partner initiative provides Red Seal training for Mi’kmaw community

An initiative by several community partners including the Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office of Nova Scotia, St. Francis Xavier University, and Nova Scotia Community College will provide apprenticeship training and work experience for Red Seal carpentry certification, an NS release states. The release adds that students began their workplace training in the spring, and that the remainder of the program will alternate between classroom and hands-on experience. “We have developed a truly innovative initiative that addresses multiple needs in our communities, made possible by leveraging partnerships and programs available within our province,” said Alex Paul, Executive Director of the Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office of NS. NS

Confederation, SaskPolytech sign five-year partnership for Indigenous research

Confederation College and Saskatchewan Polytechnic have signed a letter of intent to work together on new initiatives in Indigenous research over the next five years. “We have long endeavoured to contribute to the advancement of Indigenous education,” stated Confederation President Jim Madder. “This partnership will enable us to further support our Indigenous and other learners, while sharing with and learning from equally committed colleagues. We anticipate great benefits for both of our institutions through our work together.” According to a joint release, the collaboration will be led by SaskPolytech’s Director of Indigenous Strategy Jason Seright and Confederation’s VP of the Centre for Policy and Research in Indigenous Learning S Brenda Small. SaskPolytech

CBU introduces interdisciplinary program for Mi’kmaw students

Cape Breton University will launch an interdisciplinary program in science, technology, and business for Mi’kmaw students in September of 2018. Nation Talk reports that Indigenous graduates of CBU have historically completed Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Arts Community Studies, and that Mi’kmaw leaders requested the new program to introduce Indigenous students to a more diverse array of course and career options. “The world is a much better place with diverse perspectives and providing Mi’kmaw students the opportunity to study in fields that they have historically not been encouraged to, will ensure that their valuable experiences and perspectives are accounted for as these fields grow and evolve,” said CBU President David Dingwall. Nation Talk