Indigenous Top Ten

July 25, 2018

Chiefs, elders, educators express disappointment at ON cancellation of curriculum development sessions

Several chiefs, elders, educators, and community members have expressed grave concerns and disappointments with the new Ontario government’s decision to cut summer sessions focused on developing educational curriculum on Indian Residential Schools. “We have heard from many educators, Elders and knowledge keepers and share their frustration as this important work was dropped just before it was set to begin,” said Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox. “This is a step backwards on our journey towards reconciliation. The education of the youth in Ontario shouldn’t be dictated by the party in power, but left to professionals who acknowledge that identity-building is the only positive move forward.” Jodie Williams, co-chair of the First Nations, Métis & Inuit Education Association of Ontario, added that the government’s decision betrays the province’s commitment to reconciliation. The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation is reportedly in the process of learning the reason for the cancellations. Nation Talk | Yahoo News (1) | Yahoo News (2)

Construction of new daycare in Iqaluit gets underway

Iqaluit is celebrating the start of construction on a new daycare that is slated to be the largest daycare facility in Nunavut. The daycare will have a focus on Inuit culture and will be run privately by the not-for-profit Tundra Buddies Day Care. The $8M construction contract has been awarded to the Iqaluit-based and Inuit-owned firm, Kudlik Construction. “The criteria is that it reflect the local community — that means that Inuit children will be exposed to Inuit language and culture,” said the Honourable Carolyn Bennett. “We believe that Inuit children have the right to be raised in their language and culture and be able to grow up as a proud Inuk.” The daycare will also include design work from Inuit artists, incluing Looty Pijamini, Lavinia Van Heuvelen, Barry Philip, and Izalasie Kopalie. Nation Talk | CBC

Indigenous students complete shipbuilding program

Twelve Indigenous students have successfully completed the Pathways to Shipbuilding for Indigenous Students program at Nova Scotia Community College. According to a release, all of the students have obtained employment at Halifax Shipyard. “I am pleased to welcome the graduates of the Pathways to Shipbuilding for Indigenous Students to our team at Halifax Shipyard. As was evident during their recent work terms, this class has the potential to be among the best shipbuilders in the world and greatly contribute to the future of the Royal Canadian Navy,” stated Kevin McCoy, President of Irving Shipbuilding. The release adds that the program includes mentoring and coaching from industry partners and two work terms at Irving’s Halifax shipyard. Globe Newswire (Irving)

High school student summer camp at SNP teaches STEM from Indigenous perspective

A new 15-day summer camp program offered at the Six Nations Polytechnic campus in Ohsweken is offering a STEM education from an Indigenous perspective. High school students who attend Gaǫdewayęhstaˀ Ohwęjagehka:ˀ (Learning on the Land) are connected with local knowledge-keepers and elders, and are able to earn a high school credit upon completion. “Kids learn better when they're involved directly with experiences on the land,” said Doug Dokis, senior advisor for Actua's national InSTEM program. “Indigenous communities and people have always known this, so we've been ... developing these programs in as many communities across the country as we can.” At the sister camp organized by Actua in Akwesasne, students have caught and dissected sturgeon, and were instructed about how traditional lacrosse sticks have been made with the spinal cord of the fish. CBC

USask announces ITEP MOU with Kahkewistahaw, funding for Indigenous healthcare  

The University of Saskatchewan’s College of Education and Kahkewistahaw First Nation have signed an MOU focused on the Indian Teacher Education Program. Under the agreement, ITEP will offer a four-year Bachelor of Education degree program in the community, providing postsecondary training for Kahkewistahaw members and surrounding communities. USask has also announced that two Indigenous health initiatives are among the four research projects that have been awarded $2.4M by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. USask Cameco Chair in Indigenous Health Alexandra King is leading the two projects, one of which will study the potential benefits of peer support for Indigenous women who have HIV or hepatitis C, and another that will investigate how to improve health and wellness in older Indigenous women living with HIV. “Within most Indigenous communities, we put great value on wisdom gained through lived experience,” said King. “Peer navigators relate to patients in ways that physicians and nurses or other health professionals cannot. It just makes sense to have peers involved in health care.” Nation Talk

Educated Indigenous youth pose opportunity for Canadian economy

The non-Indigenous Canadian population is graying at a faster rate than any time before in Canadian history, write Jock Finlayson and Kristine St-Laurent of the Business Council of BC, but Indigenous peoples as a whole remain relatively young. As this group becomes increasingly well educated, they pose a unique opportunity for the Canadian economy. “The 2016 census highlights persistent socio-economic gaps between Indigenous and the rest of the population, including substandard housing conditions and rising numbers of Indigenous children in care,” the authors write. “However, there are also some positive trends – in particular, the emergence of a better-educated Indigenous population.” The authors highlight the opportunity that this young, educated, and expanding demographic poses for employers who need help meeting their labour needs, while also improving the Indigenous communities’ overall well-being. Net News Ledger

U of T OISE librarian creates online resource for Indigenous educational content

Desmond Wong, a librarian at the University of Toronto's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), has compiled a list of 50 Indigenous education resources in response to the cancellation of the TRC’s curriculum writing sessions for K-12 education, reports CBC. "I compiled these items so that teachers would have something that they could look to that are largely created by Indigenous educators, artists, and authors to bring those authentic world views into their classrooms," Wong stated. "I think it's a responsibility for all of us as settlers to learn about these things and to celebrate Indigenous people and Indigenous students for the gifts that they have and the knowledge that they carry." CBC adds that the resources include books, Indigenous language materials, and TRC materials for educators. CBC | U of T OISE (Resource)

NL releases education action plan

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has released an Education Action Plan that aims to implement the 82 recommendations of a recent task force to strengthen the NL education system. The Action Plan's recommendations focus on nine areas, including mental health and wellness, Indigenous education, and teacher education and professional development. In the area of Indigenous education, NL states that the implementation of the action plan will result in an Indigenous education framework for the province; an Indigenous Local Course Policy; the active recruitment and support for Indigenous teacher education candidates at Memorial University, as well as providing teacher candidates with the appropriate knowledge and experiences for teaching Indigenous students; and linguistic and cultural support services for K-12 Indigenous students attending school outside of their home community. Nation Talk | EAP

Nunavut Sivuniksavut, Carleton partner on new Indigenous public service program

Nunavut Sivuniksavut, an Inuit youth college leadership program, has partnered with Carleton University to launch a new Certificate in Nunavut Public Services Studies. “We want to see more Inuit in the public sector to ensure Inuit are leading Nunavut at all levels, and education and experience are the key to realizing that goal,” said Nunavut Sivuniksavut Board of Directors Chair Jesse Unaapik Mike. According to Nunatsiaq News, the program will incorporate courses at Carleton with two work placements in the federal government. "While they're studying public administration topics at university, they'll also get the advantage of seeing what it's like to work inside government, inside a big bureaucracy and to get a sense of what the career possibilities could be for themselves," said Murray Angus, who helped develop the program. "That will hopefully provide motivation for carrying on in the university track and preparing themselves for careers in the Nunavut public services." The program’s first cohort will start classes in August. Nunatsiaq News | CBC

K-7 students learn numeracy, literacy skills and cultural lessons at GECDSB's Camp Migizi

The Greater Essex County District School Board has introduced Camp Migizi, a three-week dacycamp for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 7. The camp helps students to sharpen their numeracy and literacy skills and learn more about their culture. "The learning always begins with that knowledge keeper, so we have that authentic voice coming in here, helping those students to build that sense of identity and community," said Tina DeCastro, a teacher consultant who explained that the camp aims to teach students about their culture and "feel confident in their own identity." Students are also able to learn Ojibwe or Oneida from a language educator.  CBC