Indigenous Top Ten

October 17, 2018

Canada’s youth will be the ones to chart a way forward for reconciliation: FineDay

There is reason for optimism in the fact that Canada’s youth will be key to the cause of reconciliation, says Max FineDay, executive director of the Canadian Roots Exchange. “When Canadians are polled, it’s young people that are the most optimistic that reconciliation can be achieved in their lifetime,” says FineDay, noting that each generation has a different idea of what reconciliation should look like. FineDay says that Canada’s Millennials will begin to shape a path forward in coming years, and will focus on building a national network of passionate people who are willing to learn from each other and help adapt solutions that have previously been successful in other communities across the country. FineDay concludes that Canada is at a critical juncture in the process of reconciliation, one in which it can either continue moving forward or retrench in the colonial mindset. Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Kainai First Nations athlete calls on McGill to change Redmen name

An athlete on McGill University’s rowing team is calling on the university to change the Redmen team name. “Listening to the experiences of other varsity athletes throughout the university and other Indigenous students on campus, I thought it was important to orchestrate a movement where we could demonstrate our discontent with the continued usage of the Redmen name,” said McGill student Tomas Jirousek, who is from the Kainai First Nation in Southern Alberta. McGill interim Student Life and Learning Deputy Provost Fabrice Labeau explained that the name stems from colours worn by the team, but that Indigenous symbols, connotations, and unofficial nicknames were propagated by the media and fans. McGill’s taskforce on Indigenous studies and Indigenous education released a report last year that included a call for the varsity teams’ name to be changed within one to two years of the report.  “We are very proud of our current and former student athletes and their achievements;” said Labeau, “but we are also aware, as is any organization, of the fact that some portions of our history may not reflect current values, and of the need to reconcile past and present.” CBC | Montreal Gazette

KEB celebrates official launch of Anishinabek Education System

The Kinoomaadziwin Education Body has formally launched the Anishinabek Education System and opened the doors of its new head office. “We are extremely excited to continue the journey that has been built upon many years of hard work and collective Anishinaabe vision,” said KEB Director of Education Kelly Crawford. “Together, our work will be unprecedented and will move the Nation forward.” KEB’s head office, located on Nipissing First Nation, held a day-long celebration with tours of the facility, speeches from dignitaries, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by a feast and traditional closing at Nbisiing Secondary School. “This is a monumental step toward greater self-determination for the 23 Anishinabek First Nations and a brighter future,” said Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett. “Anishinabek students will have all the tools to succeed and thrive as they are able to stay proudly connected to their Anishinaabe culture and language.” Nation Talk

Seneca opens Odeyto centre

Seneca College has officially opened its new Indigenous centre at its Newnham campus. The multipurpose space is named after the Anishnaabe word “Odeyto,” which means “the Good Journey”. The centre features an office space, a computer lab, a kitchen and dedicated space for Indigenous elders. “The structure looks like a canoe resting on its side and the curvature of the roof mimics the position of the sun on June 21, the annual National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada,” explained Seneca associate dean of student services and Indigenous education Mark Solomon. “A neon sign created by the Cree visual artist Joi Arcand is among the Indigenized features inside Odeyto. It’s truly a home for our Indigenous students.”

Squamish Nation celebrates SNTTC re-opening

The Squamish Nation recently celebrated the grand re-opening of the Squamish Nation Training and Trades Centre in North Vancouver. The space now features a 50% increase in floor space, two additional classrooms, and the addition of a new general construction shop. “The Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) contribution has made a huge difference and we would like to thank them for making this expansion a reality,” said Paul Wick, Squamish Nation Director of Education Employment and Training. “We are another step closer to our goal of becoming an accredited non-profit post secondary institution, recognised by the Industry Training Authority (ITA) of BC.” The renovations were funded by $1M from the Western Diversification Program (WDP), as well as a combined $1.1M from the Government of British Columbia’s Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training and Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. Canada

USask prioritizes reconciliation in new strategic plan

The University of Saskatchewan’s new strategic plan will prioritize Indigenization, reports CBC. The plan is entitled The University the World Needs, and has been gifted Indigenous names nīkānītān manācihitowinihk (Cree) and ni manachīhitoonaan (Michif), which translate to “Let us lead with respect.” The plan mentions specific commitments to hiring additional Indigenous staff, increasing the number of Indigenous students, building Indigenous knowledge into degree granting programs, and adding signage with Indigenous languages and making Indigenous culture more visible on campus. The plan is rooted in what USask calls “courageous curiosity,” “boundless collaboration,” and “inspired communities.” “The world needs a university in which Indigenous concepts, methodologies, pedagogies, languages, and philosophies are respectfully woven into the tapestry of learning, research, scholarship, creativity, and community engagement,” the plan states. CBC (1) | CBC (2) | Saskatoon StarPhoenix | National Post  (CP)

YK First Nation pays students to learn endangered Indigenous language and become teachers

In an effort to preserve and revitalize their endangered language, the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations in the Yukon are paying students to participate in a Southern Tutchone language immersion program. “All the students are put on a salary. They are given a bi-weekly allowance and we take care of all the taxes,” said Champagne and Aishihik Chief Steve Smith. “We really wanted to see the success — not only in the program but the students themselves, and give them the least amount of worries.” Smith says that the program aims to help students to focus on learning the language through immersion. The goal of the program is for the students to speak Southern Tutchone at all times during class. “The hope is they will become teachers, going down the road,” added Smith. “We will rely on these individuals to help us in revitalizing our language — not only from a First Nations program standpoint, we are hoping that there is going to be a transfer of this language into their homes as well.” CBC

Indigenous forest grows at KPU Langley

Students from Kwantlen Polytechnic University have taken up the challenge of Indigenizing and revitalizing the Logan Creek Floodplain around KPU’s Langley campus. In 2015, students began phase one of the Logan Creek Integrity project, which saw them working to clear invasive species from the area. Students have now begun phase two, which includes planting native species that are important to the Kwantlen First Nation, such as a sacred grove of western red cedar and plants that provide food and medicine used by the Coast Salish. The project received a $25K grant from the CN and Tree Canada’s EcoConnexions - From the Ground Up program. “The grant means we can continue on our reconciliation path by decolonizing and re-indigenizing the Logan Creek Floodplain,” says KPU Urban Ecosystems instructor Kathy Dunster, who is leading the project. “The long-term 300-year goal is that the restored and redesigned riparian forest will support a thriving, biodiverse salmon habitat and nourish native fruit-bearing plants traditionally used by the Kwantlen First Nation and available to them for present and future generations.” Nation Talk

MUN holds consultations for better Indigenous representation

Representatives from Memorial University will hold consultations throughout Newfoundland and Labrador to ask Indigenous peoples how the university can better represent them, reports CBC. “We want to hear their stories, their experiences, and get a sense of what's important to them around Indigenization and what that could look like at Memorial,” said MUN's special advisor for Aboriginal Affairs, Catharyn Andersen. CBC states that the initiative responds to a number of calls-to-action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that focus on post-secondary education. CBC

AU partnership helps Indigenous students access Bachelor of Commerce programs

Athabasca University's Faculty of Business and the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of Alberta have partnered to help Indigenous students access AU's Bachelor of Commerce undergraduate programming. Indigenous learners will access courses online as well as learning through face-to-face time with AU professors and AFOA mentorship support. The learners will move through AU as a cohort and will receive support that incorporates their needs and culture. “This partnership between AFOA and AU is all about reducing barriers to entry, to enabling learners to reach their fullest potentials, and perhaps to recovering those dreams of furthering education that some may have felt were lost to them,” stated Faculty of Business Dean Deborah Hurst. “What makes this partnership unique is that we can deliver a blended model of learning to support the huge role that culture plays in the lives of these Indigenous learners while providing a flexible online learning environment that fits seamlessly into their existing lives.” AU