Indigenous Top Ten

March 20, 2019

NS Mi’kmaq graduation rate reaches “amazing” levels, yields $600M, 10-year agreement with Canada

The graduation rate of Nova Scotia’s Mi’kmaq students has risen from 30 to 90% in the last 20 years, according to the Canadian Press, and the Government of Canada has recognized the NS Mi’kmaq community by signing a 10-year education agreement worth $600M. Chief Leroy Denny of the Eskasoni First Nation in Cape Breton stated that the province’s Mi’kmaq First Nations originally did not have their own schools and students had to be bused to other communities. “It was a dream -- a dream that if the Mi'kmaq could control our own education that we could reach levels never believed possible by Canadians,” said Denny. “We know that our youth will grow into strong, proud Mi'kmaq when they are given the opportunity to learn in an environment that values the strengths of Mi'kmaq language and culture.” CP reports that the high school graduation rate among First Nation students in the province is now considerably higher than the national average for students living on reserve.

CTV News (NS)

Métis Nation signs Early Learning and Child Care Accord with Canada

A newly signed accord between the Métis Nation and the Government of Canada ensures that the nation will have the authority and funding to create culturally relevant and supportive early learning programs and child care. The Métis Nation Early Learning and Child Care Accord comes in addition to $450M that Canada has provided to strengthen early learning and child care (ELCC) programs and services for Métis children and families in the Métis Homeland. “For over twenty-years the Metis have been left out of federally-funded Indigenous Early Learning Programs. During this time, the lack of federal commitment to reconciliation with the Metis Nation has hurt our children and our families,” stated David Chartrand, Vice-President and Minister of Social Development of the Métis National Council, and President of the Manitoba Metis Federation. “Today I stand here rejoicing with our hardworking mothers and fathers that have prayed for this day when our children would have their own Metis Head Start and early learning supports.”

MNC (Canada)

Founder of UVic’s Indigenous Governance program resigns

The Victoria Times Colonist reports that Gerald Taiaiake Alfred, the founding Director of the University of Victoria’s Indigenous Governance program, has resigned. In a statement, Alfred wrote that he chose to step down because he embodied “toxic masculinity,” but added that he is “committed to doing better” and will work as a full-time consultant on Indigenous governance and politics strategy with area First Nations. In 2017, UVic hired a group of external experts to review the program after concerns were raised about its learning environment, the Times Colonist adds. While the university cannot yet release the report’s findings, UVic spokeswoman Denise Helm said that they accepted the reviewers’ recommendations to redesign the program.

Victoria Times Colonist (BC)

Kahnawake launches paramedic training program in QC after changes reduce Mohawk recruits

Kahnawake Fire Brigade has launched its own paramedic training program following provincial changes to paramedic certification. According to CBC, the Government of Quebec made the Quebec Diploma of College Studies in pre-hospital emergency care compulsory for paramedic certification. The change reduced the number of Mohawk recruits, and meant that John Abbott College, the only nearby college offering the program in English, was not able to meet the needs of the brigade’s volunteer service. “It just doesn't work with the way our system is here,” said Tanner Phillips, co-ordinator and lead instructor for the Kahnawake Paramedic Program. “We can't expect people to go to school full-time to become a volunteer.” The program offers classes twice a week during the evenings and seeks to train both the core competencies of being a paramedic and the skills needed to respond to calls that are unique to the Mohawk community.


RRC pop-up restaurant serving Indigenous specials

Bannock tacos and Three-Sisters Soup are being served at a new pop-up restaurant at the Notre Dame campus of Red River College. Students will work with Prairie Lights restaurant to make breakfast and lunch until mid-April. “The big thing they will learn is timing and working under pressure: being able to produce dishes to customers’ expectations and to the kitchen’s standards, with the pressure of having a busy restaurant,” said Instructor Michael Fitzhenry, who noted that only one student had previously worked in the industry. RRC student Larissa Evans stated that she’s “excited to get to cook with the rest of the students and be able to make the bannock tacos.” 

Winnipeg Free Press (MB)

New project focused on improving digital literacy, curriculum kicks off in NWT

The Digital Literacy Project has kicked off initiatives to develop a new curriculum and increase professional development training capacity for community-based instruction in Digital Literacy. The new, regionally appropriate curriculum will include digital literacy basics, digital content and connectivity in the Northwest Territories, and more. The project - the Digital Literacy Exchange Program - is reportedly supported by four Indigenous organizations in the NWT, Aurora College, Aurora Research Institute, the University of Alberta, and Computers for School NWT. “Given recent IRC success with e-Learning programs including IFA-101 modules, waiting lists for our newly expanded SunChild E-Learning Centre, and recent direction from our 42 Directors to advance distance learning opportunity within our communities,” said Inuvialuit Regional Corporation CEO Duane Ningaqsiq Smith, “IRC applauds the new commitment to Digital Literacy, Northern educators, and Northern curriculum.” 

Sakastew School reopens, educational consultant fired

Sakastew School in Mathias Colomb First Nation in northern Manitoba has reopened after mould treatment. A company from Winnipeg was hired to remove green and black mould from the school, and a spokesperson for Indigenous Services Canada confirmed that the mould remediation efforts have been completed. The First Nation’s chief and council have also terminated the contract of the educational consultant, Guy Dumas, who closed the school and disbanded the educational authority that hired him. Dumas states that he has since learned about physical and mental dangers associated with mould and hopes that parents have educated themselves about the impact mould can have on children. “They intend to keep the brown building I was closing down open,” said Dumas of council. “Mould is mould, they say.”

APTN News (MB)

USask launches module for health researchers engaging with Indigenous communities

The University of Saskatchewan has launched a training module aimed at building meaningful research relationships with Indigenous peoples and their communities. A release notes that the module was created by four Indigenous professionals with backgrounds in graduate school. “Indigenous people deserve to work with researchers who are properly equipped and ready to create reciprocal research relationships that provide real benefits back to our communities while acknowledging our rights to be self-determining,” said Cassandra Opikokew Wajuntah, director of IPHRC. “This training module is just one in a series of modules that we hope to create and deliver over the next two years for researchers, communities and patients.”

NationTalk (SK)

Lakehead developing land acknowledgement walk

Lakehead University has announced that it is developing a land acknowledgement walk. The program grew from talking circles with Indigenous elders and advisers, and will explore the history of the land that the campus is located on and encourage discussion about decolonization. "What I heard from a lot of people was an interest in ... trying to engage our student body and our community body on what does it mean, for example, to be a non Indigenous person on campus or on a land that is traditional territory of Fort William First Nation,” explained Office of Sustainability coordinator Ledah McKellar, “and what does that history look like ... and what are the implications of this history?" McKeller noted that the Office considers recognizing Indigenous rights as part of sustainability, given that the Indigenous people were living “sustainably for thousands of years before [it] became a buzzword.” 


New Northern ON internship program to broaden support for Indigenous, skilled workers

The Government of Ontario has announced that it is revamping an internship program that will create more opportunities for Indigenous peoples and address the skilled labour shortage across the province’s North. Among the changes to the province’s Northern Ontario Internship Program will be a removal of the requirement that applicants be recent university or college graduates. "Changes to the internship program ensure our government is well-positioned to assist northern employers in providing work experience to a broader range of interns," said Northern Development and Mines and Minister of Indigenous Affairs Greg Rickford. "We are removing barriers to participation in the Northern Ontario Internship Program so that more organizations can provide on-the-job career development and address skilled labour shortages."