Indigenous Top Ten

May 1, 2019

First Nations education centre in Thunder Bay to get major overhaul

Matawa Education and Care Centre has received an investment of over $16M from Indigenous Services Canada for renovations, including new classrooms, a gymnasium, and a student residence. An investigation into the deaths of seven First Nations students who were attending school in Thunder Bay recommended that the students needed a residence or living facility when moving to the city. The City of Thunder Bay gifted the building of a former retirement lodge to the Matawa First Nations in 2017, and it has since been developed into an education and care centre for up to 200 students.  “This will go a long way in bridging those cultural divides in the city of Thunder Bay,” said Liberal MP for Thunder Bay-Rainy River Don Rusnak. “It’s completely different, you get to socialize more with students and teachers and they have cultural activities here as well as after-school programs,” said Grade 12 student Andy Beaver. “It’s a really good experience.” The centre is expected to be completed in Fall 2020.  APTN News | Nation Talk

PAGC, USask announce education, reconciliation MOU

The Prince Albert Grand Council and the University of Saskatchewan have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together on reconciliation and making the university more welcoming to Indigenous students. “Moving forward this is a very important area, of course education is the key to the era that we’re in, and that’s reconciliation,” said PAGC Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte. PA Now explains that the partnership has been in development since the original announcement of USask’s plan to establish a new campus in Prince Albert. USask President Peter Stoicheff stated that although USask has made progress on Indigenization, there is still more to do. “The only way we can do it is by having Indigenous communities, Indigenous leaders, Indigenous knowledge keepers, language keepers and Indigenous students and faculty members and staff members helping the institution and us to understand how it can be the best place it can possibly be,” said Stoicheff. PA Now (SK)

NIC receives Kwak’wala name for Port Hardy campus

North Island College has been gifted the Kwak’wala name “Mix̱alakwila” for its Port Hardy/Mount Waddington Regional campus. The campus will be formally known as the Mix̱alakwila campus or NIC’s Mix̱alakwila campus in Port Hardy. The name means “maker of what’s been dreamt about.” NIC President John Bowman thanked the Elders and community members who honoured the institution with a new campus name, calling the naming “a historic event for the college.” “Our Elders have been warning us for decades and demanding that actions be taken to support the resurgence of our languages and restoration of our wellness,” said Sara Child, NIC’s Aboriginal Education Facilitator. “I am honoured to say that the college is not only listening but taking action. What is reconciliation if it’s not about responding to the voice of the Indigenous communities we serve?” Nation Talk (BC)

Northland, KTCEA partner on teachers resources, syllabic building blocks for language education

Northland School Division and the Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council Education Authority have established a partnership that has received grants to develop resources such as teacher kits and syllabic building blocks. The teachers kits “will include a host of resources such as instruction manuals, classroom worksheets, words lists, how to instructions for games, wall posters, charts and audio tapes of local speakers,” explained FNMI Learner Success Director Lorraine Cardinal-Roy, while the sets of wooden building blocks will “colorfully illustrate culturally relevant images, syllabic symbols and their corresponding sounds.” The projects are supported by the Government of Alberta’s Indigenous Languages in Education grant programs. KTCEA Deputy Superintendent Pearl Calahasen explained that the two parties have placed a priority on reviving Indigenous languages in school communities. Nation Talk (AB)

ULethbridge, Piikani receive $1.6M for environmental sensing, monitoring programs

The University of Lethbridge and Piikani First Nation have received grants worth $1.6M from Western Economic Diversification Canada. The university will use nearly $1.2M to enhance its Terrestrial Eco-system Remote Sensing program through the purchase of a new Titan multi-spectral LIDAR imaging system. The remaining $432K will go towards the Piikani Nation’s implementation of a community-based environmental monitoring program that integrates traditional Indigenous knowledge with emerging techniques. “The University of Lethbridge has partnered with the Piikani Nation to engage the Piikani Nation in community-based environmental monitoring to train and build capacity with the Nation to do their own monitoring and not have to source it out to non-Nation companies,” explained ULethbridge First Nations Transition Program co-ordinator Michelle Hogue. “The express purpose is to preserve important cultural sites but also for the purpose of doing business with non-Indigenous companies that might want to collaborate with local communities.” Lethbridge Herald (AB)

Royal Roads, NVIT sign MOU to advance sustainability, education for local communities

Royal Roads University and the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate collaborations in research, academic programs, and student and faculty exchanges. “As an Indigenous centre for excellence, NVIT inspires learners to strengthen communities,” says Nicola Valley Institute of Technology President Ken Tourand. “With strong collaboration, such as this MOU with Royal Roads University, both institutes can exchange knowledge in a manner that champions learner access to post-secondary and advances the educational and sustainability goals of Indigenous communities across the province.” The two institutions will establish more specific plans for the MOU in the coming months. Royal Roads (BC)

SK announces new language courses for high school students

The Government of Saskatchewan has announced new language courses in Dene, Nakawe, and Michif at the 10, 20, and 30 levels. A provincial release notes that the initiative aligns with the TRC calls to action and the Joint Task Force recommendations, which are focused on the importance of Indigenous languages and their role in preserving cultural traditions. “It is encouraging to see a Métis language included in these efforts being made within our provincial education system,” Métis Nation Saskatchewan Education Minister Earl Cook said. “This will assist in the retention of Michif, our official language. Providing Indigenous students with meaningful opportunities to learn about and connect with their cultural heritage is key to their success.” School divisions across Saskatchewan will be able to offer these provincial language courses beginning in the 2019-20 school year. SK | CBC (SK)

CapU launches Indigenous Digital Accelerator

Capilano University has partnered with Western Economic Diversification Canada to develop an innovative Indigenous Digital Accelerator (IDA) project at CapU’s North Vancouver campus. Located in CapU’s planned Creative Tech Community, the IDA is expected to launch in 2020 and will provide resources to promote Indigenous business growth in BC’s tech, digital-creative, and cultural sectors. A CapU release notes that the project will scale up early stage Indigenous companies with high growth, commercialization, and innovation potential within a framework that emphasizes community development and low environmental impact. CapU (BC)

Funding shortfall places Indigenous education program in jeopardy

The Indigenous Education Program, which was started by the Ottawa Community Foundation two years ago, is in danger of being discontinued due to a lack of funds. The program was funded by an anonymous donation and a community grant, which are projected to run out during the 2019/2020 school year. "This is reconciliation in action," said teacher Valerie Van Sickle of the IEP's Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health. "This is reconciliation where the kids are learning culture. They're deepening their understanding, and that is an important part of the calls to action." Since the program began, over 800 Ottawa high school and elementary students have visited the Wabano Centre and participated in tours, workshops, and information sessions about Indigenous culture and residential schools. CBC reports that most of the funding goes to transportation for students traveling to the Centre. Staff at the Wabano Centre and the Ottawa Community Foundation hope that the program becomes a mandated part of the curriculum by school boards, an action that would require funding for the programs. CBC (ON)

UBC-led research teams receive over $21M for nanomedicine, clean water project

The University of British Columbia has received over $21M in federal funding from the Networks of Centres of Excellence for research projects on nanomedicine, water quality for Indigenous communities, and composite manufacturing for industry—have also garnered $1.6M each from Ottawa. A UBC release states that the network behind the nanomedicine initiative has developed five out of the ten drugs approved by United States, Canadian, and European regulatory agencies. The clean water project incorporates a “community circle” model as it supports Indigenous communities, while NCE funding for the Composites Research Network Knowledge Mobilization Centre will help transfer knowledge to small businesses while improving composites manufacturing across Canada. UBC (BC)