Indigenous Top Ten

May 29, 2019

Canada makes 10-year, $660M commitment to Métis job training

The Government of Canada has made a new 10-year commitment to fund Métis education and training that improves upon past funding arrangements. The new Indigenous Skills and Employment Training (ISET) Program will replace the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) that Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Patty Hajdu stated was not being increased with the cost of living and was not sufficiently flexible. Hajdu explained that increasing the budget was the first step in addressing the systemic racism created by the former ASETS program, followed by increasing the flexibility in how the program funding could be used. "We will be able to go a step further and deeper to actually be able to invest in family to make them stronger. For too long this program has been treated like a bureaucracy with paternal oversight on us because we are not skilled or educated enough to run our own affairs," said Manitoba Métis Federation President David Chartrand. Chartrand noted that the program will create significant new opportunities for support and program development, adding that the 10-year commitment will allow for certainty all around. Winnipeg Free Press (National)

Cégep de l'Outaouais receives federal funding for Indigenous history education project

Cégep de l'Outaouais has received $300K from the federal government in support of its Project Histoire du Canada - Perspectives des Premiers Peuples. A release states that researchers will work with First Nations across the country to produce publicly available, online educational materials. The materials will also be distributed to educational organizations, associations, and institutions across the country. "It is critical to make the history of the First Peoples known through their own voices, in order to open ourselves to their perspectives and worldviews, which can only enrich the education system and encourage the necessary change in perception, so that future generations can walk together," said Cégep de l'Outaouais History and Geography instructor Diane Le May. Newswire (QC)

Indigenous artist honoured with Edmonton public school naming, AU Arts Honorary degree 

Edmonton Public School Board has revealed that one of the schools set to open in 2021 will be named for Alex Janvier from the Cold Lake First Nations. The Alex Janvier School, located in Edmonton’s Glenwood neighbourhood, will have an arts focus for students in Grade 4 to 9. "I'd like them to become very successful in their effort of education," said Janvier, who is a member of the group of artists referred to as the Indian Group of Seven. Janvier described how his own father instilled the importance of education in him after he decided to leave art school part way through his 4-year degree program by giving him "all the dirty jobs around the farm." 'He said to me 'this is the life that you will lead because I've done that all my life. But you, he said, you have an opportunity to change," said Janvier. "He said you go back to that school. You finish what you started. In real life, he said, you start something—finish it'." Global Newsstates that Janvier graduated from the Alberta College of Art and, immediately after graduation, taught community art classes at the University of Alberta. Alberta University of the Arts also recently conferred its first honorary degree, a Honorary Master of Fine Arts, since transitioning from the Alberta College of Art and Design to Janvier. CBC EPSB Global News | AU Arts (AB) (AB)

Loyalist to offer AFOA Canada's Certified Aboriginal Financial Manager designation

Loyalist College will now be able to offer AFOA Canada’s Certified Aboriginal Financial Manager (CAFM) designation. The program will prepare Métis, Inuit, and First Nations students for senior financial management positions in their communities. The program follows AFOA Canada's goal of improving the management skills of those responsible for the stewardship of Indigenous resources. "Collaborating with (...) AFOA Canada gives our students – and the College – a competitive advantage," said Ann Drennan, Loyalist College Senior VP Academic & Chief Learning Officer. Loyalist (ON)

Indigenous housing at CNC to offer students "foundation for success": Lheidli T'enneh Chief

Construction has started on a housing project for Indigenous students at the College of New Caledonia. A release states that the British Columbia government is investing $2.6M into the facilities, which will include 12 furnished student rooms; a suite for an Elder; shared kitchens and living areas; washrooms and laundry facilities; and a designated area for cultural practices, teachings, and activities. "A safe, welcoming and supportive home gives Indigenous students the foundation for continued success," said Lheidli T'enneh Chief Clayton Pountney. "We've worked closely with our Elders and community members to get to the start of construction and look forward to the completion of the new building." BC

Fort Providence students open youth centre

Youth in Fort Providence, NWT have officially opened their youth centre. Last year, a high school politics class at Deh Gah School fought for a youth centre in order to provide a way to escape the effects of drugs and alcohol on the community. They secured $40K and received permission to transform the lounge of the community curling club into a youth centre. "We finally did it! It's open!" said student Nyssa McKenzie. Shannan Bonnetrouge, another student behind the project who stated that the centre appears to be having an impact already, added that “it's just really nice to see the parents and their children come together to the youth centre, and share this moment with us. Just the excitement they get every time the youth centre is open, they're just always there … and not getting into trouble." CBC (NWT)

UWinnipeg launches Two-Spirit Archives to kick off Pride

The University of Winnipeg and Algoma University have received grants from the Virtual Museum of Canada for initiatives related to Indigenous culture. The official launch of UWinnipeg’s Two-Spirit Archives, which CBC says are a first in Canada, will kick off the school’s Pride Week celebrations. The archives are believed to be the most comprehensive collection of two-spirit materials in Canada. "In terms of Indigenous human rights, two-spirit rights are also part of that process of reclaiming rights and identity," said Albert McLeod, a long-time activist and co-director of Two-Spirited People of Manitoba Inc. "For us it's that legacy piece and that's what the archive is suited to do, is really maintain that legacy and preserve it for future generations." CBC (MB)

Algoma receives Virtual Museum of Canada grants for virtual exhibit at SRSC

Algoma University has received $248K from the Virtual Exhibits Investment Program of the Virtual Museum of Canada (VMC) at the Canadian Museum of History for the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre. The funds will go towards a project entitled "Virtually Reclaiming Shingwauk Hall," which is a virtual tour that teaches 12-to-18 year-olds about the Canadian Residential School System, colonialism, and Survivor resilience. "Through the overlay of contemporary spaces and historical images, as well as oral testimonies from Survivors, youth will be able to learn about the transformation of the Shingwauk site from farmland, to a Residential School, to a University space and site of reconciliation," explained SRSC Researcher/Curator Krista McCracken. The tour will include information about daily life, living conditions, the half-day work system at many schools, and the Church/Government relationship that funded and administered the Residential School system. Nation Talk (ON)

Inuit-Montessori preschool receives $1M prize for reinventing education in the North

Pirurvik, an early childhood education centre located in Pond Inlet, Nunavut has won a $1M Arctic Inspiration Prize for its efforts to reinvent education in the north. The centre combines traditional Inuit knowledge (Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit) with the Montessori method. Co-founders and directors Tessa Lochhead and Karen Nutarak both previously worked in education and saw the shortcomings of the Nunavut education system first hand. "It's very intimidating being a student in the classroom," said Nutarak, who felt that the root of the problem lay in the non-Indigenous education model used in the territory. Nutarak and Lochhead found that the Montessori method and IQ shared similar key principals, such as self-direction, observation, and hands-on learning. In the future, they plan to expand the preschool program to seven more Nunavut communities and have begun training daycare workers from Iqaluit. "I think Pond Inlet deserves (a centre in Pond Inlet),” said Lochhead. “It's the heart of early childhood education in Nunavut." CBC (NWT)

Med schools collaborate with Indigenous Health Network to boost First Nations, Inuit admissions

Canada’s 17 medical schools are working with the Indigenous Health Network to boost admissions for First Nations and Inuit students. "It's setting up a relationship where Indigenous communities and Indigenous people can be fully involved as much as they want to be, in training the physicians that will ultimately be serving them," said IHN Chair Marcia Anderson. Anderson explained that greater numbers of Indigenous students have enrolled in medical school over the last ten years, although the majority of them have been Métis. Inuit and First Nations students still face significant barriers to applying, she added, such as the chronic underfunding of on-reserve schools, and issues related to access of resources and financial support when preparing for the Medical College Admissions Test. CBC adds that the new initiative responds to the TRC’s calls to action 23 and 24, which are related to increasing the number of Indigenous health care professionals, and providing education on Indigenous health issues to doctors and nursees. CBC (National)