Indigenous Top Ten

September 4, 2019

Canada invests in Indigenous women entrepreneurs at Queen’s

Queen’s University has received $3.27M to deliver a suite of programming for women in technology and Indigenous women entrepreneurs. The funding comes from the federally supported Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund, which invests in programming and research at several institutions and organizations to support women entrepreneurs. The suite of programming at Queen’s will be delivered through partnerships with several local companies, including Okwaho Equal Source, an agency focused on providing Indigenous entrepreneurs with access to relevant programming. OPI and Okwaho will work together to provide various programs and services, including the development and delivery of a culturally appropriate and meaningful acceleration program. Queen’s | Canada (National)

Songhees, Esquimalt Nations students get U-Pass bus permits

High school students living on the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations in British Columbia will receive free U-Pass bus permits this month to reduce the transportation costs for attending school. “Improving the learning outcomes of our on-reserve students is a high priority for the nation,” said Francine L’Hirondelle, Songhees director of education services. “It is more than appreciated that the school district will be administering the U-Pass program.” The U-Pass permit system is currently used by several postsecondary institutions, reports the Times Colonist, and the First Nation Student Transportation Fund will be used to finance the program for the high school students. “One thing we do know is that attendance is critically important for success in high school,” said Greater Victoria School Board Vice-Chairwoman Ann Whiteaker. “We’re really going to focus in this area and try and remove as many barriers as we can.” Times Colonist (BC)

Laurentian introduces trilingual signs on campus

Members of the Laurentian University community will be greeted by trilingual signs when they return to campus this community. The signs now feature English, French, and Anishinaabemowin, thanks to the translation efforts of Anishinaabemowin speakers over the summer. “With Laurentian University sitting on Atikameksheng Anishnawbek Territory, I am ecstatic to know that the history and language of the Anishinawbek people is being recognized throughout the university through trilingual signs.” said Valerie Richer, Chief of Atikameksheng Anishinawbek. Laurentian stated that the signage change is part of its strategic plan, which aims to make the university into the school of choice for northern, francophone, and Indigenous students from across the world. Laurentian (ON)

RDSB, Sudbury-area First Nations renew agreement to increase success of Indigenous learners

The Rainbow District School Board and 10 First Nations in the Sudbury area have renewed their education agreement, reaffirming the board’s commitment to Indigenous students. Through the Education Service Agreement, the parties have a continued understanding to increase the academic success of First Nations learners; honour and support the language, culture, and history of those peoples whose territories are served by RDSB; and increase knowledge and understanding of First Nations peoples and related issues. “The renewed agreement recognizes the distinct qualities of First Nations and First Nations students, with a focus on student success,” said First Nations Trustee, Chief Linda Debassige of the M’Chigeeng First Nation. “Key objectives of the renewed agreement are not only to improve the rate of First Nations students graduating from Grade 12, but to also improve the relationship between the First Nations and the Rainbow District School Board in moving forward on a collaborative basis.” Sudbury Star (ON)

USask, UManitoba, UMinnesota, Opaskwayak work together on sustainable housing design

The University of Saskatchewan, University of Manitoba, and University of Minnesota are working with members of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation in northern Manitoba to build a Muskrat Hut. The project looks to address the Indigenous housing crisis by building a hut that will provide clean water, toilets, and food preparation areas for the Nation. “We’re really trying to be cognizant of the impact and footprint on the environment, so it’s got solar panels and it uses a incinerator toilet that leaves zero waste,” said USask Education Professor Alex Wilson. Wilson said that the project was initiated by Idle No More’s One House, Many Nations campaign, adding that the hut is intended for community and cultural gatherings. 620 CKRM | CBC (Prairies)

Algonquin plants Three Sisters Garden on campus

Algonquin College has planted a new Three Sisters garden of corn, beans, and squash at its Ottawa campus. The ceremonial garden was planted by Horticultural Industries students. "As you know, we are currently on Indigenous Territory," said Horticulture Professor Jason Vodden, "and for the College, I think planting this garden is a great nod to that, and doing a traditional agriculture program here shows what the College represents, which is taking steps to being more inclusive." The garden’s creation was preceded by the planting of strawberries. The small courtyard is an extension of the larger Indigenous garden being planted in the DARE District's Ishkodewan courtyard, which will see over 100 species of flowers, shrubs, and trees planted. All plants in the Ishkodewan courtyard are native to southern Ontario and many of them have cultural, ceremonial, or even medicinal significance for some Indigenous peoples. CBC | Algonquin (ON)

Trades teachers, volunteers partner with Elsipogtog First Nation on house building project

Trades teachers and volunteers recently partnered with the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick to build a home for a family in need. “Trades are an important aspect of our economy and we are working to improve learning in trades,” said NB Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy. “We are very pleased to work together with Elsipogtog First Nation to support the housing needs of the community, all while engaging in a valuable professional learning experience which will ultimately be of great benefit to students.” A release states that the partnership will allow novice and experienced trades teachers to learn from one another as they exercise their carpentry skills. “Sharing our knowledge and skills to help others is something to be proud of,” said NB Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jake Stewart. “I commend the teachers and volunteers for supporting this partnership with Elsipogtog and for making a long-lasting difference to a family in need.” NB (NB )

Inuktitut daycare closes temporarily due to lack of staff

The only Inuktitut daycare in Iqaluit, has temporarily closed due to a lack of staff. Currently, the Tumkuluit daycare has two staff members, but no teachers, and requires four teachers to reach full capacity. Celina Kalluk, Tumikuluit's executive director, explained that staff are often hired away for better paying jobs that come with housing, given the in-demand nature of Inuktitut-speaking staff. "We realize the crisis that we are facing, in terms of staffing, has nothing to do with the daycare itself. It has nothing to do with the staff,” stated Tumikuluit Board President Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory. “It is a systemic problem, where all the daycares are expected to operate in their own bubble as not-for-profit societies." Kalluk stated that the daycare can open intermittently, when teachers are scheduled to work, but that the lack of consistency is hard on the children. "For Nunavut, for us as parents, for us as a community, Inuktitut is a very important value," said Williamson Bathory. "If we want people speaking Inuktitut in the next 20 years, it has to happen in the foundational years." Nation Talk (NV)

SK not doing enough to meet Indigenous student needs: Friedmann-Conrad

“I'm the mother of a First Nations child, and I've been searching for primary schools in the Regina area that offer any sort of Saulteaux language program,” writes Bernadette Friedmann-Conrad. “Hard as I've tried, it seems no such school exists.” Friedmann-Conrad discusses the multiple curriculum guides and frameworks that have been brought into existence over the past 25 years, but argues that the lack of implementation indicates that “the local school boards never felt such programs were a priority to implement.” “My child, like yours, has the right to be instructed in her first language,” the author adds. “She has a birth right and a treaty right to receive an education that supports and strengthens her Saulteaux language and identity. I don't think I'm asking for more than most non-Indigenous children in this province are privileged to.” She concludes by calling on the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education and on local school boards to offer Indigenous language education through immersion, intensive, and core programs throughout the K-12 school system. CBC (SK)

Yellowhead Tribal College to launch four new programs

Yellowhead Tribal College is launching four new educational programs this fall. These programs include an Indigenous Community Health Worker Program, an Indigenous Languages Degree, a two-year Pre-Education Diploma Program, and a Photovoltaic Renewable Energy Installation Assistant program, all of which are intended to meet labour market needs and to build capacities in Indigenous communities across Alberta. A YTC release notes that the Indigenous Community Health Worker Diploma program is the first of its kind in the province, and that it will provide education in community health and Indigenous culture and healing practices to meet the growing need for healthcare workers that can provide culturally appropriate, culturally safe healthcare services to Indigenous peoples and communities. YTC (AB)