Indigenous Top Ten

September 18, 2019

Why Canada should look to Indigenous communities to fill tech industry skills gap

Many Canadian businesses and organizations are overlooking Indigenous peoples when they search for new personnel to fill the tech industry’s skills gap, and are thus missing out on a massive opportunity to develop top talent, say Indigenous leaders. “It still upsets me when I hear all this talk about importing workers from other countries when the youngest and fastest-growing population has been proven is the native people,” says Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos Indian Band in British Columbia’s Okanagan region. A positive example in this regard, reports IT World Canada, is a BlackBerry-led initiative, in partnership with Forrest Green and Microsoft, that aims to provide a mix of next-generation secure communication, cybersecurity, cloud, IoT, AI, and machine learning technologies to Chiefs and Grand Chiefs across Canada to help support local service organizations and strengthen their privacy infrastructure. The article goes on to highlight other ways in which Canadian organizations and Indigenous communities can help make Indigenous peoples a significant part of Canada’s IT future. IT World Canada (National)

CapU partners with Líl̓wat Nation to offer new learning opportunities

Capilano University and Líl̓wat Nation have signed an affiliation agreement to affirm their shared commitment to deliver new learning opportunities. “It is an exciting time for our Nation,” said Mason Ducharme, the Ts̓zil Learning Centre’s Director. “This agreement solidifies a valuable partnership and outlines our roles in a shared vision for strengthening and building capacity of the Líl̓wat people.” The Centre offers courses in adult education; Líl̓wat language, history and culture; carpentry; and other vocational skills. Nation Talk (BC)

Elsipogtog First Nation celebrates new school, water system upgrades

Among several new infrastructure projects, the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick is building a new school that will serve grades 4 to 8. The new school will include several new spaces, including a library, a technology/computer room, a cultural and distance learning center, a gymnasium, and two learning resource rooms. “Education is extremely important for the existence and wellbeing of our future generations,” says Elsipogtog Chief Arren Sock. “Having state of the art infrastructure comparable to what most Canadians currently have access to is key to a positive educational experience and puts us on the right path to reconciliation.” The school has received nearly $26M from Indigenous Services Canada and is expected to open in 2021. Canada (NB)

New Kashechewan school brings 'relief,' but is $15M short of perfect

A new 16-room school at the Kashechewan First Nation in Northern Ontario will be completed and open to Kashechewan’s 400 elementary students later this fall. Hishkoonikun Education Authority James Wesley noted that the community leaders had originally drawn up a wish list for the new building that came to a cost of approximately $30M, but they only received $15M from Indigenous Services Canada. "We had to cut down quite a few things to meet their budget," said Wesley. "So that's what we have. Our school was almost cut in half of what we wanted to see in our classrooms." Even with budget cuts, however, the leaders described the school as a “relief,” adding that it will provide elementary students with their own space. "We moved mountains to get that school built for the upcoming academic year,” said MPP Guy Bourgouin. “But, let's be honest, the government should not have waited for kids getting sick while attending school.” CBC | Timmins Today (ON)

Frog Lake First Nation celebrates sod turning new high school

Frog Lake First Nation in Alberta recently celebrated the sod turning for a new high school that will accommodate approximately 200 students. The school will be a “state-of-the-art learning facility” and will serve as an elementary/junior high school. The school received $15.7M from the Government of Canada for its construction. “I want to congratulate Chief Desjarlais, Frog Lake First Nation and the current and future students who will benefit from this new school that will help give them the best possible start in life,” added Minister of Indigenous Services Seamus O’Regan. “Every student deserves to study in a clean, safe, and comfortable environment that will set them up for success now and in the future.” "The Frog Lake First Nation is overwhelmed with happiness with the new school project,” said Chief Greg Desjarlais. Construction on the school is expected to be completed in March 2021, with the school opening in September 2021. Canada (AB)

Tsuut’ina Nation to see community-based Personal Fitness Trainer program from MRU

The Tsuut’ina Nation in Southern Alberta will soon enjoy access to a Personal Fitness Trainer Diploma from Mount Royal University that students will be able to take in a community-based format on the Nation. MRU reports that Indigenous students from across Canada can begin their studies in the state-of-the-art Seven Chiefs Sportsplex & Chief Jim Starlight Centre in the program, which starts in January 2020. The full-time, two-year program combines theoretical courses with valuable practicum experiences in a small class setting. After completing the program, students will be eligible for the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology — Certified Personal Trainer certification. “If you’re interested in a career in this exciting, engaging profession, this is an amazing opportunity to learn and get hands-on experience in the community,” says Dimitra Fotopoulos, director, Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension at MRU. MRU (BC)

Sioux Valley, BSD partnership gives students chance to build skills, share culture

A new partnership with the Brandon School Division will allow junior high students from Sioux Valley Dakota Nation in Western Manitoba to learn life skills. Every six-day school cycle, grade 7 and 8 students from Sioux Valley will attend a school in the BSD for a half-day of classes covering industrial arts, home economics, cooking, sewing, and more. "It's just giving them more opportunities, more skills that right now in Sioux Valley we can't do for our students," said Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone. “We've opened a lot of doors.” Through the partnership, the students will be able to build relationships in a new school, grow as people, and experience a new school setting, said Bone, adding that she hopes the experience prepares the students for life and inspires them. "I think that Sioux Valley has some things that they could offer to the students of Brandon," said BSD Vice-Chair Sherilyn Bambridge, who hopes to see the community offer programs and classes to BSD students in the future. "We can learn culture, we can develop an understanding, we can see growth." CBC (MB)

UNBC commences Nenachalhuya project, collaborates with First Nation’s artist in “spirit of reconciliation”

The University of Northern British Columbia is collaborating with First Nation’s artist Clayton Gauthier to create Nenachalhuya, or the Cedar Plank Project. For the project, Gauthier will carve 32 wood panels that celebrate the diversity of First Nations across Northern BC. "Art is a powerful gift that we have from the Creator,” explains Gauthier. “We are surrounded by art, so having that understanding that this is art from this territory, I feel that's really important.” Once completed, the works will be displayed in the Gathering Place at UNBC. "This is a special opportunity for the university to partner with multiple Indigenous communities in the spirit of reconciliation," says UNBC President Daniel Weeks. Prince George Citizen (BC)

CMTC to receive two new student residences, help rural and Indigenous students feel “at home”

Coast Mountain College will receive $18.7M of the Government of BC’s $450M investment to increase on-campus beds at public post-secondary institutions. CMTC will use the funds to create two three-storey buildings that will house 54 students each. Both buildings will have accessible communal spaces, such as a student lounge, study space, Indigenous cultural space, and communal kitchen. The province also highlights the affordability of the housing units, estimating rental rates at $550/month for quad occupancy and $650 for triple occupancy. “Students from rural and Indigenous communities will have a safe, comfortable and welcoming home away from home, making it easier for them to concentrate on their studies,” states CMTC President Ken Burt. BC (BC)

FNTI receives $4.9M for aviation pilot program

First Nations Technical Institute has received a $4.9M investment from the Government of Canada to bolster its First People’s aviation flight pilot program. Delivered in partnership with Canadore College, the program provides hands-on training for those interested in becoming a commercial pilot. The funding will be used to increase culturally relevant programming and the participation of women and Indigenous peoples in the aviation industry. “Air transportation is absolutely crucial to the sustainability of our Indigenous communities, many of which have limited road infrastructure,” explains FNTI’s Dean of aviation, Jo-Anne Tabobandung. “This investment means increased participation of Indigenous people in the aviation sector, who are more likely to return to their communities.” Nation Talk (ON)