Indigenous Top Ten

October 30, 2019

BC introduces legislation to implement UN Declaration

The Government of British Columbia has introduced legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration). Article 14 of the UN Declaration states that Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems, that Indigenous individuals have the right to all levels and forms of education without discrimination, and that the government and Indigenous peoples will work together to ensure Indigenous individuals outside their communities have access when possible to an education in their own culture and language. Upon passing the legislation, BC will reportedly become the first province or territory in Canada to legislate its endorsement of the UN Declaration. Newswire (BC)

M'Chigeeng First Nation expands immersion program at Lakeview School

M'Chigeeng First Nation has expanded the Ngwaaganak immersion program at its Lakeview School to include another grade. “The Ngwaaganak program is a holistic approach to learning that benefits the learner and all their gifts. The immersion-based program was created as a need for students who were previously enrolled in Mnidoo Mnising Anishinabek Kinoomaage (MMAK) Anishinaabemowin Immersion School. The name Ngwaganuk, which means ‘Many rainbows,’ was selected by a group of students. We currently have 46 students in the program,” said M’Chigeeng Ogimaa-kwe Linda Debassige. “M’Chigeeng First Nation has had a commitment to language learning for many years. We are always trying to find creative ways to support language development." Manitoulin Expositor (ON)

ON’s Durham school board, SK’s Kamsack Comprehensive Institute celebrate new Indigenous student rooms

The Durham District School Board has celebrated the first-ever Indigenous student room in board history at the Port Perry High School. The space was created in partnership with Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation (MSIFN) and drew on input from the Indigenous student advisory circle. The new room will allow students to relax and connect with each other and will host cultural programming such as a book club centred on Indigenous authors, a canoe build, and drum making. In Saskatchewan, the Good Spirit School Division’s Kamsack Comprehensive Institute also celebrated the opening of an Indigenous Student Centre. KCI’s centre will provide Indigenous students with a place to practice traditions, customs, and ceremonies. Rayne Townsend, Indigenous student achievement coach and prime organizer of the ISC, explained that the centre “is focused around embracing, learning and experiencing Indigenous traditions and culture, and reconciliation where students can learn more about one another and develop friendships with others they may not have otherwise made.” Durham Region (ON)

VIU, NALMA deliver National Land Management Training for First Nations

Vancouver Island University has partnered with the National Aboriginal Lands Managers Association (NALMA) to deliver the Professional Indigenous Lands Management Certificate program at VIU. Beginning in the summer 2020, VIU will deliver the basics of Indigenous land management, and work to ensure that Indigenous land managers gain knowledge, stay current in their field, and adhere to a professional code of ethics. Notably, the VIU program will allow Indigenous land managers to access training that was previously only available in SK and ON. “The people who get this training at VIU are going to build more local connections, which allows for more sharing of policies and collaborations to solve problems,” said Hegus (Chief) Nicole Rempel of the K’omoks First Nation. “And with it being offered here, it will be easier for BC communities to come and do the training.” VIU (BC)

MacEwan, UnBQ partner on program delivery

MacEwan University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with University nuhelot’ine thaiyots’i nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills to promote friendship and collaboration between the two institutions. As part of MacEwan’s efforts to fulfill the TRC’s calls to action, the partnership will allow the universities to pursue and expand a relationship that results in collaborative programs in areas such as language and Iyiniw studies. “We have much to learn from UnBQ about Indigenous education,” said MacEwan Director of Indigenous Initiatives Terri Suntjens, “and this reciprocal relationship is a step in a meaningful direction that will benefit our future generations.” MacEwan (AB)

Ahuntsic abandons ‘indiens’ team name, collaborates with community for new options

Collège Ahuntsic has announced that it will be renaming its 14 sports teams operating under the name ‘indiens’ by the end of the year. In addition to the name, the college will be changing its sports team’s logo – a caricature of an Indigenous man wearing a feathered headdress. The CEGEP’s executive director Nathalie Vallée told CBC that the alterations are a result of a “sensitization project” undertaken last year, and that Ahuntsic will be consulting with community members and sports teams to choose a new name and logo. CBC (QC)

USask, Saskatoon Tribal Council create mentorship program for Indigenous women in STEM and mining

The University of Saskatchewan is partnering with the Saskatoon Tribal Council to deliver MentorSTEP, a new mentorship program for Indigenous women. MentorSTEP will bring together roughly 20 members of the Saskatchewan mining community with Indigenous women at USask studying in STEM and related business, health, and environmental disciplines related to mining. The program is a two-year pilot, and will also support various research internships and activities, such as learning labs and site visits. “Building a cohort for Indigenous women matched with faculty and industry mentors via MentorSTEP reaches across multiple barriers, such as supporting women in STEM, women in mining, and uplifting Indigenous women’s success in those areas,” said USask team lead Merle Massie. USask | NationTalk (SK)

Kugaaruk opens new school following 2017 arson, includes a smart technology

Kugaaruk, Nunavut has celebrated the opening of a new Arviligruaq Ilinniarvik school, which replaces the community’s former school that was destroyed by arson in 2017. The school, which is named after the bowhead whale, includes classrooms equipped with interactive projectors or smart boards, a second-floor open-concept loft space that serves as a break room for students, a weight room, and a daycare centre. “This hunt has always been an important part of the community’s history, providing an opportunity to bring the community together to learn, work, share, and grow,” said Education Minister David Joanasie. “Just as a bowhead whale is delicious and nutritious, Arviligruaq Ilinniarvik will be as enrichening for students, staff and the community.” Nunatsiaq News explains that the frequency of fires at schools in the territory has made it more difficult for the Government of Nunavut to secure insurance for schools, and so the new school also includes a security system and personnel. Nunatsiaq News (NU)

GPC, Sask Power, Nekaneet First Nation partner to offer class five power engineering pathway

Great Plains College, SaskPower, and Nekaneet First Nation have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will bring Class Five Power Engineering courses to students at GPC's Maple Creek Program Centre. The new pathway will allow students in the Adult Basic Education program to complete their grade 12 education while also completing key requirements for writing the Class Five Power Engineering exam. “One of the priorities in our Adult Basic Education programs is to provide students with quality education, workplace skills and industry connections for employment opportunities, so this new program really fits the bill for all of those elements,” said GPC President David Keast. Prairie Post (SK)

URegina, Gabriel Dumont Institute expand agreement

The University of Regina and Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research have expanded their partnership. The agreement will see programs delivered through the GDI recognized as being university-calibre and accredited by the URegina senate, while also opening the door to joint development of other programs and initiatives. “The University of Regina is committed to serving our Indigenous communities across Saskatchewan and ensuring we are meeting the needs of Indigenous students,” said URegina Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Thomas Chase. “This new affiliation agreement with the Gabriel Dumont Institute will make a broader spectrum of quality, post-secondary programming available to Métis students, with university classes often being offered right in the communities where they live.” CJME (SK)