Indigenous Top Ten

February 12, 2020

Birch Island expands Shawanosowe School to accommodate daycare, innovation centre

The Shawanosowe School in Whitefish River First Nation has celebrated the official grand opening of a state-of-the-art daycare centre. The new space has been several years in the making, and includes a circular gathering area, a spacious kitchen area with stool seating, designated lockers for the children, and dedicated learning wings with student and staff work spaces. Each learning wing will have sliding partition walls, so that the space can be adapted to the needs of the day. “It’s the capstone to our vision for a unified education facility, one system of learning for all our young people,” said WRFN Ogimaa Shining Turtle. “Our new school is a state-of-the-art, 4,500 square foot building that is barrier free and meets the needs of our youngest learners.” The celebrations included performances by Redman drum group and a set of singing students from Shawanosowe School, as well as a ribbon-cutting ceremony. (ON)Manitoulin Expositor

MMF launches $90M postsecondary education accord

The Manitoba Metis Federation has officially launched a 10-year, $90M postsecondary education accord delivered in partnership with the federal government. The agreement allows students with Métis heritage to receive up to $5K for tuition, books, travel support, and living allowances in this academic year. As mandated by the federation, students must undergo a mandatory Métis history class prior to receiving the bursary. One of the first nine recipients, Alyssa Thomas, stated that the bursary has allowed her to skip part-time employment and instead volunteer with Manitoba Métis Federation. "With law school to come, that will definitely put me in debt, So to be able to go through my first degree and not go into debt is like a blessing," said Thomas. CBC  | CTV 


TRU to develop trades programs for Indigenous students

Thompson Rivers University will receive nearly $2M in funding from the Canada-BC Workforce Development Agreement to develop trades programs for Indigenous students. The funding will allow TRU to create the Careers in Construction Trades program and the Transition and Heavy Mechanic Foundation program, enabling Indigenous students to gain training closer to their home. “I’m very happy to be able to provide this as an experience for Indigenous communities; Indigenous communities being underserved in post-secondary education,” said TRU Dean of Trades Baldev Pooni. “Trades offer people very good career options with good paying jobs, and there’s a shortage of trades people now and more shortages coming in the future.” The Careers in Construction Trades Program willl enable 100 Indigenous students in Kamloops, Lillooet, and Chase become construction craft workers or heavy equipment operators, while the Transition and Heavy Mechanic Foundation Program will enable 28 Indigenous students in Williams Lake to earn an industry certification. TRU 


Seven Oaks rejects Indigenous name for new school

Several groups have expressed their disappointment in the rejection of an Indigenous name for a new school in the Seven Oaks School Division in Winnipeg. A delegation of educators, parents, and students presented ideas to name the school in honour of Indigenous culture, but the school division’s superintendent said it will use the name Templeton School, after its location on Templeton Avenue. Seven Oaks Elder-in-Residence Mary Courchene said that she met the board’s decision "with a little disappointment” and cited the importance of reflecting the division's community in its school signs. “I’m 100 per cent positive that there will be another time and that we will be able to do it,” said Courchene. “After all, we’re in that era of education where our voices are now being heard.” The superintendent indicated that SOSD will be keeping with a longstanding practice of naming schools after their geographic locations, although Ry Moran of the University of Manitoba’s National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation noted that “we have to remember that our history as it’s currently presented is very recent and not fully reflective of the history that exists on this land.”  (MB) Winnipeg Free Press  | Nation Talk 


Fishing Lake First Nation celebrates grand opening of Chief Sabitawasis School

Fishing Lake First Nation has celebrated the grand opening of the Chief Sabitawsis School. The K-12 school is a state-of-the-art learning facility that will accommodate 274 students, as well as daycare and Head Start programs. The school has been under construction since June 2018, with the goal of relieving overcrowding pressure at the current school and facilitating on-reserve education of all Fishing Lake students. “Our First Nation has been waiting for a proper facility to educate our members for many years,” said Chief Derek Sunshine. “This facility will make a big difference to our First Nation. We are grateful and excited to get started with educating our students in our new school. Our vision is to be able to walk with our people on a true path to reconciliation.” (ON) Nation Talk

ECPN expands professional development program

An expanded professional development program run by the Early Childhood Pedagogy Network will enable British Columbia’s early childhood educators to explore the latest child care teaching philosophies, curriculums, and techniques. A $2M investment will allow 32 pedagogists to be hired around the province, improving access to professional development and boosting the quality of child care in the province. Each pedagogist will work with 45 ECEs through community hubs at eight postsecondary institutions, 10 child care referral centres, and seven Indigenous communities in partnership with the BC Aboriginal Child Care Society. “This network will help ECEs to collaborate, learn from each other and bring new early learning theories to their practice,” explained Minister of Children  and Family Development Katrine Conroy, “making it easier for families to pursue their own education and careers, knowing that their kids are being nurtured and inspired during their time in child care.” (BC) Nation Talk

UAlberta approves change of name of certificate programs to Indigenous

The University of Alberta's Faculty of Native Studies has formally changed the names of two of their certificates to better reflect the discipline. Both the embedded and stand-alone certificates in Aboriginal Governance and Partnership will be renamed “Indigenous Governance and Partnership.” The change was approved unanimously at the academic planning committee of General Faculties Council. UAlberta documents supporting the name-change explains, "the proposal to change the term ‘Aboriginal’ to ‘Indigenous’ emulates current practices and usage, [and] allows for the ability to compare elements at the international level.” Students currently enrolled in either certificate will receive the new name on their parchment. (AB) NationTalk  | The Gateway

Ocean Man First Nation sees launch of Tiny House Project

A new Essential Skills project launched at Ocean Man First Nation will let students learn valuable, hands-on skills while they build an environmentally responsible tiny house for their community. Students will spend the next five months learning construction skills, as well as life and employability skills, to build the tiny house from the ground up. Upon completion, the home will be awarded to a family in the community. The Tiny House Project is delivered through a partnership between the First Nation, Parkland College, Yorkton Tribal Council, and the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission. “Parkland College is pleased to be working with such committed and generous partners in providing robust training and experiential learning opportunities for our Indigenous youth,” said Parkland President Mark Hoddenbagh. “That this project will provide a wonderful home for community members is an added bonus.” (SK) Parkland

New funding agreement enables Exshaw School to keep the doors open

The Stoney Education Authority and Canadian Rockies Public Schools have struck a new three-year funding agreement with Indigenous Services Canada for Exshaw School, which will enable the school to stay open. 99% of the K-8 school’s population is Indigenous, with most of the student body coming from Stoney Nakoda First Nation. After the Government of Canada terminated a funding agreement for Exshaw School in 2019, Government of Alberta Ministers Adriana LaGrange (Education) and Rick Wilson (Indigenous Relations) issued a statement indicating that the decision was “not an effective or appropriate way to support the education needs of First Nations students” and calling on the government to provide renewed supports for the school. "Exshaw School teachers won a 2019 Governor General's award for excellence in teaching last year," said Wilson in a release. "It is this type of extraordinary work we look forward to seeing continue in the halls of the school for the 200 Indigenous pupils it serves." CBC  | AB 

VIU, Camosun partner to deliver career pathways trade program for Indigenous peoples

Vancouver Island University and Camosun College have partnered to deliver a new career pathways trades program for Indigenous peoples. The schools will receive nearly $1.4M over two years to create the ITA Indigenous Peoples in Trades Training initiative that will provide exploratory trades skills foundations courses to 160 participants. Eligible participants will be able to take advantage of funding through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement for tuition, books, and tools. “Camosun is committed to the continued relationship with Indigenous learners as they pursue fulfilling and meaningful careers in the trades,” said Camosun Dean of the School of Trades and Technology Eric Sehn. “Hands-on, employment-ready skills equip graduates from Camosun to contribute to the economic sustainability of local families, communities and region.” (BC) VIU