Indigenous Top Ten

March 25, 2020

Educators volunteer to provide online learning about Indigenous knowledge, storytelling 

Indigenous educators are volunteering their time to help educate students online as schools close down in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. "I wanted to offer these online Facebook, social media classes for parents who are at home with their kids, just so they can connect with their learning," said Chris Scribe, director of the University of Saskatchewan’s Indian Teacher Education Program and founder of Think Indigenous. Educators took turns going “live” on their Facebook pages earlier this month in order to provide lessons and storytelling related to Indigenous knowledge, such as the Indigenous perspective of bacteria and what it means in today’s context. "My lesson was 20 minutes ...I wanted to share some lessons and teachings that I've had on stress management," said Curtis Vinish, who targeted middle school students with his lessons. "We have never faced a situation like this before in modern society. I think it's important to talk about mental health issues in our communities, especially with self isolation being recommended." Vinish stated that the plan is to try and keep virtual classrooms operating on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  CBC  | Facebook Page  ()

Sooke SD announces new names for two Langford area schools 

The Sooke School District announced that it named its two new Langford area schools PEXSISEN Elementary and Centre Mountain LELLYM Middle School. PEXSISEN will house 500 elementary students in a two-story building and received its name, which menas ‘the opening of hands’ from the Songhees First Nations. Centre Mountain will house 700 Grade 6-8 students in a three-storey building and received its name, which means ‘the idea of community, where we raise our children’ from the Beecher Bay First Nations. “It gets me choked up to think about these names because it recognizes our history,” said Russ Chipps, chief counsellor of Beecher Bay. “We’re all treated as equals … it’s not something that you don’t think about anymore with the territories getting acknowledged.” Both schools are expected to open by September 2022.    Gold Stream Gazette   (BC)

Business schools seek to address Indigenous knowledge gap 

While Indigenous issues and their impact on the business world are of increasing interest to business schools across the country, writes Dene Moore, institutions are facing delivery challenges. The article highlights schools such as Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, which offers an executive MBA in Indigenous business leadership, and Dalhousie University's Rowe School of Business, which includes Indigenous relations in the school's ethics, leadership, and management courses. However, SFU Beedie Associate Dean of Graduate Programs Andrew Gemino notes that there is a significant lack of people and resources crucial to the successful creation and delivery of such programs. Indigenous Corporate Training President Bob Joseph says he believes not just business schools, but all graduate and undergraduate educations should include a mandatory Indigenous curriculum. “Mining. Forestry. Political science. Health care. It’s hard to think of something that isn’t impacted by Indigenous relations,” he explains. “And I have seen people with a little bit of knowledge and ideas make unbelievable inroads.”  Globe and Mail  (National)

NIC to offer Indigenous Language Fluency certificate 

North Island College has announced the creation of an Indigenous Language Fluency certificate that is set to launch this fall. The certificate expands on the college's current Indigenous language offerings in Nuu-chah-nulth and Kwak’wala, incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing and being along with language teaching. The certificate will also support the infusion of culture and draw on local fluent elders and knowledge keepers. “This new certificate is a response to local Indigenous communities and individuals from those communities who were concerned about the critical state of their languages,” said NIC Aboriginal Education Facilitator Sara Child. “I have no doubt that this will be an empowering journey that will change the perspectives of our students and their communities, and transform how we do education.”  The curriculum is in its final development stage with an expected first offering in September 2020.  NIC  (BC)

Indigenous youth train to become ambassadors, future leaders  

Puamun Meshkenul has launched a new youth ambassadors program aimed at giving 11 First Nations and Inuit youth work and public speaking experience. The non-profit was launched by Stanley Vollant, the first Indigenous surgeon in Quebec who is an Innu from Pessamit. "I would like to have young people take this role of leader and also be role models so that the youth can connect with them,” said Vollant, “and to continue what my mission was the last seven years. They're going to get a chance to speak about their own experience.” The 11 ambassadors in the program, all young First Nations and Inuit women, participated in a three-day training session in January and were intended to participate in part of a sessions at the end of the month.   CBC   (QC)

Lakehead, Biitigong Nishnaabeg partner on land-based program 

Lakehead University and Biitigong Nishnaabeg, a northwestern Ontario First Nation, have announced that they are collaborating on a master’s level, land-based program. Part of the pilot program includes learning how to harvest and process wild rice, and the first cohort primarily consisted of teachers at Endzhi-gkinoohmaading, the elementary school in Biitigong. "As soon as the kids are out on the land their demeanour just completely changes,” said Endzhi-gkinoohmaading teacher Amy Michano, “and just having something like this, having it validated just means so much more to them because now we can actually prove to say that this is invaluable." "We've sort of jumped in with I think a lot of trust on both sides," said Lakehead Chair of Graduate Studies & Research in Education Paul Berger. "The instructors and the lead people in the community decided that rice harvesting could be part of that. And we did the risk management stuff incredibly quickly and boom they were on the land."  CBC  (ON)

USask SENS collaborate with Mistawasis Nêhiyawak 

Mistawasis Nêhiyawak and the University of Saskatchewan’s School of Environment and Sustainability have been collaborating on a mapping project that includes flood projections for the community. “In past years, while we were dealing with flooding on a daily basis, we may have taken actions that impact present or future water use and quality,” said Anthony Johnston, SENS Indigenous mentor and a spokesperson for Mistawasis Nêhiyawak. “Now we can only wait and see if we did more harm with our quick solution. We might have decided differently if we were able to use our LiDAR data earlier.” USask notes that the collaboration provided an opportunity for SENS students to learn first-hand about reconciliation through shared science, and that the two parties have planned new projects for the future.   USask   (SK)

NWO First Nations launch program to train water plant operators  

Bimose Tribal Council, which represents eight First Nations communities in northwestern Ontario, has partnered with the charity Water First Education & Training Inc to train future water plant operators among the member First Nations. The Bimose Tribal Council is offering a drinking water treatment and environmental water management internship program for Indigenous youth, and 14 young adults are reportedly currently participating in the program. "They're just learning the basics: OITs, operators in training,” said Phil Tangie, hub manager for Bimose Tribal Council. “They're also learning water quality analysis, source water protection, anything and everything to do with water, with the hopes that some of these interns will eventually become at the very least a water plant operator in their community." The first six months of the 18-month program is funded by Indigenous Services Canada and Tangie expressed hope that ISC would fund the program for its duration after seeing the results from those first six months.   CBC  (ON)

UFV, VCC, Stó:lō Nation deliver culinary pre-apprenticeship program for Indigenous learners 

The University of the Fraser Valley, Vancouver Community College, and the Stó:lō Nation are partnering to deliver the Stó:lō Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training (SASET) Culinary Arts program. The initiative, funded by the Government of British Columbia, is a 12-week pre-trades training program delivered at VCC and UFV. The program will provide students with first aid training, FoodSafe and SuperHost certificates, and a work practicum placement. “A career in the culinary arts is a lifelong endeavour where learning never stops and job satisfaction happens every day,” said UFV Instructor Chris Monkman. “We’re thankful the Province recognizes the need for partnerships like this, as well as the need for state-of-the-art training equipment and spaces. This partnership really is a win-win.”    NationTalk     (BC)

Indigenous support centres scramble to support clients 

Indigenous friendship and support centres in Ottawa are scrambling to find ways to serve their clients as they cancel all non-essential services and programs. Odawa Native Friendship Centre’s drop-in centre and childcare services have been closed, Tungasuvvingat Inuit has closed all programming except for its foodbank and Mamisarvik Healing Centre, and the Minwaashin Lodge women’s support centre has suspended all programming until April 5th. “Ottawa has a very large urban Indigenous community. We have a lot of clients that come through our centre accessing services,” said Odawa President Amy Nahwegahbow. "We’re still at the early stages and we’re trying to brainstorm and think outside the box.” APTN News  (ON)