Indigenous Top Ten

April 8, 2020

Students selected for Yellowknife Family Medical Residency Program

Two medical students have been selected as the first residents of Canada’s territorial residency program. Kasja Heyes and Thomsen D’Hont, soon to be graduates of the University of British Columbia’s medical school, were recently matched with the University of Alberta's Yellowknife Family Medical Residency Program. The placement is particularly important for D’Hont, who is Métis and grew up in in Yellowknife. His 2017 policy paper focused on increasing the number of northern doctors that were born and raised in the Northwest Territories. "When I first went into medical school my goal was to return to the North one day to practice and I think this is a perfect kind of transition," said D’Hont. CBC

Okanagan, Lillooet Tribal Council partner to offer specialized training for office administration

Okanagan College and the Lillooet Tribal Council – Community Adult Learning Centre recently partnered to offer the Introduction to Office Administration training program to unemployed and underemployed members from Lillooet. The fast-track program is designed to build the essential office skills necessary to help meet a local need for office administrators. The program included St’at’imc cultural workshops featuring traditional First Nations teachers, strategy workshops on success and conflict management, and other essential skills tutorials. The program was offered with free tuition, books, and supplies; and Okanagan provided the curriculum and learning resources while the community centre provided onsite support throughout. Okanagan

USask researchers receive $5M for national network of Indigenous health research centres

University of Saskatchewan researchers have received $5M to develop a network of health research centres driven by and grounded in Indigenous communities. Network Environments for Indigenous Health Research will work collaboratively with centres in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, the Maritimes, and Canada’s circumpolar region to advance national and international Indigenous health research partnerships, establish an annual international Indigenous health research conference, and help evaluate the effectiveness of the new research networks. “This Indigenous-led, community-based approach will ensure better health outcomes for Indigenous peoples and foster the next generation of Indigenous health researchers,” said USask Vice-President of Research Karen Chad. “This is reconciliation at work.” USask

Indigenous schools close, change tactics across Canada to combat spread of COVID-19

Every First Nation in New Brunswick has closed its local schools in an alignment with the provincial school closures, according to CBC. Two Row Times reports that Six Nations of the Grand River closed all six local schools from in an effort to halt the spread of the COVID-19 virus. While the First Nation has scaled bac kits operations to essential service only, Garden River First Nation’s Education Unit is using a limited contact approach to continue its healthy breakfast program for students while the childcare department provides warm meals to those in need. All schools closed in Nunavik in late March, and the Kativik Ilisarniliriniq school board stated that students would be able to graduate despite the closure. Two Row Times | CBC (NB) | Soo Today (Garden River) | NationTalk

MNA, MN-S launches interim support plan

Métis Nation of Alberta has announced its Interim COIVD-19 Support plan, which is accessible to all Métis Nation citizens in Alberta. The Nation has announced a number of Support Programs that include an emergency fund for families with children up to 12 years of age who have been impacted by school and daycare closures. MNA has also launched a coordinated effort with the Rupertsland Institute to establish a Community Emergency Support Fund, and the RLI is additionally working to provide Chromebook devices to Métis students to participate in AB K-12 virtual classrooms. In Saskatchewan, Métis Nation Saskatchewan announced $2.88M for immediate emergency COVID-19 relief measures for childcare, housing, and PPE. MN-S announced a daycare for first responders and emergency workers; and added that Gabriel Dumont Institute/Dumont Technical Institute classes will continue to be delivered remotely. Gabriel Dumont Institute Training & Employment funded clients will continue to have income support, dependent care, and other non-travel allowances; and MN-S announced that it is offering additional supports and funds to those who were required to relocate, whose programs were interrupted or altered, and whose programs are cancelled due to COVID-19. NewsWire (MNA) | Nation Talk (MN-S)

Brock Indigenous Studies instructor delivers support to elders in need

Brock University Indigenous Studies Instructor April Powless, who co-owns Mohawk Towing / Porter Trucking and Construction in Ohsweken, Ontario, has been working to deliver groceries and other items to elders and vulnerable community members at the Six Nations Reserve. “We were watching everyone raising concern and facing struggles finding basic supplies,” said Powless. “This made us worried about some of the more vulnerable populations on the Six Nations Reserve.” The company recently announced a new partnership with the Six Nations Food Bank to further ensure that everyone remains safe. “I think in times of crisis, that’s when our character and strength are tested,” said Powless. “Our young people look to how we respond to this. If we respond in fear, it will lead to more fear. I hope that people are able to push past those initial fears to reach out to neighbours and elders who should not be out to help them self-isolate and keep them safe.” Brock U

SD 57 takes to the phone lines for renaming Kelly Road

School District 57 in Prince George, BC has opened dedicated phone lines for people to call in with their input on a proposal to rename Kelly Road Secondary School. The school district recently undertook an online questionnaire focused on ideas for incorporating the existing name with the Shas Ti (grizzly path) name suggested by the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation. The Prince George Citizen reports that the proposed name stems from the region, which was a grizzly hunting territory for the Lheidli T’enneh for centuries. “The school district is dedicated to making the KRSS engagement process as transparent and accessible as possible, given these very challenging circumstances,” said board chair Tim Bennett. “We have two weeks left to hear from the public, and we would like to ensure we hear from as many interested parties as possible.” Prince George Citizen | Prince George Citizen

Anishinaabe outdoor education school owner takes survival classes online

Caleb Musgrave, owner and operator of Canadian Bushcraft, an outdoor education school, is offering free online classes. Musgrave runs approximately 50 outdoor classes a year focused on everything from outdoor survival to making baskets and canoes, and when his bush classes were cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, he turned to creating free workshops online. "We're just trying to reach out to the community, make sure that people still learn and enjoy themselves in the woods," said Musgrave, an Anishinaabe man from Hiawatha First Nation. "I hate the idea of a bunch of kids sitting around just playing video games and then getting bored after a few hours and just having nothing to do." Musgrave stated that the videos are designed to be family friendly, and that he’s trying to be helpful to the community in developing these videos. CBC

NTI, Inhabit Media partner to launch online resource for home learning

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc and Inhabit Media Inc have partnered to ensure that Inuit children have access to Inuktut books and resources while they are learning from home. Each week that the COVID-19 crisis continues, the two organizations are adding books and resources to a website to support Nunavummiut and ensure the language remains strong. Currently, texts such as Sweetest Kulu, Elisapee and her Baby Seagull, and The Pencil are available for free on the website, as well as several short videos. “We want to support learning from home,” said Louise Flaherty of Inhabit Media, "and to encourage people to use this time to come together and strengthen our language.” The resource also includes information in Inuktut on how to support teaching and learning from home. Nation Talk | Resources

BC provides $1.5M in emergency funding for Indigenous students

The Government of British Columbia has announced $1.5M in funding for the Indigenous Emergency Assistance Fund to support Indigenous students who are experiencing an unexpected financial emergency that could affect their ability to finish their studies. The fund will support emergency living expenses, such as cellphone bills and childcare, as well as other unanticipated costs like dental or optical costs. “Our government is increasing emergency financial assistance for Indigenous students to ensure they have the necessary funds to focus on staying healthy, meeting their educational goals and finishing their semester,” said BC Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark. “By supporting Indigenous students to succeed, we are doing our part to implement article 23 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.” BC