Indigenous Top Ten

July 15, 2020

Indspire releases report on BBF program, calls for more funding for Indigenous education 

Indspire has released the Building Brighter Futures (BBF) Bursaries, Scholarships, and Awards Program Recipients’ Outcome report, which highlights the impact of BBF scholarships on recipients. Surveying over 6,500 individuals who received BBF funding in recent years, the report found that approximately 90% of recipients had graduated, 90% are employed, and nearly 50% work for an Indigenous community or an Indigenous-owned business. The report also found that while more Indigenous students are attending or want to attend post-secondary institutions, the funding is not there to adequately support them. “Right now, we are only able to meet 22% of the financial needs of the students who apply,” said Indspire President Roberta Jamieson. “Without more funding, the brighter futures promised to First Nation, Inuit and Métis students will fade.”   GlobalNewswire   | Indspire  (National)

Colleges, polytechnics launch new programming for community  

Cambrian College has launched a series of free, non-credit courses to the general public as a way to say thank you to the community. Among these courses is a class called “Mino-Bimaadiziwin” or “Living the Good life,” which uses the Medicine Wheel to teach people the four aspects that need to be in balance and developed to remain healthy. Saskatchewan Polytechnic has launched two online Indigenous Studies courses – Indigenous Studies and Colonization to Resilience – which are designed and delivered in collaboration with Indigenous leaders. North Island College has launched new virtual courses where students can learn Kwak’wala and explore pathways to reconciliation. “There’s a growing interest from people who want to better understand the history of Indigenous people and how to actively participate and contribute to reconciliation,” said NIC Indigenous Education Facilitator Sara Child.   CBC (Cambrian)  | Nation Talk (Sask Polytech) | Portage | My Comox Valley Now (National)

U of T OISE establishes Indigenous education research centre

The University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education has announced the launch of the Indigenous Educational Research Centre. The research centre will provide space for Indigenous faculty and students to meet, work on Indigenous-specific projects, and engage in critical conversations about their work. The space will pursue seven key objectives that aim to advance Indigenous educational research; develop and promote protocols, ethics, and methods for culturally appropriate research; and provide a space and opportunities for Indigenous faculty and students. “The distinctiveness of the centre is its multi-disciplinary focus on self-determining, emergent and responsive Indigenous research environs – more specifically the ways it relates to education across broad contexts,” explained Sandra Styres, an OISE assistant professor and a Canada Research Chair in Iethi’nihstnha Ohwentsia’kkha (Land), Resurgence, Reconciliation and the Politics of Education. “This centre supports the ways Indigenous faculty and graduate students promote Indigenous educational research within the academy while furthering the institutional goals of reconciliation.  U of T (ON)

NWT education leaders urge students to reject racism, intolerance 

During a biweekly teleconference, education leaders from the Northwest Territories expressed a strong sense of responsibility to publicly support the Black Lives Matter movement and emphasized the need to continue fighting for an end to systemic racism targeting Indigenous peoples. The leaders urged students in the territory to reject all forms of racism and intolerance and encouraged them to think deeply about how they can positively effect change in the fight against all forms of racism and intolerance. “NWT leaders and our youth cannot be quietly neutral about horrific historic and modern-day discrimination against Indigenous peoples,” said Beaufort-Delta Divisional Education Council Chair Darlene Gruben. “We must stand up for change and equality.”  Nation Talk  (NWT)

ON announces changes to advance equity

The Government of Ontario has announced changes to the provincial education system that aim to break down barriers for Black, Indigenous, and racialized students. The changes include eliminating Grade 9 streaming, proposing the elimination of discretionary suspensions, strengthening sanctions for teachers who engage in racist behaviours, and providing teachers with anti-racism and anti-discrimination training. While the ON release did not reference it, the news comes after the circulation of a petition that called for changes to the provincial education system, most notably the development of a mandatory race and ethnicity high school course. The petition, created by Ryerson University Student Parnika Raj, stated that the current education system leaves students uneducated on issues like racism and cultural assimilation. “Without educating students on the full extent of the history of racism and cultural assimilation in the past, we are perpetuating a continual cycle of colonialism today,” stated the petition, which collected tens of thousands of signatures.  Nation Talk  | Narcity  (ON)

Indigenous workers at high risk of automation, says study 

A study has found that one-third of Canada’s Indigenous workers are in jobs that are facing a high risk of automation. Researchers at the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute, and the Future Skills Centre examined 33 sectors and found that 250,000 jobs (33.8% of the roles held by Indigenous workers) are in industries with a high risk of automation. "There's a lot of research that goes into the economy, but very rarely is there an Indigenous lens put on it," said Tabatha Bull, chief executive at the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and a member of the Nipissing First Nation. "This really puts a lens on the difficulties and potential barriers Indigenous people face to be on an equal playing field." Diversity Institute founder and academic director Wendy Cukier explained that Indigenous workers tend to be more concentrated in these at-risk industries because of historical and geographical factors that have resulted in structural inequality. Bull has called on Canada to look at improving access and the quality of education for Indigenous communities in order to protect the work of Indigenous peoples and ensure they have the opportunity to obtain less-at-risk jobs.   Powell River Peak  (National)

Matawa sound alarm on lack of supplementary funding for making schools safe 

Following a Nishnawbe-Aski Nation (NAN) Special Meeting on Education held in June, Matawa education leaders have announced that they agree with the assessments made at the meeting that core funding for the 2020-21 school year is insufficient tfor providing safe, quality educational programs and services. Matawa Chiefs Council have called for urgent supplementary funding to be made available to help make the schools safe before students return to school. The Matawa Emergency COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan includes  costing for upgraded bandwidth to allow access to online resources, additional costs for safe facilities, additional capital costs to upgrade school facilities and teacher accommodations, additional transportation to allow staggered attendance, and more. “Today, education is one of key building blocks for a healthy, self-sustaining community. It is the hope and future for our youth,” stated Chief Harvey Yesno of the Eabametoong First Nation. “It would be a tragedy that our children would lose more instruction if the proper tools and resources are not in place before this September.”  Nation Talk  (ON)

MSS partners with New Relationship Trust for collection of Indigenous books, literary resources 

Merritt Secondary School (MSS) has a new collection of Indigenous books and literary resources thanks to a partnership with the independent non-profit, the New Relationship Trust. The New Relationship Trust seeks to support First Nations people and communities by investing in governance capacity, education, language, youth & elders, and economic development. With five bands in the surrounding areas, the Merritt Herald explains that the school has a strong Indigenous culture and population. “First Nations literature is rich and diverse,” said MSS English teacher Jenn Denton, who put forward a grant application with the organization. “The additions to our collection will provide students with greater choice and exposure. We have expanded our collection with class novel sets, literature circle sets, and singular additions to our library. These include novels, graphic novels, recipe books, historical anthologies, cultural non-fiction and more.” The school also purchased a variety of texts to support the outdoor education program.   Merritt Herald  (BC)

Queen’s issues statement on vandalism of Four Directions Student Centre

Queen’s University Principal Patrick Deane recently issued a statement decrying the vandalism of the flags outside the Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre. In a statement, Deane explained that the flags represent the Indigenous communities and include a rainbow flag that celebrates LGBTQ+ members of the community. “Disgusting in itself, this new expression of racism and bigotry is all the more reprehensible for occurring in the context of that broader repudiation of racism and hatred that has gripped our society since the death of George Floyd in the United States,” stated Deane. “Queen’s University will do everything within its power to identify the individuals responsible, and will redouble its efforts to effect broad and systemic change within our community.”   Queen’s   (ON)

Nunavut to get all-Inuktut TV channel with educational programming, cultural content 

Inuit TV, an all-Inuktut TV channel with broadcasters and programming in dialects from all Inuit regions, will be launching in Nunavut this year. "Many Inuit homes don't have computers or good internet access. We saw the need for a conventional broadcaster,” said Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, president of Inuit TV Network. "This educational broadcaster will make it easier to be able to show more Inuktut content in Inuit homes.” The network will be focused on cultural and language education and will provide a place for Inuit filmmakers to show their work. A content committee will determine what kind of programming viewers want, including translated mainstream shows such as Spider-Man and David Suzuki’s The Nature of Things. The network has received $2.4M in funding from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc for its first three years, and Arnaquq-Baril stated that first-time filmmakers can access funding through organizations such as the Nunavut Film Development Corp.   CBC  (NV)