Indigenous Top Ten

July 29, 2020

Matawa First Nations seeking $25M to reopen its schools

Matawa First Nations in Ontario has estimated that it will cost an additional $25M to safely reopen its schools after months of living under restrictions and has called on the Government of Ontario to provide funds. The Northern Ontario, James Bay, Cree, and Ojibway nations first expressed concern about the amount of money made available by the province in early July, and with students arriving in little over a month, the chiefs say urgent supplementary funding is needed to provide services during this time. “There is no way around it, resources are needed to ensure the safety of our students,” said Constance Lake First Nation Chief Rick Allen. “Time is running out for First Nations, there is only one and a half months left to the start of school.” APTN News | APTN News (Statement) (ON)

Volunteers create baby board books written in the Kanien'kéha language

Residents of Kahnawake, Québec have published three children’s books in Kanien’kéha to help babies and toddlers learn the Mohawk language. A team of volunteer illustrators, graphic designers, and translators put together Otsísto Otsísto (written to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star), Takwa'ahson (the Itsy Bitsy Spider), and Akeráhkhwa (You are My Sunshine). 3,000 copies of the books will be distributed for free to families in the community. "Every child and every family should have access to this learning tool," said project coordinator Jody Jacobs. "The more things that we have to include parents, grandparents, families all together to support our young children to keep our language going is the main goal." The remaining books will be available to purchase at Kahnawake’s library, with the proceeds benefiting an immersion program for caregivers called the Iakwahwatsiratátie Language Nest. CBC (QC)

USask-led Indigenous health research network to be housed at Station 20 West

The University of Saskatchewan has announced that Station 20 West will be the new national coordinating centre for the nine Network Environments for Indigenous Health Research (NEIHR) across Canada. Both the national NEIHR coordinating centre and Saskatchewan-specific networks will soon have staff moving into the space leased by USask at Station 20 West. The Saskatchewan networks will work with researchers at USask, University of Regina, and First Nations University, and with partners including the Office of the Treaty Commissioner, Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority, Aboriginal Friendship Centres of Saskatchewan, Gabriel Dumont Institute, Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies, and Saskatchewan Polytechnic. “First Nations and Métis people will lead the research projects and help identify research priorities,” said Caroline Tait, researcher at USask College of Medicine and member of the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan. “This location at Station 20 West makes it much easier when working with our Elders because it is easy to access by car or transit.” USask (SK)

Yukon U, UBCO publish free book about Yukon’s First Nations Peoples

Yukon University and the University of British Columbia Okanagan have published a book focused on the history, culture, and modern-day realities of Yukon First Nations. ECHO: Ethnographic, Cultural and Historic Overview of Yukon’s First Nations Peoples features interviews with Yukon-based academics, community researchers, and Yukon First Nations artists. “Including a chapter on modern-day governance was incredibly important as an overview of this important milestone has not been covered in textbooks previously,” said Tosh Southwick of Yukon U. “We also wanted to include and honour the many individuals who contributed to achieving modern self-determination in Yukon.” The book is freely available on BCcampus. Yukon U | BCcampus (YK)

NL establishes office to support skilled trades among Indigenous, Northern communities

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has announced $1.45M in funding to establish the Labrador Office for Indigenous and Northern Skilled Trades, an office in Happy Valley-Goose Bay that will work with Indigenous groups to promote and mentor apprentices. “The intent is to promote the trades, go out and identify those in the Indigenous population now who have a trade but not have it completed to journeypersons, and put supports in place to help with things like work placements and block exams,” explained Trades NL Executive Director Darin King. “We want to promote the trades in the school system and help people understand the options that are out there for skilled-trades training.” Paul Rich, former chief of Sheshatshiu, explained the office is an important step to getting Indigenous people more involved in the skilled trades in Labrador. The Telegram (NL)

Queen’s launches new Indigenous Studies programming

Queen’s University has announced that, starting in September 2020, students will be able to choose a Major or a Medial degree in Indigenous Studies. “The plans combine courses from a wide range of departments... ensuring that students are exposed to a diversity of perspectives on Indigenous topics,” said the university’s press release. “The plans therefore, not only reflect the interdisciplinary focus of Indigenous Studies, but also contribute to the expansion of this field of study.” The program will introduce students to Indigenous worldviews, histories, geographies, law, politics, education, spirituality, and art; as well as concepts of colonization, decolonization, and Indigenous-settler relations. Kingstonist (ON)

FedNor funds support, training for young entrepreneurs in Northern ON

The Government of Canada has announced more than $3.9M in federal funding to support youth initiatives and young entrepreneurs across Northern Ontario. Delivered by FedNor, the funding will support 28 initiatives with numerous organizations, and will include support for on-the-job technical and skills training, as well as a business incubator for students. Among organizations to receive funding are the Nipissing First Nation who will receive $63K to hire a youth intern to plan and co-ordinate events promoting Indigenous culture, as well as the Temagami First Nation, who will receive the same amount to hire a community capacity youth intern to support economic development and human resources activities over two-years. Canada | North Bay Nugget (ON)

Canada invests in Indigenous youth careers in clean energy

As the clean energy sector grows and transforms, the Government of Canada has announced nearly $500K in funding for projects in Ontario First Nations communities that focus on Indigenous youth participation in Canada’s sector. Matawa First Nations Management has received $262K to build energy literacy in five remote Matawa First Nations communities, offer career mentorship, and encourage community members to pursue careers in clean energy. Opiikapawiin Services LP has received $208K for a youth-focused energy engagement initiative that will bolster Indigenous youths’ knowledge of energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions. Newswire (National)

QIA announces laptops-for-students initiative expansion

The Qikiqtani Inuit Association has announced the expansion of a laptops-for-students initiative, which will provide laptops to students whose education has been affected by COVID-19. The initial funds for the program from the Government of Canada and the Mastercard Foundation funded the provision of 65 Google Pixelbook Go laptops, and Nation Talk reports that the charity Actua has donated an additional 40 laptops to the initiative. QIA states that any Inuk student between the ages of 8 and 18 who has lived for at least one year in a Qikiqtani community is eligible. QIA | QIA (NV)

Indigenous students launch new podcasts, YouTube series

Students and staff have launched new content channels – including a podcast and YouTube – in the past two weeks. At MacEwan University, Director of Indigenous initiatives and kihêw waciston Terri Sunjens and Assistant Professor of Social Work Amber Dion launched a new podcast called 2 Crees in a Pod. The podcast aims to “honour, recognize, and amplify Indigenous voices in social work and beyond,” and was built to serve as both a resource to social work students in Dion’s Advanced Practice with Indigenous Peoples course and as an opportunity for anyone interested in learning. In Hamilton, Ontario, Ohneganos – a McMaster University and Six Nations Global Water Futures research project – launched a new series on YouTube called “Ohneganos: Let’s Talk Water.” The seven-week series sees McMaster student Makasa Looking Horse speak with inspirational Indigenous youth leaders from across the globe and with researchers, artists, knowledge holders, and community members from Six Nations. McMaster | MacEwan> (AB, ON)