Indigenous Top Ten

August 26, 2020

Long Lake 58 First Nation makes history with community-based curriculum

Long Lake 58 First Nation has broken new ground in First Nations education by developing an entirely new history curriculum for students. The curriculum includes lessons about their own families and community, such as the Finlayson family from the late 1800s who played a significant role in the fur trade, and includes modules and lesson plans for every grade level. In kindergarten, students will learn about family relationships, while in Grade 12, students will learn about the mining development in the region called the Ring of Fire. “My grandmother would always talk about her life,” said education director Claire Onabigon. “That really helped us. It added so much more stability to who we were and I don't think our kids have that anymore.” The curriculum was developed with education consultant Waubageshig, who co-founded Trent University’s Native Studies program, and was paid for through Long Lake 58’s regular education allocation from the federal government. Nation Talk (ON)

AU PowerED, Banff Centre partner to move project online

Athabasca University’s PowerED and the Banff Centre have partnered to move one of the Centre’s core programs in Indigenous Leadership online. The program, Project Management for Indigenous Organizations, translates the language of project management into the systems and worldview of Indigenous wisdom in order to find a common understanding between the theory and the application of it in communities. “PowerED™ is excited to partner with Banff Centre to transform one of their face-to-face courses into an enriched, high-quality digital offering,” said AU PowerED™ Director Jessica Scott. “We look forward to collaborating with Banff Centre on this initiative, as well as any future initiatives that may meet the needs of the learners, and that will bring together the strengths of both of our organizations.” AU (AB)

Seven Oaks School Division students take part in entrepreneurial Indigenous mentorship program

Eight Indigenous Grade 12 students from Seven Oaks School Division are now part of the Indigenous Student Mentorship Program with the North Forge Technology Exchange. The program teaches entrepreneurial skills through classroom and hands-on learning at the fabrication lab, which is equipped to produce anything from coasters to computer parts. Students will learn how to use machines like 3D printers and laser cutters as they bring a physical prototype of a business idea to life. “In this specific part here at North Forge, we do a lot of training whether it be related to equipment skills but also skills related to entrepreneurship so innovation, problem solving, idea brainstorming,” said Scott Angus, a facilitator with the Indigenous Student Mentorship Program. “You know things focused around potentially building a business but more so bigger than that just getting something off the ground and building something they’re interested in and passionate about.” APTN News (MB)

Arctic College cancels teacher training program for first-year students

Nunavut Arctic College has cancelled the Nunavut Teacher Education Program (NTEP) for first-year students this fall. The program, which is seen as essential to bringing Inuktitut-speaking teachers into the classroom, cannot enrol a new cohort without more instructors. Nunavut Teachers Association president John Fanjoy explained that about one-third of teachers in Nunavut in a given year are Inuit and added that most graduate from the NTEP program. “The majority of our teachers in the future need to be Inuit teachers, teaching in Inuktitut to our students,” said Fanjoy. “That's not going to happen the way NTEP is running right now.” The college is offering to keep students’ applications for the 2021-22 school year or to allow students to switch programs. “We don't want to close the door on a learning opportunity for them as an educational institution,” said acting Arctic College President Rebecca Mearns, “This isn't a decision we wanted to make, but for operational reasons this was the decision that was made at the program level with our university partner." CBC (NV)

CYFN, YFNED announce new Advocates, plan for creation of Yukon First Nations School Board

The Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN) and the Chief’s Committee of Education (CCOE) have announced the creation of the Yukon First Nations Education Directorate, which effectively replaces CYFN’s Education department. Following the official dissolution of the CYFN department in March, the YFNED has hired 12 Yukon First Nation Education Advocates, a new role in the territory. The YFNED has announced that it will facilitate the creation of a Yukon First Nations School Board. The new school board will provide Yukon First Nations with more authority and control of their education and will aid in the development of a school in Whitehorse. “Today signals a break in the colonial cycles of education of Yukon First Nations, which has never honoured our people,” stated Vintut Gwitchin First Nation Chief and CCOE Chair Dana Tizya-Tramm. “It is only right that the education of Indigenous people be carried out by Indigenous peoples.” Nation Talk | CBC (YK)

Institutions receive SSHRC funding to investigate projects related to Indigenous student access, scholarship

Postsecondary institutions in Canada recently received $32M in funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to conduct research projects, several of which investigate critical Indigenous issues. Among the numerous recipients of the SSHRC awards, Carleton University researcher Frances Abele in the School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA) will receive $2.5M over the next six years to lead a project investigating how First Nations can work free of Indian Act governance to become fully self-governing in Canada. Other projects include an investigation by University of Manitoba researcher Jillian Seniuk Cicek into whether Canadian access programs are supporting Indigenous students in STEM programs, research by the University of British Columbia’s Julia Bullard into Indigenous and Canadian scholarship, and an investigation into Indigenous Global Politics and Natural Resource Extraction by Dalhousie University’s Leah Sarson and University of Victoria’s Wilfrid Greaves. Carleton | SSHRC (National)

SK First Nations announce new guidelines for fall

Several First Nations in Saskatchewan have announced new guidelines and partnerships to ensure that the return to the classroom this fall is as safe as possible. Cowessess First Nation recently announced its back-to-school plan, which has been under development since May and involved the input of community members. The new plan includes increased sanitation, a cap of 10 students per room, designated bus plans, and a community mentorship program that could begin as early as October. At the Pasqua First Nation, the locally owned Pro Metal Industries Ltd is working with the Chief Paskwa Education Centre to develop sanitation stations and Plexiglas desk shields, which Pasqua Director of Education Maureen Johns calls ‘sugar cubes.’ “Cube, because it looks like a cube, and the student that sits at the cube is sweet, so these are the sugar cubes," explained Johns. "We've been playing around with what we'll name them so the students will like to sit at them.” Students will be returning to the classroom in October, and Pasqua is developing a rotation plan that will see students alternate which days they’re in class and make up the additional hours remotely. CBC (1) | CBC (2) (SK)

Kenjgewin Teg, Wiikwemkoong, Canadore work to help fill PSW need on Manitoulin

In order to meet a need for personal support workers (PSW), Kenjgewin Teg and Wiikwemkoong are partnering to offer free courses on Manitoulin Island. The two-semester PSW course is run in partnership with Canadore College, and will see students complete a practical placement with either Manitoulin Lodge, Manitoulin Centennial Manor, or the Wikwemikong Nursing Home (WNH). The community has been supportive of the local education, and Kenjgewin Teg instructors said that the free tuition will reduce barriers for students who may be working or supporting a family. “It’s great that we have the program because (the students) are getting trained here with culture implemented into the program, which is really important because a lot of nursing homes, home and community care work includes First Nations clients,” said instructor Kendra Recollet. Manitoulin Expositor (ON)

Fort Chipewyan celebrates success with community-driven school

Indigenous leaders are calling the new, community-driven Fort Chipewyan Community School a success after its first semester. Based out of the hamlet’s Keyano College building, the new community school allows high school students to complete modules at their own pace. The school predicted that only 30 students would sign up, but approximately 108 students are completing their education and upgrading classes. “We’ve tried to do things very barrier-free. It’s also community-driven. There is a sense of local pride in it,” said school principal Kerri Ceretzke. Ceretzke explained that assignments are done on paper modules, since internet and software access are limited in the region, and in-person classes are held between 11 AM and 6 PM. The school offers academic counselling and plans to have at least five teachers with the hope of having specialized teachers for subjects like chemistry or Cree or Denesuline languages. “It was almost too good to be true when it was finished,” said Matthew Marcel, who recently graduated. “Having no barriers made a difference. A lot of times, people have other things going on, end up falling behind and dropping out.” Fort McMurray Today (AB)

NIC launches educational assistant program at Port Hardy

North Island College’s Port Hardy campus will soon offer a human services certificate program in partnership with the Mount Waddington Family Literacy Society and the Community Workforce Response Grant. The program, Human Services Certificate – Educational Assistant/Community Support, Indigenous Focus, provides a specific focus on integrating Indigenous culture and ways of knowing for students who wish to build their practice as a community support worker or educational assistant. “This program is first and foremost about providing support to individuals in the community. It is work that people are passionate and excited about and we’re thrilled to be able to offer the content digitally in Port Hardy,” said NIC Faculty of Health and Human Services Dean Kathleen Haggith. “Being able to complete practicum placements locally means students are able to stay in community to complete that part of their program, which is an essential aspect of access.” NIC (BC)