Indigenous Top Ten

September 23, 2020

Algonquin, Ottawa Tourism partner to launch free Indigenous Tourism Entrepreneurship Training

Algonquin College and Ottawa Tourism have partnered to offer free Indigenous Tourism Entrepreneurship Training. The 10-week online training program will provide Indigenous learners with business start-up skills training, market-readiness tools, and access to Ottawa’s tourism ecosystem. The content of the program was developed by Indigenous entrepreneurs and subject matter experts. “Where the DARE District has the capacity and the experience to undertake learning in an Indigenized environment, our partners at Ottawa Tourism have the expertise on what makes for a strong tourism experience,” says Ron McLester, Algonquin’s Vice President of Truth, Reconciliation and Indigenization. “Together, we can provide Indigenous entrepreneurs and learners who are interested in starting their own tourism business with the tools necessary for success.” The initiative was funded by the Government of Canada through FedDev Ontario.  Algonquin | Ottawa Tourism | Ottawa Matters (ON)

Mi'kmaw communities in Cape Breton use various hybrid teaching models

Mi’kmaw community schools across five school districts in Cape Breton are using different hybrid models to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. "All of our communities are a little bit different. We're different school sizes, different population sizes, and different numbers of staff," said Wagmatcook First Nation CEO Brian Arbuthnot. "I think everybody was kind of left with the idea that we were going to focus on health and safety protocols for our children." Eskasoni First Nation will be using a Group A, Group B system where students alternate studying online and going into class, with everyone studying online on Fridays. Membertou First Nations will be using the hybrid model with its younger grades, with students either going to school in the morning or afternoon. Wagmatcook First Nation is using a model where students are in school for 50% of the time and online the rest. Potlotek First Nation and We'koqma'q First Nation will both be using a hybrid teaching model.   CBC (NS)

Lake Babine signs landmark agreement with Canada, BC

Lake Babine Nation and the Governments of Canada and British Columbia have signed a landmark reconciliation agreement that sets the foundation for a 20-year journey to implement and recognize Lake Babine Nation rights and title. The agreement provides immediate land and financial benefits while setting the stage for further agreements, such as self-government. “For the first time in our history, Lake Babine Nation and the governments of BC and Canada are walking together. The Foundation Agreement provides real immediate benefits today for our Nation and its members," said Chief Gordon Alec. “I’m thankful to the Chiefs before me who have gotten us here.” Among the many benefits of the agreement, the Nation will receive funding to support and strengthen social program delivery in areas such as education and language, child and family services, and justice programs. The government will work with Lake Babine to see the First Nation assume direct control and responsibility for service delivery jurisdiction.   Canada | BC (Canada)

Gabriel Dumont receives $3.2M for ABE, ESWP

Gabriel Dumont Institute has received $3.2M in funding from the Government of Saskatchewan, enabling the college to deliver a variety of education and skills training programs. The institution, which delivers programs and services for Métis students across the province, will use the funding to deliver programs such as Adult Basic Education (ABE), Essential Skills for the Workplace (ESWP), and Skills Training Allocation. “The funding we receive from the provincial government allows us to bring community-based, cultural relevant certificate training to the Métis community throughout Saskatchewan,” Gabriel Dumont Technical Institute Director Brett Vandale said. “The training provides our community members with the skills and certification necessary to access the labour market within Saskatchewan.”  SK (SK)

Portage receives support for proposed Indigenous Smudging and Cultural Awareness Venue

Portage College’s Lac La Biche campus will soon host an Indigenous Smudging and Cultural Awareness Venue, thanks to a grant from the Canada Infrastructure Plan. Portage states that over 45% of its students enrolled in credit programs self-identify as Indigenous. The cultural venue will provide students and staff a dedicated gathering space for smudge and cultural practices. The venue will also benefit programs such as Aboriginal Teacher Education (offered through a partnership with the University of Alberta), the Aboriginal Art Certificate, and the Artisan Entrepreneurship Diploma, as well as the college’s Museum of Aboriginal Peoples’ Art and Artifacts. “The College recognizes the cultural significance of smudging and views it as an important support to student mental health needs,” said Portage President Nancy Broadbent. “Portage looks forward to building this impactful new venue and greatly appreciates the support from the governments of Canada and Alberta.”   Portage (AB)

MB First Nation calls on federal government for safe space for students

The Tataskweyak Cree Nation, locating in the north of Manitoba, is calling on the federal government to provide a safe space for their students to learn after the school’s roof collapsed in March. "If ISC or the government cannot meet our needs in regards to giving our students a school or something temporarily to accommodate classrooms, we're going to have to announce a state of emergency," said Tataskweyak Cree Nation councillor Nathan Neckoway. "It's not a safe facility for our students to go to school.” The school was set to start the year on Sept 21st with the tentative plan of splitting the school across three locations: The band hall, portable classrooms, and the University College of the North’s campus. However, CBC reports that the band hall has limited space and that temporary solutions like portable classrooms can put First Nations at the “bottom of the list” for government infrastructure projects. CBC (MB)

NND, Carleton sign MOU focused on Indigenous and Northern studies, education, research, access

Carleton University and the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun (NND) have signed a MOU that will see the two parties collaborate on Indigenous and Northern studies, postsecondary education, research, and access for learners. NND will lead the choice of areas of research, the choice of researchers, involve local people, and be a repository for the research results. The partnership will draw on both traditional Indigenous knowledge and non-Indigenous knowledge to inform and enrich research and taeching. “Today, we celebrate a partnership that will promote the advancement of higher education, research, and training in ways that are beneficial to us, our students and the university,” said NND Chief Simon Mervyn. “Together, we will build educational and training opportunities that reflect our culture, language and knowledge.” Carleton (ON)

UCN instructors create Swampy Cree textbook

Faculty members at the University College of the North have collaborated on a Cree language textbook called mâci-nêyinowêwin omaskēkōmowakohci Beginning Cree for Swampy Cree Speakers. UCN instructor Eileen McKay Thomas, who teaches the Swampy Cree dialect, worked with long time Cree language educator and First Nations University Associate Professor Solomon Ratt and UCN Associate Professor Ying Kong to create the textbook. “First and foremost, I wanted to do this book to honor my professor Solomon Ratt,” said McKay Thomas. “He has been the key to my higher learning of our language. Having this text published and available for future generations of Swampy Cree teachers and speakers will increase retention of the language, something critically important for our people.” Swampy Cree speaker and local artist Ricky Hamilton, who is a relative of McKay Thomas, was commissioned to design the cover art and UCN student Elizabeth Tritthart contributed as a research assistant. The textbook will be published by the University Regina Press in the near future. UCN (MB)

Kiuna, SPU announcing new DEC-BAC option for graduates

Saint Paul University and the Kiuna Institution have partnered to provide a new DEC-BAC pathway for students. Through the pathway, graduates of Kiuna’s First Nations Social Science program will have the opportunity to obtain a Honours Bachelor of Arts in Social Innovation from the university. “We are very excited to be partnering with Kiuna on this new credit transfer agreement,” said SPU Rector Chantal Beauvais. “This partnership marks an important milestone as our institutions work together to support Indigenous students in their academic pursuits and future aspirations.” The institutions state that they are joining forces to foster excellence in education, provide hands-on learning opportunities, increase access to French- and English-language postsecondary programs, and ensure academic mobility. The partners will celebrate the partnership later this year when SPU opens its new Indigneous student centre. SPU (ON | QC)

Muskeg Lake Cree Nation uses land-based education as part of COVID-19 prevention plan

In addition to touchless hand sanitizer stations, individual desk shields, and floor markings to maintain physical distancing, Muskeg Lake Cree Nation’s Kihiw Waciston (Eagle's Nest) School is using the outdoors to fight against the spread of COVID-19. Elementary students are spending part of their day at their desks, while the rest is spent on the playground, on sports fields, in the community apple orchards, and at a nearby cultural camp that is dedicated to land-based education. "Classroom work is useful, (but) when we teach kids how to survive in the bush, they feel independent, successful,” explained Kihiw Waciston Teacher Alexander Tawpisim. “Not many people see the whole process of where their food comes from." The Nation states that it has not had a single case of the virus in the community and that it is working hard to keep it that way. CBC (SK)