Indigenous Top Ten

October 7, 2020

Bilingual kindergarten class including Michif starts in Saskatoon

St Michael’s Elementary School in Saskatoon, home to the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools Core Michif Language Program, has launched a new bilingual Michif Kindergarten class. “We really want to make sure we’re growing the Michif language and Michif culture,” says Principal Cristin Dorgan Lee. “By having that housed here at our school we have opportunity to revitalize the language and celebrate the Métis culture.” Over the past five years, the school has focused on Métis teachings and culture with the intention of helping a new generation of language speakers revive the language. “As a Métis woman it makes me very proud to speak my language to speak the language in the classroom with the kindergarteners and I can see it already even though we’ve only been here for two weeks with these little ones,” said language keeper Sandra Laliberte. “They are using the language.” APTN News (SK)

Southern AB postsecondary institutions undertake infrastructure, Indigenous cultural projects

The Government of Canada and Government of Alberta, with the support of municipalities and postsecondary institutions, will be providing more than $52.7M in funding toward infrastructure projects in southern Alberta. The funds will go toward the rebuilding of Red Crow Community College’s main campus, renovations and expansions at Medicine Hat College that will include an Indigenous gathering space, and cultural and administrative spaces at the University of Lethbridge. Funds will also be directed toward a French language cultural centre project in Calgary. Medicine Hat News | Lethbridge Herald | AB (AB)

Indspire releases joint study on Indigenous employment, receives donation from Scotiabank 

A joint study released by Indspire and the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) has revealed a number of important findings about the state of Indigenous postsecondary graduates’ entrepreneurship, job satisfaction, and labour market outcomes. The research was based on a representative sample from Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures program for Indigenous postsecondary students. “This report begins to address the lack of data on Indigenous entrepreneurship and educational success,” said Indspire President Roberta Jamieson. “Through leveraging our data and respective mandates, we can continue to produce new proprietary research aimed at shaping the actions of businesses, organizations, and governments in Canada to better support the educational success, and ultimately, the economic and social wellbeing of Indigenous peoples.” Indspire also recently received a $600K donation from Scotiabank in support of financial and culturally relevant teaching, as well as access to networking, coaching, and mentoring. NationTalk reports that the donation is intended to increase economic sustainability and prosperity, and ensure a smooth transition into postsecondary education and the work force. Indspire | Indspire (Report) | NationTalk (National)

MMF launches homeschooling initiative supports  

The Manitoba Métis Federation has officially launched a homeschooling initiative to support Métis parents as they homeschool their children. “We do not want parents to feel obligated to send their children to school simply because they do not have access to the resources necessary to effectively teach their children from home,” said MMF Minister of Education Joan Ledoux. “As the Manitoba Métis Government, it is our responsibility to find ways to support our families who make this difficult decision and ensure that our Métis children do not fall behind when the provincial government fails them.” Eligible citizens will have access to “Food for Thought Hampers,” backpacks filled with school supplies, and access to tutors who can help with homework. Other resources, such as funding for high school students, will also be made available for parents. Nation Talk (MB)

Homalco First Nation invests in forestry courses for Indigenous students 

Homalco First Nation has invested a $196K WorkBC grant to offer a tuition-free forestry trade program for Indigenous students at North Island College. The partnership between NIC and Homalco will provide students with a first step into many entry-level forestry career opportunities, including work as assistant timber cruisers, compassers, and forest field assistants. “This training program is a vital step for Homalco Nation in building capacity to participate in the local forest economy,” said Chief Darren Blaney. “Our territory is home to diverse forest and plant species and balancing stewardship and economic values requires skilled people. I encourage our members to take advantage of this opportunity." Cheryl O’Connell, NIC’s dean of the faculty of trades and technical programs said that the school is thankful for another opportunity to work together. Campbell River Mirror (BC)

ON gives $1.9M to job skills programs in northern Ontario

The Government of Ontario is giving $1.9M from the Skills Catalyst Fund to programs that will help people in northern Ontario develop skills to find better jobs. The investment is focused on initiatives that will help Indigenous people, students, underemployed adults, and other workers in Northern Ontario complete training for new jobs and upgrade their existing skills. Projects and programs receiving the funds include the Shwe Miikaan and Confederation College Construction Trades Training Project, Northern College’s public administration training, and Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute personal support worker training for Indigenous community members. The Sudbury Star | Ontario (ON)

Chisasibi working toward creating a Cree CEGEP

The Cree community of Chisasibi is working toward creating a CEGEP to meet the needs of students who would face challenges moving away from home immediately after graduating from high school. “There are so many barriers to success for First Nation, Métis and Inuit students who leave their communities to attend schools in the South,” said Sarah Pash, chairperson of the Cree School Board. “They face loneliness and isolation. They face culture shock.... They miss family. They lack support, both emotionally and socially. They face systemic racism.” Pash said that all levels of the Cree nation are working toward making the CEGEP and more educational opportunities a possibility. CBC (QC)

Humber, CapU receive donations from Canadian banks for Indigenous education, engagement

Humber College and Capilano University have received donations from Canadian banks in support of Indigenous education and engagement. Humber College received $250K from the Royal Bank of Canada to launch the RBC Grad-Ready Program and RBC Peer-to-Peer Support System. These programs will provide coaching, peer-mentoring, and skills development opportunities for Humber Indigenous students and graduates. CapU received $450K from the TD Bank Group toward the university’s Indigenous Digital Accelerator program to help Indigenous entrepreneurs develop their skills and create jobs. CapU states that the funding comes at a time when Indigenous-led businesses have been hit hard by the economic effects of COVID-19 with approximately 85% experiencing moderate to major impacts to their business model. “Prioritizing funding support for Indigenous business owners has incredible impact for our people,” said Doreen Manuel, director of CapU’s Nat and Flora Bosa Centre for Film and Animation. “The IDA program bridges gaps in digital skills and business training to help Indigenous entrepreneurs break through barriers and succeed in the tech, digital-creative and cultural sectors. Fostering successful Indigenous-led businesses leads to vibrant and healthy Indigenous communities.” Humber | CapU (ON | BC)

NV pledges to support high school graduates, postsecondary students

Nunavut’s government has pledged to provide more support to high school graduates and postsecondary students. MLAs and members of cabinet unanimously agreed that more must be done to support the education and employment of Inuit youth during COVID-19. “Our youth face countless barriers to success. Barriers such as food insecurity, overcrowding, abuse, mental health, as well as limited education and employment opportunities,” said Iqaluit-Manirajak MLA Adam Arreak Lightstone. Lightstone asked NV to create a response plan that would help postsecondary students navigate changes and cancellations to postsecondary programs, travel restrictions, and challenges finding jobs. CBC says around half as many students have applied for Financial Assistance for Nunavut Students this year, and Lightstone says some students have chosen to take a gap year because of COVID-19. CBC (NV)

Landmark agreement supports First Nations postsecondary students

Six postsecondary institutions, six First Nations, and other partners in southwestern Ontario have signed the Post-Secondary Education Collaborative agreement promoting opportunities for First Nations students. The agreement provides a framework and conditions for the parties to work together in helping First Nations students have “a safe and successful post-sec experience,” explained Southern First Nations Secretariat (SFNS) executive director Jennifer Whiteye. The group has so far focused on knowledge-sharing and solidifying relationships, and the next step for the signers will be to develop an action plan. The agreement includes Lambton College, Fanshawe College, St Clair College, triOS College in London, Western University, and the University of Windsor; member nations of the SFNS; and the regional tribal council and the Tecumseh Community Development Corporation at Aamjiwnaang. Anishinabek News (ON)