Indigenous Top Ten

November 4, 2020

ON school boards, PSE commemorate Treaties Recognition Week

Several school boards and postsecondary institutions in Ontario have shared the ways that they will commemorate the fifth annual Treaties Recognition Week. The Anishinabek Nation has announced that it will be making more educational materials available to teachers and students online. Lambton Kent District School Board will be joining school boards across Ontario in commemorating Treaties Recognition Week by promoting education and awareness about treaty rights and treaty relationships. LKDSB will be focused on increasing awareness and understanding of Wampum Belts. District School Board Ontario North East (DSB1) has provided teachers resources and the Promises, Promises game to use within the classroom. DSB1 has also partnered with Northern College to cohost a presentation by Senator Murray Sinclair. The Northeastern Catholic District School Board has stated that their staff and students will learn about the history of treaties, contributions, and Indigenous people’s perspectives through classroom lessons, activities, and guest speakers. The Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre will be providing schools throughout the Bruce and Grey Counties with video segments, virtual exploration activities, and other resources to learn about the treaties that govern the county. Sudbury Star (Anishinabek) | LKDSB | Timmons Today (DSB1, NCDSB) (ON)

NWT launches Indigenous languages curriculum

The Government of Northwest Territories has launched a new Indigenous languages curriculum, named Our Languages, that is designed to address a significant gap in the territory’s education system. According to NWT, the curriculum is intended to ensure “Indigenous languages are heard and spoken throughout schools, at assemblies, and in all Northwest Territories classrooms.” The curriculum is based on students’ attainment of five learning levels by the end of Grade 12 and includes strategies that can be applied in the classroom, such as language play, use of language in technology, language in the community, and connecting with Elders. “This new curriculum is built on the premise that our languages can survive and will thrive when schools and communities join together to make language learning a priority,” said NWT Education Minister RJ Simpson. “Through our shared commitment to language revitalization we will realize our vision of a territory where Indigenous languages are thriving, supported and respected.” Cabin Radio (NWT)

Canada announces additional funds for Indigenous early learning, postsecondary education

The Government of Canada has announced an additional $204M for anti-pandemic measures in Indigenous communities and institutions. The new funds include $120M for early learning and child-care facilities in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities and $25M for Indigenous postsecondary institutions facing increased costs. “Access to safe and culturally relevant early learning and child care is essential to the recovery of Indigenous communities from COVID-19,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “[The funds for postsecondary institutions] will help retain staff, adapt courses for online learning and implement public health and safety measures like additional handwashing stations and safe space barriers.” Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller stated that the pandemic had had a particularly hard impact on children and young people, and that “we must ensure that they get the necessary support to be able to learn and to thrive in a safe environment.” APTN News | CTV News (National)

Concordia UE launches free Cybersecurity course to support Indigenous communities

Concordia University of Edmonton has announced that it will be offering its Fundamentals of Cybersecurity course free of charge to Indigenous peoples and communities in celebration of Cybersecurity Awareness Month. “After many conversations, we identified information technology as an institutional strength and an area that may need more representation, ownership, and control by Indigenous peoples,” said Danielle Powder, Manager of Concordia UE’s Indigenous Knowledge and Research Centre. “Indigenous peoples have always been innovators and we are excited to see what the interest is like for this initiative.” The course takes 20 hours to complete and will be available until December 15th. Concordia UE (AB)

SK First Nations close schools in face of COVID-19

More than 20 Saskatchewan First Nations schools have closed due to concerns about COVID-19, and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations states that it expects to see more closures as case counts rise. “Mornings are all about Zoom and Google Meet,” said Big Island Lake Cree Nation mother of six Julie Sandfly. “They [the children] are actually looking forward to it opening again, and I kind of am, too. Being at home like this is not easy.” Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation Chief Peter Beatty stated that teachers and parents are trying to help students to learn from home, but that lower funding levels and poor internet service makes this difficult. Officials across the province said that some of the schools will be closed for two weeks while others have no set date for reopening. CBC (SK)

NS renews treaty education partnership

The Government of Nova Scotia, Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, and Millbrook First Nation have renewed a MOU that will see children in all NS schools take part in treaty education. The new agreement builds on a five-year agreement that was signed in 2015, and this memorandum has no end date. Through the agreement, the three partners will teach treaty education in all classrooms and grades, and ensure that Nova Scotians and the civil service benefit from education about the treaty relationship. “I’m pleased to see the commitment and work continue for treaty education,” said Millbrook Chief Bob Gloade. “The importance of educating everyone in our shared history is vital for reconciliation to move forward.” NS (NS )

USask professor, Métis partners collaborate on Métis dance, cardiovascular health project

The University of Saskatchewan has collaborated with Métis partners on a $1.1M project that examines how participation in traditional Métis dances can impact cardiovascular health while also contributing mental, cultural, and social benefits. The research aims to narrow the health gap between Métis and non-Indigenous people. Over five years, the research team will assess groups of recreational dancers who take part in three-month courses. They will focus on a variety of health-related aspects, including cardiovascular and mental wellness benefits, and effectiveness in improving cardiovascular disease risk factors. “This intervention tailored to Métis culture and ways of knowing will honour the emergence of Métis worldview, language and culture, and support a practice of reconciliation in research,” said project leader and kinesiology assistant professor Heather Foulds. Nation Talk (SK)

Yellowhead Tribal College, UAlberta collaborate to deliver Indigenous program

Yellowhead Tribal College and the University of Alberta have signed a memorandum of relational understanding focused on a new continuing education program. The two institutions will be co-delivering the Indigenous Community Industry Relations Certificate (ICIR) program, with Yellowhead taking responsibility for the courses that encompass ancestral knowledge of the land and UAlberta delivering courses that contribute to skills in business. “With this partnership, we make a historic move to have Indigenous students surrounded by their culture, Elders supports and Indigenous academics at YTC, while accessing programming from one of the finest universities in the world,” said Chief Tony Alexis of the Nakota Sioux Nation. UAlberta (AB)

Kenjgewin Teg, Nipissing partner to offer classroom assistant diploma

Nipissing University and Kenjgewin Teg have partnered to offer the Indigenous Classroom Assistant Diploma Program (ICADP). The jointly offered program has been designed to train classroom assistants who can support Indigenous students in First Nation and Ontario provincial schools. “This new partnership contributes to our shared goals of advancing and increasing control of Indigenous Education as one of many Calls to Action made by the TRC,” said Stephanie Roy, President of Kenjgewin Teg. “Going forward, our local Mnidoo Mnising and surrounding communities will continue to see more opportunities in our teaching and learning programs for new and current educators, as we continue working together with partners like Nipissing University who support culturally relevant training and education closer to home.” Nipissing (ON)

SIIT Indigenous Practical Nursing Program successfully starts year 2

Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology’s Indigenous Practical Nursing Program has successfully begun the second year of its Indigenous Practical Nursing Program. SIIT says that this program is the first Indigenous Practical Nursing Program in Canada and that it combines traditional Indigenous practices with innovative technologies. “In the current climate, it is important that we empower Indigenous students with the tools to offer quality healthcare that reflects our communities and our citizens traditions and cultures,” said Tavia Laliberte, VP – Academic, SIIT. “For many Indigenous people, health care professionals have been a part of a system of colonialism. This program is trying to break this cycle by offering cultural training lock step with state-of-the-art medical knowledge.” SIIT (SK)