Indigenous Top Ten

November 18, 2020

UManitoba College of Nursing looks to the bear in renaming education pathway

When the “Aboriginal Nursing Cohort Initiative” at the University of Manitoba College of Nursing outgrew its name, a committee at the university turned to the symbol of a bear to reflect the healing, strength, and courage necessary at the program’s core. The newly named Mahkwa omushki kiim, Pathway to Indigenous Nursing Education (PINE) reflects this as it carries on the work it previously did under the ANCI name. UManitoba explains that the Ojibway part of the name – Mahkwa omushki kiim – means “bear medicine” when translated. “The use of the Indigenous language in our name was very important to us,” added Audrey Richard, PINE student advisor/counsellor. “When I think of the bear, its strength and courage, I feel it reflects the work we do. Our hope is that the students will identify with the spirit of the bear medicine and its teachings while they are with us in PINE and upon graduation in their nursing practice.” UManitoba (MB)

ON announces funding to support First Nation, Métis, Inuit, urban Indigenous education partners

The Government of Ontario has announced it will provide $17M over three years to support First Nation, Métis, Inuit, and urban Indigenous education partners. The funds will support multiple programs, including a program focused on safe transitions and well-being for students from the Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Indigenous students from remote northern communities; a program focused on providing Land-based and Elder Programming for students relocating to larger, urban centres for high school; and advancing the recommendations from the Seven Youth Inquest. The province will also be providing First Nation schools with the PPE required to reopen to their communities at no cost. Nation Talk (ON)

Rainbow Board unveils MSS renovations, including smudge room, sculpture

Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS), a part of the Rainbow District School Board, celebrated the grand unveiling of newly completed renovations at the school. The high school now features a new OneKWE/Kwest sculpture next to the main entrance doors and a smudge room near the lobby. “We have to acknowledge our past, recognize our future and move forward in a good way together,” said RDSB First Nation trustee Linda Debassige (who is also ogimaa-kwe of M’Chigeeng). “Every day is a step in your journey. Every day is a choice you can make for your future. Walk in kindness, compassion, and respect.” While the public will not be able to enjoy the renovations for the foreseeable future, the school’s leadership stated that they hoped they would be able to welcome community members as soon as it was safe to do so. Manitoulin Expositor (ON)

NV criticized for bill amending education act

The Government of Nunavut has passed a bill amending the territory’s education and Inuit language protection acts that The Star says is being called a form of cultural genocide. The original Education Act guaranteed bilingual education in Inuktut and English at all grade levels by the 2019-2020 school year, but amendments that passed the third reading will see Inuktut phased in as the language of instruction over the next 20 years. Legislators stated that the amendments set “achievable and realistic” timelines for Inuktut to eventually be the language of instruction in schools across the territory. However, the act has received criticism. Nunavut Tunngavik acting president James Eetoolook expressed concern that “the Inuktut language and culture are being eliminated in the schools of Nunavut” and further added that the legislation does not address teacher employment. “There are strong expectations from Nunavummiut in this area and there is a very real fear of language loss and the feeling that we are running out of time,” added MLA John Main. Nunatsiaq News | The Star (NV)

UCalgary launches IRST to ensure research conducted in a good way

The University of Calgary has announced the new Indigenous Research Support Team, which is focused on seeing research undertaken in “a good way” in Indigenous communities and on Indigenous lands. The IRST will act as a touch point for Indigenous communities, entities, and organizations to gather information. The team will also enable the postsecondary institution to “pursue Indigenous research in a reciprocal and responsible way.” “Building trust and that relational work is a hard thing to really navigate,” said Amber Bedard, who is lead for IRST and a member of the Piikani First Nation. “I think it’s really important to acknowledge the history that research has had and the legacy that research has had in our communities and the negative interactions we’ve had. Indigenous people within the institution and externally through government channels, we’ve been studied and not in a good way. It’s been often one-sided, this conversation. So within this framework we understand these tensions.” The team is a three-year pilot program that will have protocols and guidelines developed with Elders and a circle of advisors. UCalgary | The Star (AB)

MtA, TNEGI partner to improve opportunities for Indigenous students

Mount Allison University has partnered with the Three Nations Education Group Inc (TNEGI) through a MOU that will improve educational opportunities for First Nations students. The partnership will enable MtA and TNEGI to plan, develop, and implement strategies to support Indigenous youth through educational opportunities and community-based projects. “Mount Allison is honoured to begin this new partnership with the Three Nations Education Group through the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding,” says MtA President Jean-Paul Boudreau. “As an institution, we recognize that reconciliation can only be truly achieved in partnership with our First Nations communities. I look forward to seeing the creation of the Institute as well as future projects and initiatives from this collaboration.” MtA (NB)

Lethbridge, Enel Green Power partner to provide wind turbine training for Indigenous students

Lethbridge College and Enel Green Power have partnered to train students from the Piikani Nation in southern Alberta in wind energy through Lethbridge’s Wind Turbine Technician program. The collaboration will see the two parties work together to support Lethbridge’s Indigenous Circle of Services programming, create student awards, and develop experiential learning opportunities for Piikani Nation learners. Students participate in a variety of experiential opportunities, including safety training, the opportunity to build and test wind turbines in Lethbridge’s wind tunnel, and VR experiences. “We appreciate the efforts of Enel and the Lethbridge College Wind Turbine Technician program for supporting our Piikani Nation students,” said Doane Crow Shoe, Piikani Nation Councillor. “We will continue to support the efforts in which our members will learn and promote renewable energy.” Lethbridge Herald | Nation Talk (AB)

SD57 votes in favour of two Indigenous representatives, launches committee

School Board 57 in northern British Columbia has announced its support for the election of two Indigenous Trustees to the board. The decision comes after the Lheidli T’enneh Nation Chief Dayi Clay Pountney asked for one trustee be elected from Lheidli T’enneh in May and Mcleod Lake Indian Band Chief Harley Chingee asked for a trustee to represent Mcleod Lake. My Prince George Now states that the board cannot decide whether the appointment will move forward, but that they can decide whether to show support for the change. SD 57 has also launched a committee to identify what the district can do to implement the recommendations of the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission and UN declaration for the rights of Indigenous people. My Prince George Now | Prince George Citizen (BC)

Northern College signs MOU to improve Porcupine Lake ecosystem

Northern College, the City of Timmins, and The Friends of the Porcupine River Watershed have signed a MOU to improve the environmental conditions around Porcupine Lake. The five-year partnership will see an increase in a variety of environmental activities and plans, including community-based workshops, fish and wildlife counts, and the planting of a memorial garden and an Indigenous sacred garden. “Seeing the ways in which we can work together with the teachings of those both here now and before us to improve the circumstances of this lake and the watershed it feeds will be intrinsic to continued wellness being sought in all that we do here at Northern,” stated Lillian Trapper, Chair of the Northern College Indigenous Council on Education (NCICE). Northern College (ON)

Whitehorse program lets children learn to filet fish, dry meat at “mini salmon camp”

A new First Nation school program offered through the Yukon First Nation Education Directorate is enabling students to take part in a “mini salmon camp” where they learn to fillet fish and make dry meat. The students also make bannock and take smoked salmon home with them. “The goal is for the kids to be able to have the experience of seeing what it would be like to do a traditional salmon camp,” said Rebecca Bradford-Andrew, team lead for the directorate’s education advocates. “The idea is that they all get an opportunity to eat some traditional foods … it’s just a chance to introduce them to their traditional foods and for us to be able to deliver that.” CBC (NWT)