Indigenous Top Ten

February 24, 2021

FPPSE combines storytelling, filmmaking for inclusive learning

A new initiative called the First Peoples Post-secondary Storytelling Exchange is combining different forms of storytelling and filmmaking in order to create a more responsive postsecondary education for Indigenous students in Quebec. Researchers contacted more than 100 people from over 20 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities who shared their stories about education and learning. Participants shared information on topics such as experiences at Canadian postsecondary institutions, the Sixties Scoop, the significance of Indigenous hunting practices, and tokenism by non-Indigenous teachers in the classroom. FPPSE Principal Investigator Michelle Smith explained that the research team was seeing themes such as differences in education outcomes for Indigenous students, systemic barriers, a lack of visibility and presence of Indigenous experiences in colleges. “Students who are going into post-secondary education should not have to choose between engaging with Western knowledge systems whilst pursuing post-secondary, and learning their own culture and knowledge,” said Smith. FPPSE | The Link Newspaper | Dawson College (National)

CBE receives calls for progress, change to school name

The Calgary Board of Education trustees recently voted to accept a report from administration that identified gaps in achievement and graduation rates for Indigenous students. The report states that there are gaps in graduation rates, improvement measures, and achivement measures between the provincial results and CBE “I ask the CBE when they look at their report of how they are failing Indigenous students, that they do some self-reflection and that they consider some of the changes that we have brought to the table over the course of decades, not just today,” said Michelle Robinson, an Indigenous parent who chose to pull her daughter from CBE. CBC also reports that current and former students are calling for a new name for CBE’s Langevin School, which is named after one of the men behind Canada’s residential school system. An action group has presented their case to the Langevin school council, which in turn has agreed to keep it in their agenda. A recent trustees’ public meeting saw parents, advocates, and members of the public express that the board has failed to improve Indigenous students’ outcomes and calls for the school’s name to be changed as a necessary first step CBC (1) | CBC (2) (AB )

Special advisors appointed to examine Indigenous education in School District 57

The Government of British Columbia’s Ministry of Education has appointed special advisors to investigate how education is delivered to Indigenous students in School District 57. SD57 recently faced criticism and calls for an audit from the Lheidli T’enneh Nation and McLeod Lake Indian Band due to concerns about transparency and graduation rates among their youth. “I really hope this gets the relationship better and I hope they maybe actually look at some of the problems that have been going on and I really hope they fix it,” said Lheidli T’enneh Nation Dayi Clayton Pountney. “That’s what has to happen, they have to make this better.” The review will be led by Kory Wilson of the British Columbia Institute of Technology and Catherine McGregor of the University of Victoria, who both “have extensive expertise in Indigenous education and relations, as well as educational leadership and effectiveness,” according to the BC Ministry. “It’s important that any decision by the Province be informed by Indigenous perspectives,” stated Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside, “particularly given the significant number of Indigenous students enrolled in the district.” Prince George Citizen (BC)

Authentically engaging in reconciliation: Opinion

Postsecondary educators need to face reconciliation with humility and courage in order to authentically engage with it, writes Kory Wilson, Kwakwaka’wakw woman and Executive Director of Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. “To ensure systemic change,” explains Wilson, “we must have the courage to engage in uncomfortable conversations with ourselves and in every classroom, boardroom, library, breakout room and theatre within the post-secondary system.” The author explores how truth starts in self-awareness and understanding one’s own bias and privilege. Wilson then goes on to discuss the work that BCIT has done to address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and the Indigenous Education Protocol for Colleges and Institutes Canada. “Consider what you can do to make your part of the world better, partner in reconciliation, and seek a world where all voices are heard, honoured, valued and incorporated,” writes Wilson. BCIT (BC)

Students across Canada take part in Have a Heart Day

Students across Canada recently took part in Have a Heart Day, a reconciliation event where students learn about Jordan’s Principle and First Nations equity. “What is so beautiful about this to me is how quickly kids understand fairness and equity,” said Kelli Wiebe, Indigenous students success coordinator at Winnipeg-based Chancellor School. “They get it and they really do have a heart and understand what justice is, and it’s really about getting them to use their voice.” In Ontario, Journey Middle School Grade 7 students have created poems, letters, cards, art, and more that will be sent to both the Attawapiskat First Nation and the federal government. In British Columbia, Sparwood kindergarten students learned about Have a Heart Day and decorated town hall with ice ornaments they created to commemorate the day. “It was a way we could show our support locally, said Frank J Mitchell Elementary School Aboriginal education support worker Jennifer Hutchinson. “The students did an amazing job despite the cold weather and were happy to be outside.” CBC | Sooke News Mirror | Free Press (Sparwood) (National)

BCI releases report on actions taken by QC universities to welcome Indigenous students

The Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire (BCI) has released a report on the ways that Quebec universities have made postsecondary education more accessible for First Nations members. The report describes the performance of each of the province’s 19 universities in the areas of governance, education, student experience, research, and services to the community. The report found that many universities have Indigenous people present in research activities, offer Indigenous studies and language programs, and promote a welcoming environment. “We wanted to know where we were starting from,” said BCI leader Johanne Jean. “This portrait allows us to be inspired by what others do. There are great initiatives in all university establishments.” CTV News (QC)

Lakehead, Confederation, Canadore sign MOU to support Indigenous transfer students

Lakehead University, Confederation College, Canadore College, and the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) are collaborating to streamline the transfer process for Indigenous students and strengthen transfer student retention. The MOU will see the institutions working together to establish internal and external working groups and a seamless transfer agreement for Indigenous students. “Lakehead University’s commitment to social responsibility recognizes the importance of our role as a regional university in making a difference to all the communities we serve,” said Lakehead President Dr Moira McPherson. “This MOU further demonstrates our continuing and collective commitment to encouraging and facilitating education opportunities for Indigenous learners.” Lakehead | Confederation (ON)

MNBC announces $250K investment in new wellbeing program

Métis Nation BC marked Family Day with the announcement of a new Miyoopimatishihk (Wellbeing) Program, which is said to be the first of several early years programs launched this year which will be funded by MNBC’s Ministry of Education. The program will focus on the unmet needs of Métis families with children eight years old and younger. “Unfortunately, many inequities exist for Métis families, such as a lack of access to mental health supports, educational supports, speech therapy, medical equipment and assessments, and these inequities negatively impact childhood development as well as educational outcomes,” said Debra Fisher, MNBC Minister of Education. “We’re proud to unveil a program that was created by listening to Métis families with young children and putting their words into actions. This is for them.” Nation Talk (BC)

Universities launch new programs in Indigenous governance, law, entrepreneurship

Several universities in Canada recently launched new programs focused on Indigenous topics. Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue’s École d’études autochtones has announced the launch of a certificate in Indigenous governance. The certificat en gouvernance autochtone is geared toward meeting the needs of Indigenous people who are interested in deepening their knowledge in areas such as Indigenous leadership, communication, and policy. Dalhousie University has launched a juris doctor certificate in Aboriginal and Indigenous law. Through the specialization, students will take courses on topics such as interactions between federal and provincial laws and Indigenous people, section 35 of Canada’s Constitution, and Indigenous legal orders. The University of Waterloo has announced the launch of the Indigenous Entrepreneurship training program for Indigenous youth and their communities, which will be hosted by St Paul’s University College. The four-month program will act as a pilot program for the entrepreneurial work-integrated learning component of an Indigenous Entrepreneurship minor that is expected to begin Fall 2021. UQAT | CBC (Dal) | Kitchener Today (UWaterloo) (QC | NS | ON  )

Kiuna Institute celebrates satellite classrooms

The Kiuna Institute has proudly announced the implementation of satellite classrooms in several regions that are expected to be fully functional by Fall 2021. Each classroom is equipped with cutting-edge technology and services, including computer equipment, technical support, a language development centre, supervised study sessions, and family and childhood services. The project aims to create an environment in which Kiuna students can pursue their postsecondary studies and continue to thrive through distance learning in their own communities. Kiuna team members will be travelling between the locations and establishing a personal connection with the students in order to create a sense of community. Nation Talk (ON)