Indigenous Top Ten

September 8, 2021

Ryerson Board accepts all Standing Strong Task Force Recommendations, including renaming

The Standing Strong (Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win) Task Force’s final report has been presented to Ryerson University’s Board of Governors, and the Board has approved a motion to accept all 22 recommendations. These recommendations include renaming the university, sharing materials that recognize Egerton Ryerson’s legacy, increasing supports for Indigenous and Black scholarship, and providing more opportunities to learn about Indigenous history. The university will be announcing its next steps in the days to come, and has committed to developing an action plan by January 2022. In an editorial for The Star, historian Grandmother Renee Thomas-Hill of the Six Nations of the Grand River wrote that the name change brought relief. “It feels like a prophecy: we were told this day would come,” said Thomas-Hill. “The truth will be known. And with the truth being known, the people will become awake and will make changes.” Ryerson | Ryerson | The Star (ON)

Dechinta Centre launches on-the-land program for high school students

The Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning will be offering an on-the-land program for high school students from Tuktoyaktuk, NWT. Dechinta, which is known for being a “bush university,” will use land-based programming to teach students university-accredited courses. Participants will receive class credit while completing three weeks of land-based learning and discussing topics such as climate change, Inuvialuit history, and more. Dechinta Executive Director Kelsey Wrightson said that they wanted programming that “really demonstrates what it means to invest in a knowledge economy that supports northern Indigenous brilliance.” Noel Cockney, Dechinta’s regional programmer for the Mackenzie Delta region, explained that the program is intended to teach youth that skills for their futures can be learned outside of the classroom, and that “education isn’t either all hard or bad as people make it seem.” CBC (NWT)

New complex for Indigenous students to be built in Sept-Îles

A new complex providing affordable housing and communal spaces for Indigenous students will be built in Sept-Îles. The complex, which has received $13.4M from the Government of Quebec and $6.1M from the federal government, will include 30 affordable dwellings, common areas, collaborative spaces, a shared kitchen, and areas for games and Indigenous cultural activities. The complex aims to provide Indigenous students with a supportive environment in which to complete their postsecondary studies. “For Indigenous peoples, self-determination involves governing ourselves and freely making the most of our opportunities for economic, political, social and cultural development,” said Tanya Sirois, VP of the Société immobilière du Regroupement des centres d’amitié autochtones du Québec. “This investment confirms once again that we are a vital economic and social force. Furthermore, the project will boost the economic vitality of Sept-Îles and bring peoples closer together.” Nation Talk | Montreal Gazette (QC)

Special advisers uncover evidence of systemic racism in Prince George school board

The special advisers appointed by the Government of British Columbia have uncovered evidence of systemic racism within the Prince George school board, reports CBC. Special advisers Kory Wilson and Catherine McGregor released a report that explained that “we heard many examples of behaviours and practices that are clearly discriminatory and systemically racist.” Issues included alterative programs being used as “a ‘holding tank’ for Indigenous kids,” questions around the school board’s use of technology funding, and Indigenous children not being allowed to progress to full-day kindergarten. Indigenous staff and students also commented on the atmosphere of discrimination in the school system. “I walk into a school, my chest tightens,” said one person, while another reported overhearing someone complaining about having to “hang up that stupid flag” in reference to a First Nations flag. “Though some will argue it is not intentional the outcomes have disproportionate effects on Indigenous students and can only be explained as such,” wrote the advisers. CBC | The Globe and Mail | Global News (BC)

Mitacs renews Indigenous Pathways initiative

Mitacs has announced that it has renewed the Indigenous Pathways initiative, which helps reduce the cost of collaborations between Indigenous partner organizations and academia. Through the initiative, eligible organizations will only need to contribute 25% of a project’s costs when an Indigenous partner organization and/or intern is involved. Businesses that are at least 50% owned by an Indigenous owner or that have a selected intern who self-identifies as Indigenous are eligible for the funding, and non-profits are eligible if their board of directors is at least 50% Indigenous or if their mandate is Indigenous-focused. “With the renewal of Indigenous Pathways, Mitacs is committed to legitimizing Indigenous knowledge systems, creating spaces, and providing equitable access for Indigenous researchers, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations to thrive in the innovation ecosystem,” said Candice Loring, Mitacs Director of Business Development Indigenous Community Engagement. Nation Talk (National)

USask, Wanuskewin renew MOU to support Indigenous education, growth and development

The University of Saskatchewan has signed a three-year agreement renewing a partnership with the Wanuskewin Heritage Park Authority (Wanuskewin). Through the MOU, USask and Wanuskewin will collaborate on cultural resources, outreach programming, and facility usage as they support Indigenous education and find mutual growth and development opportunities. “By building partnerships in connection to cultural and educational resources we, in turn, are strengthening our community,” said Wanuskewin Heritage Park CEO Darlene Brander. “As we move towards UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) designation, we are proud to have such strong support from our university peers.” Nation Talk (SK)

AGF, Indspire partner to create new scholarship program

AGF Management Limited (AGF) has partnered with Indspire to create a new scholarship program for Indigenous students through Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures program. The AGF Scholarship Fund for Indigenous Students will invest in education through providing students with financial awards, resources, and role models. The fund will support four annual scholarships, which will go to students attending a Business program at a Canadian postsecondary institution. “We are pleased to be working in partnership with AGF on this important initiative,” said Mike DeGagné, President & CEO of Indspire. “These new scholarships will create key avenues for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students to fulfil their business-related aspirations in tangible, meaningful ways.” Nation Talk (National)

Sioux Lookout First Nations students to receive generous donations from RHAC, community

Robin Hood Army Canada (RHAC) has received an outpouring of support after requesting donations to put together care packages for Sioux Lookout First Nations students who leave their communities to attend high school in Thunder Bay. This year, 103 students from the Sioux Lookout First Nations community will be attending Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School. RHAC, which usually organizes a welcome box or care package with items that the school requires students to have, received a greater amount of donations than expected when they put out a call. Multiple organizations, including the Royal Canadian Legion 606, Ahmadiyya Muslims of Durham, the Indo-Canadian Cultural Association of Durham, and the Ajax-Pickering Italian Social Club donated 12,000 school and hygiene items to be used in the care packages. CBC (ON)

Sask Polytech adds to Indigenous visual identity through three designs, plans to observe holiday

Saskatchewan Polytechnic is working with Dakota artist Chantel Yuzicappi to add to its Indigenous visual identity. Yuzicappi has created three designs for Sask Polytech, which will be used to celebrate and share Indigenous culture. “The concept for each piece is developed with the idea of learning and fulfilling a dream of one’s chosen career path,” explained Yuzicappi. “They represent success and hope for future generations.” The designs include a brown buffalo, which represents success and the beauty and educational services of Sask Polytech; a geometric star, which signifies the path of hope and depicts teaching and learning between instructors and students; and a Dakota floral design, signifying the growth and evolution of Sask Polytech students. The institution also recently announced that it would observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as an official holiday. Sask Polytech | Sask Polytech (SK)

MNO launches three programs to support citizens who are pursuing postsecondary education

The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) has announced that it is launching three new programs that will support students pursuing postsecondary education. The first of these, the PSE Tutoring Support program, was created by MNO through a partnership with the global tutoring platform Tutor Ocean. The program will enable MNO citizens to access qualified tutors to assist them as they complete their postsecondary education. The second program, the PSE Travel Support program, will provide one time funding to help cover travel costs for students who have to travel significant distances to attend postsecondary institutions. The third program, the PSE Navigator Support program, will support students as they navigate services from MNO and postsecondary institutions, and will assist students who are in crisis. Nation Talk (ON)