Indigenous Top Ten

October 20, 2021

IBM, NSCC, Mi’kmaw organizations partner on software engineering program for Indigenous high school students

IBM, Nova Scotia Community College, Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, and Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office have partnered on a new program that will allow Indigenous high school students in Cape Breton to graduate from high school with a two-year college diploma in software engineering. The Unama’ki Pathways in Technology, Early College High School (P-TECH) has been launched at Allison Bernard Memorial High School in Eskasoni, and will provide a tuition-free path for students to earn a diploma conferred by NSCC as they gain work experience. Students will benefit from paid internships, industry mentorship, and interviews with IBM after graduation. “This is not just lighting or igniting that spark with our youth, but having a program like this that links into that and keeps that spark alive shows them the pathway,” said Alex Paul of the Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office. CBC | Saltwire (NS)

USudbury, Kenjgewin announce agreement to ensure provision of Indigenous Studies education

The University of Sudbury and Kenjgewin Teg have signed an agreement to ensure the provision of a high-quality education in Indigenous Studies that is managed by and for Indigenous peoples. Under the agreement, USudbury will transfer the intellectual property of certain Indigenous Studies online courses from USudbury to Kenjgewin; and Kenjgewin will open a campus at USudbury and develop further Indigenous studies programming. “This agreement is a gesture of reconciliation by the University of Sudbury with Indigenous peoples,” said Kenjgewin President Stephanie Roy. “It is a concrete, constructive and bold action that goes beyond symbolic gestures and words and recognizes the legitimacy of our communities to manage our education.” Kenjgewin | CBC (ON)

Paqtnkek Education Centre officially opens to provide culturally relevant education for students

The Paqtnkek Education Centre, which will serve students up to grade 3 from the Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation, officially opened on October 15th. The school will provide a welcoming and empathetic environment and a culturally relevant education for students from the community. Students start their day by standing in a circle, smudging, and singing the Mi’kmaq Honour Song. “We do a smudge as a prayer to give thanks for the beautiful day and this opportunity for these kids to grow in an environment that really is going to nourish them as Indigenous people and really connect to who they are as people and to uplift them,” said the school’s principal Danielle Gloade. Tanya Francis, the community’s education director, described how positive it is for students to be using their own language. “To be taught the way we learn and by Mi’kmaw teachers is the best medicine for our students to move forward and be successful and be proud,” said Francis. CBC (NS)

ON institutions honour Indigenous contributions, traditions through initiatives

Several postsecondary institutions across Ontario are honouring Indigenous traditions, contributions, and identity through a variety of initiatives. The Nipissing University Student Union (NUSU) has announced that it has named its boardroom after Dr Muriel Sawyer, Nipissing First Nation Deputy Chief, who had assisted with translating the Student Centre’s signage into Nishnaabemwin. King’s University College held a ceremony to dedicate the Reflection Circle, which provides a location for Indigenous ceremonies and sacred gatherings. The University of Guelph has launched an Indigenous-created “sound-walk,” a recording that guides participants in reflecting on the land they are on. Nation Talk (Nipissing) | UoGuelph | King’s UC (ON)

NTI sues NV over right of students to be educated in Inuktut

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc (NTI) is suing the Government of Nunavut over the right for students to be educated in Inuktut to the same degree that they receive education in English and French, reports CBC. Most students are taught in English and/or French after Grade 4, despite NV passing legislation that would see all grades receiving education in Inuktut by 2019-2020. NTI alleges that NV passed Bill 25 in 2020, which only requires NV to offer an Inuit language course, and that the bill would only see implementation of the course by 2039 for grade 12 students. “This claim is all about discrimination,” said NTI president Aluki Kotierk. “The discrimination based on race and ethnicity and the fact that we are Inuit.” CBC (NV)

CMTN opens new Wii Gyemsiga Siwilaawksat student housing building

Coast Mountain College has announced that its Terrace campus has opened a new student housing building called Wii Gyemsiga Siwilaawksat, which will replace old CMTN housing. The building has 108 student beds, two suites for visitors, and an Elder suite. The building’s design was informed by CMTN’s Indigenous community, and the building includes Indigenous art and a cultural space in addition to amenities such as shared kitchens, collaboration areas, and a computer lab. CMTN has also opened the renovated Spruce Building Library, called Waap Sa’mn. “We know that safe, comfortable and inspiring places to live and study give students a boost when it comes to concentrating on their schoolwork,” said Laurie Waye, interim president, CMTN. “We are so excited to be opening the doors of these exceptional facilities to students this fall.” BC (BC )

Chief Little Pine School students to gain apprenticeship training while constructing tiny homes

Chief Little Pine School, Your Choice Homes (YC Homes), and the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission have partnered on an initiative that will see around 12 students building homes for an Elder’s village. 15-to-18-year-old students will complete their education while helping to construct tiny houses, and will receive distinction for their work. “They will work towards getting an apprenticeship at the end of the program, they get paid and get credit for it,” said Jill Cormier, Executive Administrator for YC Homes. Dignitaries held a Ground Breaking Ceremony with song, prayer, and speakers to mark the beginning of the process. Nation Talk (SK)

Postsecondary institutions, schools unveil new Indigenous logos, projects

Educational institutions across Canada have unveiled new logos and art to recognize Indigenous contributions and Truth and Reconciliation. Bay View High School in Nova Scotia commissioned an eye-catching new mural by Millbrook First Nation artist Alan Syliboy, which has been installed in the lobby of the school. At George Brown College, a new logo for Indigenous Education and Services featuring a star blanket design has been unveiled. Brandon University has commissioned Cree/Métis artist Kevin McKenzie to propose a piece that will use public art to mark the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. St Gregory the Great School in Red Deer has installed two new Indigenous murals that depict the Seven Sacred Teachings and pay tribute to children. The College of New Caledonia has unveiled a new ?Esdilagh logo, which has been placed alongside the logos of other First Nations on CNC’s atrium wall. Saltwire (Bay View) | Nation Talk (George Brown) | BrandonU | Nation Talk (St Gregory) | Nation Talk (CNC) (National)

Concordia, UWinnipeg announce new scholarships, internships for Indigenous students

The University of Winnipeg and the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) has announced the creation of the Dr Annette Trimbee Indigenous Excellence Scholarships to honour Red River Métis Citizen and former university president Dr Annette Trimbee. The scholarships, which are funded through $250K from the MMF and a matching sum from UWinnipeg, will provide up to $10K per year to outstanding Red River Métis, First Nations, or Inuit students who are continuing their undergraduate education. The scholarships are renewable for up to five years. Concordia University has received a $1M gift from the RBC Foundation that will strengthen the institution’s Beat the Odds internships. The internships provide students who are from historically underrepresented backgrounds with experiential learning opportunities. UWinnipeg | Concordia | (QC | MB)

BC schools bear new names reflecting Indigenous teachers, cultures

Several schools in British Columbia have announced new names that reflect the names and legacies of Indigenous teachers and nations in their community. A new school in Abbotsford will be named Irene Kelleher Elementary after the first person of Indigenous descent to earn a BC teaching certificate. Coquitlam’s newest school will honour the Coast Salish people with the name Coast Salish Elementary School. On Vancouver Island, a school that was previously named after a politician who was a vocal supporter of Japanese internment camps and the Indian residential school system will bear a Nuu-chah-nulth name: c̓uumaʕas Tsuma-as Elementary School. Abbotsford News | CBC | Tricity News (Coquitlam) (BC)