Indigenous Top Ten

November 3, 2021

BC announces legislative changes to allow First Nations jurisdiction to certify, regulate teachers

The Government of British Columbia has announced legislative changes that will allow First Nations participating in BC’s education jurisdiction initiative to certify and regulate teachers who are working in schools under their jurisdiction. The new legislation will also change the British Columbia Teachers’ Council’s composition to ensure that the First Nations Education Authority is represented on the council. “The BC First Nations education jurisdiction initiative, including our ability to certify and regulate teachers who we know are the right fit for our schools and students, is a true reflection of First Nations control of First Nations education – which we have been advancing for decades,” said Hugh Braker of the Tseshaht First Nation. BC (BC)

Western announces new Indigenous Learning Centre

Western University has announced that it is building a new Indigenous Learning Centre which is slated to open in Spring 2022. The centre, which will be built in Western’s Faculty of Education building, will include spaces such as an Indigenous medicine garden, study lounges, computer labs, a kitchen, media studio, and classroom space. It will offer a variety of cultural programming, knowledge sharing, and other events. “We hope that students who are not Indigenous will recognize how valuable those opportunities can be,” said Western University’s Office of Indigenous Initiatives’ community relations and space coordinator Paula Cornelius-Hedgepeth. “By learning about the histories and cultures of the first peoples to inhabit this land, students at Western can gain exposure to worldviews they have never encountered before.” Western (ON)

QC compulsory course receives criticism for lack of consultation, “nationalist ideology”

The Government of Quebec’s new compulsory Quebec Citizenship and Culture program for elementary and high school students has been panned as a “step backward, rooted in ‘nationalist ideology,’ that was prepared without significant consultation with First Nations,” according to CBC. The course was developed to replace an ethics and religion course and teach learners about Quebec’s cultural legacy, including First Nations and Inuit culture. First Nations political and educational organizations such as the First Nations Education Council and Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador have called on QC to change the proposed course title and to allow Indigenous organizations to be the “master builders” of the course’s proposed Indigenous unit. “We want the content to be done and written by the First Nations and Inuit communities and experts so that it truly reflects who we are today,” said FNEC Director Denis Gros-Louis. APTN News reports that the course is expected to be taught in schools as part of a voluntary pilot project in Fall 2022. CBC | APTN News (QC)

MMF opens new childcare facility in Dauphin

The Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) has opened a new childcare facility that will provide culturally focused education to Red River Métis children in Dauphin. The centre will provide space for 8 infants, 42 toddlers and preschoolers, and 15 school-age children and will offer land-based learning field trips, complimentary transportation, and culturally appropriate meals. An outdoor play space will be built in the upcoming months. The centre will also offer parenting programs to support parents. “Language is going to be taught, Indigenous languages,” said MMF President David Chartrand. “Land-based knowledge is going to be attached to it where we’re using our elders to take them on trips to understand the environment … so we’re going to start teaching them at a young age about the importance of the land, the basic importance of the environment, (and) water.” Nation Talk | Global News (MB)

UWinnipeg, Queen’s, NorQuest, UWindsor launch new financial supports for Indigenous students

Several postsecondary institutions in Canada have recently launched new financial supports and scholarships to support Indigenous students. The University of Winnipeg and the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) has announced the creation of the Dr Annette Trimbee Indigenous Excellence Scholarships, which will provide up to $10K per year to outstanding Red River Métis, First Nations, or Inuit students who are continuing their undergraduate education. Queen’s University has received a $1M endowment that will support the STEM:InA program, which aims to create a strong community for Indigenous students in STEM undergraduate degree programs. NorQuest College has partnered with Accelerate Her Future (AHF) to provide Black, Indigenous and women of colour (BIWOC) students with increased network building. The University of Windsor has announced the Tepperman Family Graduate Scholarship for Indigenous Peoples, which will award two full scholarships annually to qualifying students in Masters and PhD programs. UWinnipeg | Queen’s | NorQuest | Windsor Star (National)

StatCan releases study on educational attainments, labour market outcomes for Indigenous women

Statistics Canada has released a new study on attainments and labour market outcomes of First Nations, Métis and Inuit women with bachelor’s degrees or higher. The study found that over half of Indigenous women possessed a postsecondary qualification in 2016, and that 14% had a bachelor’s degree or higher (up from 9% in 2006). Postsecondary qualifications at or above the bachelor’s degree level were found to be associated with higher rates of employment: 92% of Indigenous women who graduated with a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2015 were employed, as opposed to 78% of women with postsecondary credentials below the bachelor’s level. StatCan (National)

Northern Alberta, Ontario communities celebrate first graduating classes

Driftpile Cree Nation is celebrating its first graduating class in over two-decades and the return of high school classes to the community. The community, which is located in northern Alberta, previously offered high school level classes but discontinued them due to a drop in enrolment. The pandemic made it a priority to bring these classes back into the community so that students would not have to travel for classes, and to provide more opportunities for students to learn traditional knowledge. Several people came out to celebrate the two first students to graduate from Driftpile’s high school program. In Northern Ontario, Northern College, Keepers of the Circle, and Wahshtaywin hosted a ceremony to celebrate the students who graduated from the seven-week Land Based Healing project. The students are the first cohort to complete the program, which covers topics such as basic carpentry skills, ceremonies, and cultural activities. CBC | Nation Talk (AB | ON)

UNBC Timberwolves, CMU Blazers debut new logos, jerseys designed by Indigenous artists

The University of Northern British Columbia’s Timberwolves and the Canadian Mennonite University’s Blazers debuted new jerseys and imagery that were designed by Indigenous artists. The UNBC Timberwolves unveiled an alternate logo and jersey designed by Gitxsan artist Trevor Angus. The jerseys feature an additional wolf design under the main logo, Indigenous piping, and the university’s motto in Dakelh on the shoulders. UNBC is reportedly the first Canadian institution to have their university athletic program use a completely Indigenous-designed logo. The CMU Blazers are wearing Treaty One inspired uniforms that were designed by indigenous artist Amber Green. The uniforms feature floral patterns, along with words and symbols connected to the treaty. “By wearing these uniforms, we seek to honour treaty and the first peoples of these lands,” said CMU Athletics Director Russell Willms, “and it is our hope that these uniforms will help facilitate meaningful dialogue.” CBC (UNBC) | CMU (BC | MB)

Ojibwe Language teacher provides a lesson in traditional Indigenous math

Algoma District School Board Ojibwe Language teacher Bryan Bellefeuille recently shared a virtual lesson for 6-to-12-year-old youth about traditional Indigenous math. Bellefeuille, who is a member of the Nipissing First Nation, talked about the way the various fields of mathematics are used in traditional settings to measure trees, set up tiipiis with adequate airflow, and weave baskets to a particular volume and capacity. “There were purposes behind our things. We constructed them and engineered them with purpose. Because of that, we did math, we just never articulated it as such,” explained Bellefeuille. “Designing and gathering of the ash strips for baskets is a complex process that is not only labour intensive, but is knowledge skill intensive as well. That’s really where the science comes in.” Anishinabek News | OSC Youtube (Lesson) (ON)

Schools, institutions share resources, host events related to treaty recognition

Several schools, First Nations, and organizations have launched new initiatives, shared resources, or launched events in recognition of Treaties Recognition Week in Ontario. Centennial College has shared resources, announced events, and encouraged its community to take time to learn, reflect, and honour their commitment to the Mississaugas of the Credit and members of other Indigenous Nations that call the area home. Lakehead University has announced that it will be hosting daily events throughout Treaties Recognition Week, including talks from speakers such as Anishinaabe lawyer Nicole Richmond and University of Victoria Associate Professor Dr Gina Starblanket. The Nishnawbe Aski Nation launched a Treaty educational video that educates the public about Treaty relationships and dispels commonly held myths about Indigenous Peoples. The Anishinabek Nation has celebrated the week with the launch of a new elementary treaty education resource: Ezhi-nawending: How We Are Related. A similar resource for secondary students is expected to come available next spring. Centennial | Orillia Matters (Lakehead) | Nation Talk (NAN) | Anishinabek (ON)