Indigenous Top Ten

December 1, 2021

MB launches consultation team to guide redevelopment of education model

The Government of Manitoba has created a consultation team that will guide the redevelopment of the education funding model to ensure sustainable, fair investment of funds. “We need to simplify funding to schools, better support specialized learning needs and create predictability in funding,” said MB Education Minister Cliff Cullen. “There is currently $3 billion spent each year on education and the commissioners were clear that in order to improve educational outcomes for students, the system requires greater financial accountability and sustainability.” The goals of the review include creating a formula that allocates funding to the province’s school divisions; ensuring that the unique needs of Division scolaire franco-manitobaine are accommodated; and developing a stable, predictable, and phased implementation plan to transition to the new formula. The funding model review team will include representatives from First Nations schools, independent schools, parent councils, and others. Nation Talk (MB)

UPEI to develop new faculty for Indigenous studies

The University of Prince Edward Island has announced that it is developing a new faculty for Indigenous studies. The stand-alone faculty will launch next year, and will include mandatory Indigenous history classes for all UPEI students and a four-year applied studies program. The faculty design is based on UPEI’s elder-in-residence Judy Clark’s vision. The development was spearheaded by UPEI’s Indigenous circle of faculty members and takes into account feedback from PEI’s Indigenous community. “Using traditional and contemporary Indigenous knowledge, we will develop generations of successful, respected, influential community members contributing to a better society and world,” said Interim dean Gary Evans. CBC (PEI)

Keewaytinook Internet High School celebrates new high school building

Keewaytinook Internet High School (KiHS) in Mattagami First Nation has received a new prefabricated building for the community’s high school students. The 21 active high school students in the community had previously been studying at the local fire hall because of a lack of a dedicated space for them. “You have 10 firefighters bust into the lobby of our classroom building, getting ready, sirens going,” said KiHS Teacher Ian Vaithilingam. “We had a good view of the firefighters but not always great for learning.” The building is open concept in design, is equipped with air conditioning and heating, and has two washrooms and a kitchen. “It’s a good project. I’m glad it was well accepted by everybody,” said Mattagami Chief Chad Boissoneau, who said that some students find it difficult to finish high school and need to be able to study in the community. “They had friends there. It’s important to be involved in mainstream society if you’re going to work in that area or going to post-secondary.” Timmins Press (ON)

HEC celebrates launch of executive school by and for First Nations, QC shows support

HEC Montréal is celebrating the launch of the École des dirigeants des Premières Nations (EDPN) today. The new school was created by and for First Nations persons, and is powered by HEC’s Executive Education department. It will offer short-term programs in a variety of delivery models taught by HEC Montréal professors and First Nations trainers. Project co-creators Manon Jeannotte and Ken Rock explained that the new school’s vision is to equip Indigenous community leaders to improve socio-economic conditions and drive self-determination. The first version of the program will consist of four models addressing topics such as authentic management and impact in governance. The Government of Quebec also announced its support of the school, including the provision of $10M over five years to ensure the sustainability of the initiative. However, this move drew some frustration from Assemblée des Première nations de Québec-Labrador chief Ghislain Picard, who dismissed the funding as an effort by Premier Legault to polish his image after QC did not make an appearance at a recent summit. HEC | L’actualité | Le lezard | MSN (QC)

More young Nunavummiut learn computer programming skills despite northern internet challenges

Despite barriers to access, more young Nunavummiut are learning computer programming skills through the non-profit organization Pinnguaq. The territory faces major infrastructure challenges, currently relies on a satellite internet network, and many households do not have a home computer. Pinnguaq offers technology workshops to youth and adults where they learn skills such as computer coding, designing video games, and making three-dimensional prints. CBC reports that Nunavut Arctic College is preparing a generalist program that will train students in areas such as networking, programming, hardware, and security. “I think [the college program] is a great opportunity for people looking to get into this field,” said Pinnguaq instructor Ben Westwell, who expressed hope that more Nunavummiut would take an interest in the program. “Without this program, we don’t really have anything in-territory.” CBC (NV)

SK provides $2M to Northern Career Quest for training Indigenous, Métis residents in in-demand skills

The Government of Saskatchewan has announced that it will be working with Northern Career Quest Inc to provide training to Indigenous people for in-demand roles in northern SK. SK has provided approximately $2M in funding for one year to provide 400 Indigenous job seekers with industry-led training programs, employability supports, and employment services. Indigenous and Métis residents of the Prince Albert Grand Council and Meadow Lake Tribal Council regions will also have opportunities to gain training that will help them find or maintain their employment. “We are excited to work with the Government of Saskatchewan on this initiative,” said Northern Career Quest Inc CEO Steve Innes. “This programming expands our previous mandate beyond just the resource sector, enabling us to work with Indigenous folks in more diversified areas of training and employment.” SK (SK)

Schools unveil new names, embark on renaming in honour of Indigenous communities

Several public schools have announced their new names or embarked on a renaming process in order to shed the names of people who harmed the Indigenous community. The Halton District School Board has announced that Makwendam Public School, which means “to remember” in Anishinaabemowin, will be the new name for the now-former Ryerson Public School in Burlington. The Pembina Trails School Division has revealed the new name of one of its elementary schools: Prairie Sunrise School. Three regional schools in the Waterloo Region District School Board have received approval to undergo a renaming process after they were identified by an Ad Hoc School Naming Review Committee. InHalton | The Record (WRDSB) | CBC (PTSD) (ON | MB)

Conestoga, FNUniv, UVic celebrate new, relaunched programs

Several postsecondary institutions in Canada have celebrated the launch or relaunch of programs related to Indigenous values and reconciliation. Conestoga College has launched a micro-credential that will help learners connect teaching practices and Indigenous knowledge. The Awareness of Indigenous Values, Identity and Spirit program will teach learners about the pedagogical impact and relevance of Wampum Belt teaching, traditional medicines, residential schools, and more. First Nations University of Canada has partnered with RBC and Reconciliation Education to create and offer 4 Seasons of Reconciliation. The self-paced online program will offer interactive learning modules on Truth and Reconciliation. The University of Victoria has resumed its Indigenous Governance program, which had its enrolment suspended in 2018 after a third-party review. CBC says that the program has been restructured and is now taught by Indigenous women. “Our hope is for IGov to be positioned again as a leader in the training and intellectual development of Indigenous governance both across Canada and globally,” said faculty member Heidi Stark, who is Ojibwe. Conestoga | Nation Talk (FNUniv) | CBC (UVic) (ON | SK |BC)

NL, NWT launch language revitalization projects

Communities in Newfoundland and Labrador and the Northwest Territories have launched programs to support language acquisition and revitalization. At St Anne’s School in Conne River, NL, students learn Mi’kmaw from kindergarten to grade nine as part of a project to reintroduce the language. Students learn enough Mi’kmaw in the program to continue to practice it on their own, and gain a better understanding of their culture and history with the goal of re-establishing fluency in the community. In NWT, the Government of the Northwest Territories’ Mentor-Apprentice Program (MAP) is offering payment and learning opportunities to increase the number of speakers fluent in Inuvialuktun. Participants in the program are paired with a mentor and spend several hours each week learning the language. “Every time I talk to both my sisters, it’s always in the language. I understand it fluently,” said Susan Peffer, who took part in the MAP along with her sisters. “We’d make it a fun day. We cooked for each other, we ate together, we played a game afterwards, but all using the language.” The program, which is run in partnership with the University of Victoria and Aurora College, evaluates participants at the beginning and end of the program to measure their progress. CBC | RCI Net (NL | NWT)

ULethbridge unveils Mootookakio’ssin website

University of Lethbridge has unveiled its new Mootookakio’ssin website, which creates a bridge connecting Blackfoot peoples to historical Blackfoot items housed in British museums. Blackfoot Elder Jerry Potts noted that some of the belongings highlighted on the site date back to the 1700s and reflect the Blackfoot People’s culture and belief system. “We use stories to connect with one another and utilizing the story technique allows us to control the narrative about the item and how it is being delivered,” said Kainai Nation member and ULethbridge graduate student Melissa Shouting. “Storytelling also allows us to showcase who we are as a People, and how we think collectively when it comes to our knowledge systems.” The website is the culmination of a three-year research project that brought together researchers and students from ULethbridge, members of the Blackfoot community, researchers from the United Kingdom, and staff from three British museums. The project has reportedly opened up new relationships with other academics and museums in the UK. ULethbridge | Mootookakio’ssin | Lethbridge Herald (AB)