Indigenous Top Ten

June 15, 2022

Canada announces $102M for new, renewed chairs at 35 Canadian research institutions

The Government of Canada has announced the latest round of new and renewed Canada Research Chairs. With a $102M investment, Canada has announced 119 CRCs at 35 Canadian research institutions. The investments will allow researchers to continue to contribute to global discussions in a variety of topics, such as economics, viral vectors and vaccines, and the Indigenization of higher education. Dwayne Donald, a Cree educator and one of the University of Alberta’s newest CRCs, will be working with teachers to introduce locally rooted concepts of Indigenous wisdom to the classroom in four communities. At Thompson Rivers University, Dr Mukwa Musayett’s Tier 2 CRC position has been renewed, which will allow Musayett to continue her research on the topic of Indigenizing higher education. Canada | UAlberta | Castanet (TRU) (National)

CUMF, GSCS renew partnership “indefinitely”

The Central Urban Métis Federation and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools have renewed their partnership on Métis education indefinitely, reports MBC Radio. The two partners have worked together for many years and originally signed an MOU in 2010. Since the inception of the agreement, Métis culture has been integrated in the school division’s curriculum through a Michif immersion language program, fiddling and jigging classes, and more. When asked about the indefinite length of the renewed agreement, CUMFI President Shirley Isbister pointed to the Métis infinity symbol. The agreement has been renamed the “nakateyimitowin” partnership, which roughly translates to “caring relationships” partnership in Michif. “It’s part of reclamation in naming,” said Isbister. “I think it is really important as we move forward that all of our projects are named by our elders and they come with a reason and a purpose.” MBC Radio (SK)

UBC officially opens new residence buildings with xʷməθkʷəy̓əm naming ceremony

The University of British Columbia has officially opened five new residence buildings with a naming ceremony hosted by xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam Indian Band). The buildings had received a hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ collective name in 2021: tə šxʷhəleləm̓s tə k̓ʷaƛ̓kʷəʔaʔɬ (The Houses of the Ones Belonging to the Saltwater). Each building has now received its own name: təməs leləm̓ – Sea Otter House; sqimək̓ʷ leləm̓ – Octopus House; sɬewət̕ leləm̓ – Herring House; q̓əlɬaləməcən leləm̓ – Orca House; and qʷta:yθən leləm̓ – Sturgeon House. Musqueam Elder Larry Grant led a naming ceremony, where he discussed the significance of each name and called for residents to learn the meaning behind the names. “Don’t rely on what’s just written on a plaque. The English language can’t convey the full meaning,” said Grant. UBC | Ubyssey (BC)

Students spearhead installation of crosswalk commemorating Indigenous reconciliation

A new crosswalk commemorating Indigenous reconciliation in Canada has been approved for installation in Burnaby. Westridge Elementary School’s Grade 6/7 students spearheaded the recommendation for the project. The class partnered with Kwantlen First Nation artist Atheana Picha, who will design the artwork for the crosswalk. While the design for the crosswalk is still in progress, it will most likely feature an eagle and Coast Salish form lines. The artwork will be installed on a residential street in North Burnaby, where the low vehicle traffic will allow for a more complex piece to be installed without significantly increasing maintenance considerations. Daily Hive (BC)

Institutions host events, undertake initiatives for National Indigenous History Month

Schools across Canada have recognized National Indigenous History Month by hosting special events and undertaking new initiatives. Mount Saint Vincent University has announced that it will be offering a new Indigenous stole with a ribbon fringe for Indigenous graduates to wear during their convocations, while the University of Toronto has brought an Eagle Feather to its graduation ceremonies to show commitment to reconciliation. The University of Windsor is hosting a pow wow and a webinar to educate participants on pow wow teachings and protocols. The University of Winnipeg has installed Indigenous language banners to welcome people to campus in a variety of languages, including Cree, Dakota, and Ojibwe. The University of Alberta has announced that it will be launching a new strategic plan which will focus on developing and continuing relationships with Indigenous communities and knowledge keepers. At Seven Persons School in Alberta, students and staff sang, drummed, and danced at a special day of events in recognition of the month, while Saskatoon Public Schools hosted a special powwow where over 7,000 people came together for drum contests, intertribal dancing, and other events. MSVU | CBC Radio (UWindsor) | UAlberta | UWinnipeg | U of T | Medicine Hat News (AB) | MSN (SK) (National)

MSVU establishes Kinu Tourism Program

Mount Saint Vincent University is establishing a new Indigenous cohort tourism education program called the Kinu Tourism Program. The program was developed in collaboration with Indigenous community leaders and aims to remove barriers to education and support future opportunities for Indigenous tourism entrepreneurs. The program is reportedly the first of its kind in Canada. “As the original inhabitants of these lands, our Mi’kmaw ancestors were the first to welcome travelers and settlers to what is now Nova Scotia and Canada,” said Robert Bernard, Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Indigenous Tourism Enterprise Network. “Today, through key investments by governments and strong partnerships with industry and educational institutions like MSVU, we are working to build Mi’kmaw tourism opportunities that will welcome the world to Mi’kma’ki while working with the mainstream tourism industry to find ways to address reconciliation with our Mi’kmaw people.” The Kinu Tourism Program is funded with over $1.9M from the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiative Program. News Wire (NS)

Schools host camps, workshops focused on traditions

Schools in Ontario and Alberta are hosting camps and workshops to teach students about traditional Indigenous values and how to make traditional items. In ON, Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute students learned about building an authentic wigwam from Algonquin master canoe builder and knowledge keeper Chuck Commanda, who is from Kitigan Zibi First Nation. The students helped to build the dwelling while learning about Algonquin culture. Red Deer Polytechnic recently held an Indigenous Culture Camp for educators, staff, students, and community members. The sessions were held in tipis, where participants learned about Indigenous knowledge and views from Elders and Knowledge Keepers. Morley Community School hosted a bow-making workshop that focuses on reconnecting Stoney Nakoda youth with their culture and connecting traditional elements with math and physics. “The whole process of building the bow, the construction of it, the idea behind trajectory, the idea behind energy transfer, to actually do any type of hunting, that's where the connection comes in,” said Knowledge Keeper Richard Lushai. Nation Talk (ON) | CTV News (AB) | Nation Talk (RDP) (ON | AB)

New childcare spaces celebrated in Indigenous communities in BC, NV

Several Indigenous communities across the country have celebrated the opening and funding of new childcare spaces. In Victoria, British Columbia, the Métis Nation British Columbia and Island Métis Family and Community Services Society proudly commemorated the opening of the Island Métis Child Care Centre. The new space will provide access to high-quality, affordable, flexible, and inclusive early learning and childcare to families in the region. Meanwhile, in Iqaluit, Nunavut, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association has confirmed Kakivak Association’s commitment to provide up to $2.6M in funding for the construction of a new childcare centre. The childcare facility will be located in a mixed-use facility called the Inuusirvik Community Wellness Hub and will have space for up to 28 children. Nation Talk (1) | Nation Talk (2) (BC | NV)

FNU, NIUSLA release findings from first National Indigenous Identity Forum

The First Nations University of Canada and the National Indigenous University Senior Leaders’ Association (NIUSLA) have released a report on the findings of the inaugural National Indigenous Identity forum. The forum discussed Indigenous perspectives on identity, citizenship, and validation practices for Indigenous-specific opportunities at postsecondary institutions. “It became clear that we needed to shift the narrative away from identity towards citizenship,” said FNU Senior Policy and Strategic Officer Meika Taylor. “As sovereign nations, Indigenous communities hold inherent rights to determine the citizens of their communities. This moves us beyond the question of ‘how do you self-identify?’ to ‘what nation do you have citizenship with?’, in essence, who claims you?” Another event will be held at FNU this fall to continue the dialogue. FNU was also recently named a key resource for the National Indigenous Economic Strategy for Canada, with FNU scholars and researchers providing support for the strategy. Nation Talk | FNU | Nation Talk (SK)

Campus Regina Public High School, Cheekbone Beauty Cosmetics partner on photoshoot class

Campus Regina Public High School students and Cheekbone Beauty Cosmetics, an Indigenous-owned business, have partnered to give students real-life photoshoot experience. Grade 11 and 12 students took part in a collaborative class project in which they used jewelry, designs, and clothing from Indigenous artists to inspire their outfits. The project included components from several different classes: In the English component, students wrote letters to artists asking for their involvement in the project; while in the advanced media production component, students produced a video about the project. Cheekbone Beauty Cosmetics has been teaching the students about key Indigenous issues, and students are encouraged to bring their own identities to the photoshoots. “I decided to pair my Métis sash along with the outfit so I can incorporate my culture that way,” said student Salem Fenske. “It’s empowering, especially for Métis women, to be able to represent that and the years that we fought to be recognized as [our] own distinct group of people.” CBC (SK)